Tackle Talk: Micro Jigging in East London, South Africa
Micro Jigging is a growing angling technique for deep sea anglers in the East London area. Your success with micro jigging depends on how you set up your jigs, the rigs you use (like your rod and reel) and your technique of jigging. Below is a complete run down of the tackle I use for micro jigging as well as the techniques I use to jig.
Rod: The rod that I have found that has the best weigh off between pulling power and being light weight is the Shimano Technium Spinning 7 foot medium heavy (S70MH).
Reel: When looking for a reel to use for micro jigging, you want a reel that has a high gear ratio as well as a strong drag that can hold a large fish when hooked; for this purpose, I have been using the Shimano Sustain C5000XG.
Main Line: For micro jigging you want a braid that is as thin as possible (to avoid resistance in the water), one that is strong and thin enough to get a minimum of 250 meters of line onto your 5000 sized reel. 20lb Sufix 832 8 strand braid is by far the only choice of braid to use for this purpose.Main Line: For micro jigging you want a braid that is as thin as possible (to avoid resistance in the water), one that is strong and thin enough to get a minimum of 250 meters of line onto your 5000 sized reel. 20lb Sufix 832 8 strand braid is by far the only choice of braid to use for this purpose.
Leader Line: You will need to use a leader line that is abrasion resistant, has low line memory and is invisible in the water. The best leader for this is Sufix Invisiline Fluorocarbon Leader. I prefer to use the 15lb (0.37mm) leader as it doesn’t create much drag in the current and you need to use a leader that has a slightly lighter breaking strain than your main line.
Hooks: The hooks that I use to place on the bottom of the jig are VMC Siwash 3/0 or 4/0.
Jigs: The jigs that I use are the Storm Koika Micro Jigs in the 60 and 80 gram sizes. The way you set your jig up will have a major impact on your success. The first and most simple issue many anglers over look is the top assist hook; when you are working your jig, as the jig sinks back down between every pull up, the assist hook moves to a vertical position parallel to your leader line, deeming it useless as it won’t be able to hook a fish when it isn’t near the jig, the simple solution to this it to place a very small elastic band over the Dacron that fixes the hook to the jig, as I have done in the picture below. The second thought is that of whether or not to place a hook on the bottom of the jig. My personal preference is to place quite a large hook on the bottom of the jig. The hook will serve the purpose of hooking a fish when the top hook misses, as well as ensuring a hook up when a bigger fish like a black Musslecracker takes the jig, taking some of the pressure off of the assist hook.
Many anglers think that the techniques and actions used in vertical jigging are the same as those used in micro jigging, when in fact they are not. The most simple and effective action to use when micro jigging for your most common bottom fish species in the waters off East London is a very slow “up and down” motion. What I normally do is as follows:
1.Let your jig sink to the bottom.
2.When it hits the bottom give it one and a half turns up off the bottom.
3.Lift your arm slowly up to the highest point it can reach without your rod reaching a point that will put it in danger of breaking.
4.Quickly drop your rod down to the water
5.Once the lines regain tension, repeat steps 3 to 5.
It may sound complicated, but within 10 minutes you’ll have the technique waxed for micro jigging! In my experience fishing East London, you will be guaranteed a pull within your first three downs on the reef and I can say this confidently. When going out deep sea fishing whether you use bait, use jigs, fish for game fish, etc. just remember to stick to daily limits and minimum size requirements, but most of all fish for the future and practice tag and release. I wish you good luck with your micro jigging experience!
Yours in Angling
Rapala VMC Pro Staff, South Africa