Jigging in open water – the lowdown
Jigging is a technique which has existed for a very long time and it remains a formidable technique to catch fish.
I love this technique and Rapala offer a very good range of lures for this practice. These products are grouped in the family "Ice Jigs" where we find the Jigging Rap®, Snap Rap® and Flat Jig®.
Designed at first for ice fishing, these lures are formidable thanks to their excellent concept. They deserve their place in our tackleboxes for their efficiency in deep water lakes or in strong current rivers. They are especially very good in winter, but they can be used all year round, by adapting the technique to the fish according to the season. I am going to speak to you about their use in winter for perch and zander.
You can practice this technique from a boat or from the edge. In the boat, we practice vertical jigging in open water, but we can also use a simple cast and retrieve. From the edge, we are going to use a cast and retrieve but it is completely possible to fish it vertically. Indeed, for example - from a quay you can manage to jig perfectly.
How do we jig?
The first animation demonstrates having the jig 20-50cm from the bottom and making it dance above the fish's head with small timed twitches. After each twitch, we wait for the jig to swing back to the middle before giving another twitch. This animation is effective in vertical.
The second animation is a “snap retrieve”, by cranking regularly and giving a wrist twitch to make the lure go off to the side. It has a very aggressive action.
The third animation is a traction (large pull) that will mimic a fleeing fish. When predators are not active on the bottom, we drop it to the bottom and pause before making a quick large pull. It can sink very quickly at a semi-straight angle to detect the strike on the drop. This animation can be done vertically or with a cast and retrieve.
My favourite from the jigging family, the Jigging Rap®, is for me a ‘must have’. You can fish it vertically or using a cast and retrieve with any animation, it moves very quickly to the slightest animation and has a circular action on the descent. I use it a lot in lakes and calm waters. For sizes, in winter I will mainly use the 7cm / 18g and the 9cm / 25g. During the summer season, I will use the size 5cm / 9g when schools of fish fry form and the perch feed.
The Snap Rap® is my jigging lure that I mainly use to cast and retrieve, especially with a technique of "Snap retrieve". It hovers nicely with its wide tail that offers much more stability in the water. I use it on all types of waters and rivers with a medium flow. The size I like is 8 cm / 24g.
Eighty percent heavier than a Jigging Rap of equal size, the Flat Jig®, weighing 34g, is very effective when fishing on very deep waters (lakes) or in waters with a strong current. It can be animated vertically with a cast and retrieve. Its large dense body gives it a flying action. I animate it especially in a large pull and vertical jigging.
Jigging is very effective because it attracts the curiosity and aggression of fish.
The lively and disordered movements of the lure get the attention of the fish from afar. The vertical movement of prey fish easily triggers the reflex attack of perch and zander. It is the movement of flight; the prey rising to escape or sinking down quickly to hide. Additionally, it allows us to quickly survey deeper water in search of the fish’s location.