This is a question that I keep facing more and more often… Does the size of the jig really play an important role for the result? Does a bigger jig attract bigger fish? Does it “select” the predators by size? This is what we are going to see in this very important article….
I must admit that I am responsible (for a big part) of this confusion, since I use by 80% jigs of 100gr, something very common to see in my SJ YouTube videos. For example, a 100gr jig especially in a long shape like the Needle Jig, is really long and in the eyes of some anglers looks too big. Do I use this for alluring big fish? Yes or No? Well the answer is somewhere in the middle.
Size does matter or not?
I have talked about this topic many times, and size always matter even if it is big size or small… There are simply seasons and circumstances where a big or a small jig can do the difference! In general, during winter the bigger jigs win, simply because baitfish are much less and in bigger size. On the other hand, during summer, and when sardine and anchovy are still small, smaller jigs have the upper hand. At this point I have to mention that on my last trip with my good friend Giuseppe, we had serious difficulty to get a decent fish, since we where surrounded by huge packs of baby sardine and we were there with monstrous jigs of 80+ jigs. The result was the absolute zero. No strikes at all. Next day that we managed to use medium sized jigs of 60gr we managed to have some strikes, and if we had the gear and jigs of 20-30gr jigs, we would certainly have done much better. But as the rule is equal for hardlures and there are times that fish really love slim jerkbaits of 17.5 and 20cm, bigger jigs are equally effective. When needlefish are present, a long jig is the “king” in your jig wallet. Some fish especially during winter, simply love big size, while other species like amberjacks and groupers, do fall for the rule “the bigger the better”. These fish, when it comes to decide to strike, will judge if it worth the “energy consumption” in order to go for it, especially during cold months. Furthermore, in spring when many fish become very aggressive and guard their territory for spawning reasons, big jigs once more prevail, since they are nothing more than an annoying intruder that must be pushed away. That season is very common to see fish like groupers, snappers and barracudas hooked from random spots on their body, and very rarely from the jaws. Above we saw some circumstances that judge if a big jig is a “must” or not. But does this justify the reason why I use heavy jigs mostly? I guess not quite!
Usually big jigs come hand to hand with big weight. And big weight is in many cases what I desperately need. Even if I must admit that a smaller jig has the potentials to get a big fish, (happened to me several times) it lacks the ability to perform properly in strong tides and casts “shitty” against strong wind. Furthermore, when there is lateral wind, if the power of the wind overpowers the sinking power of the jig, then we have a serious problem of the jig’s performance. We simply jig the loose braid and there is no action on the jig at all… In such a case we might even need more than 120gr jig, even for depths of 25-30m with a lateral 4-5bf wind (25-38klm/h) in order to have the proper tension on the braid, and here once more, a high gear reel is way more appreciated. Leaving the wind conditions and moving to currents, there are these days where you are fishing in “river” conditions, and in such cases the smaller jigs not only “go with the flow” much more, but also have not action in it. In strong currents, the heavier the better, and this is a rule! Weight to water speed is an important equation, that must be overpowered. The less the current “travel” our jig, the better action we have, especially on the fall.
Last but not least when it comes to fish with a friend, you should remember that when you reach the place, usually the first jig that reaches the bottom is the one which will get the fish on an active day. I will not say names, but a close buddy was using this cheat when we was going fishing together. Having ready his reel on the rod, and the leader already passed though the guides, he had the first cast when I was still “assembling” my gear… Other times that we where ready together, he used jigs of 130gr / 150gr just to reach the bottom first. Now there are rules that on the first cast we cast together same weight jigs and we wait each other, no matter what!
Jig shape, currents, and wind.
As it is natural, not all jig shapes are affected by wind and currents the same way. Rear weighted jigs (that have the less action on the fall) are usually more efficient for such conditions, allowing us to use smaller sizes, but not with huge weight difference though. Since I am too greedy when it comes to fluttering action, I prefer to use middle weighted jigs to such conditions, but in order to save proper performance I have to “raise” the weight as much as possible! You cannot have it all, but for sure you can fight to get as much as possible, when it comes to jig’s performance!
Hopefully now you got an idea when and where big jigs have the first and last word. Shore jigging is a beautiful but savage fishing style that can be performed with less effort and lighter gear in calm conditions or medium weather and water conditions, but when it comes to the “real deal” the big jig is an “one way road”!