Author: Flying Fish Charters
Vertical Jigging in the Florida Keys
Speed jigging or vertical jigging has become really popular along east coast and southeast regions of the U.S. over the last few years. It’s really no surprise, it can be an incredibly effective way to catch many different types of fish along all levels of the water column. Whenever I am fishing offshore, whether I am trolling or live baiting, I always have one rigged up and ready to drop. When I am marking fish and they are not biting my current spread, I always drop a jig down to the area where I’m marking them. The jig can yield some awesome fish at times when other baits and techniques aren’t working.
My preferred set up for speed jigging down here in Key West, is on a heavy spinning set up. I typically start with 50 lb Bullbuster braid as my main line, to a 5 ft section of 60 lb Bullbuster fluorocarbon leader. I hardly ever use lighter leader, but when I am getting bit off, I will put a section of wire tippet at the end of my leader. I definitely get less bites when using wire, but sometimes it has to happen so you do not blow through all your jigs. I keep my drag on my jigging reel set very heavy, between the sharks and fish taking you into a wreck, you need a lot of drag. Pink is my favorite color jig, but I will use silver, purple, or blue. On the right day, anything can work, but more often then not, pink gets bit the most. Mostly I use jigs from 9 oz to 5 oz, depending on depth and current. Keeping the jig straight up and down is important because I know where it is in relation to the school I’m marking under the boat. If the jig gets stretched out and horizontal, your going to be guessing when it will go through the school of fish.
Everybody has their own technique for vertical jigging.
Everybody has their own technique for vertical jigging. Some people move the jig really fast with short motions while they are reeling up, other people swing the jig up fast and high and let it flutter toward the bottom. There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong way to jig, some techniques work better toward the bottom and others work better for mid level fish. The most important thing is to keep the jig moving quickly, bouncing around and flashing. You cannot reel or move the jig too fast, the fish can catch up to it and eat it. Make sure to keep yourself under control and paying attention, I see plenty of people getting tip wrapped when they’re jigging or swinging the jig over the boat and they don’t realize it is at the surface.
The vertical jig has really helped me out on charters and it is something I always have rigged up and ready to go. Even if I am kite fishing and I mark fish at the bottom, I drop it down quickly to prospect. I use it regularly in Key West, but I have friends up and down the east coast and up in the Gulf that also use it to catch everything from Tunas to Snappers. It’s definitely not for every client that steps on my boat, as it takes a lot of physical effort and coordination, but for the right people, they can have a lot of fun with it.
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