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1017 Views 3 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Kozlow
I went surf fishing for the first time in June. I did catch some snook in the morning but I really didnt know what I was doing. Someone told me to use a white bucktail jig and I might have better luck. Well I know what a bucktail jig is and I know how to catch walleyes in Michigan with them but how do I use them to catch Snook?
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Get Jiggy with It


In a general sense, the term “jigging” refers to fishing with a jig lure. Jigs encompass a broad family of lures that are used on a wide variety of saltwater game fish. Almost all jigs feature a single hook and weighted head molded together into one unit. Many are dressed with a soft plastic body or a combination of feathers, fur, thread or yarn. Jigs are also frequently “tipped” with live bait such as shrimp, baitfish or cut bait, which are either threaded onto a “bare” jighead or used in addition to a jig body.

“Jigging” also refers to the fundamental fishing technique whereby the angler lifts and drops the lure (almost always a jig) at various intervals that produce a quick rise in the lure, followed by a slow flutter. While this describes the basic “jigging” motion, jigging is not limited to the continual lift-and-drop motion. As mentioned above, anytime a jig is being used, an angler is technically jigging or “jig fishing.” (Note: the use of jigging spoons is considered jigging, even though jigging spoons are technically not jigs.)

Unlike other artificial lures, such as plugs, spinners, surface lures or flies, jigs have little or no “action” on their own. At times, that subtle nature is what makes them so effective. In fact, sometimes letting a jig lie motionless on the bottom is all that’s needed to produce a strike. In other situations, a violent upward snap of the fishing rod may be required to make the jig appealing. Whether the retrieve technique is fast, slow, subtle or aggressive, it is up to the angler to produce the right action and fish-attracting movement that will result in a strike.

Jigging is employed throughout the saltwater spectrum – in shallow bays, sounds and lagoons; off piers, jetties and causeways; in the surf; in deep-water reefs; and in open water miles off the coast.

Inshore Jigging

Jigging is a common tactic for many species that spend some or all of their lives in relatively shallow salt water. These include striped bass, bluefish, snook, bonefish, tarpon, redfish and speckled trout, among many others. For most inshore fishing – beaches, inland waterways, bays, flats, piers, etc. – jigs are typically cast to a target and retrieved in the basic jigging motion or any number of possible variations. Casting targets may be rock or boulder outcroppings, tidal pools, bridge or causeway pilings, channels, mangrove roots, edges of aquatic vegetation, boat docks or anywhere active fish are found. Once the jig is cast, anglers normally allow the jig to flutter naturally to the bottom or through the current. In general, if the jig is dressed with soft plastic or another body type, it should be kept in motion during the retrieve, whether in an up-and-down jigging motion or slow, steady swimming motion. If the jig is tipped with shrimp, live baitfish or strip of cut bait, slower, more deliberate retrieves are often more effective.

Jigging For Bottom Fish

The basic objective when jigging for bottom fish is to drop the jig to the depths and move it about so it appears to swim or “hop” along the bottom, which is the ideal presentation for catching many bottom-feeding fish, such as halibut, flounder, cod and grouper. Essentially, jigging in this manner is referred to as “vertical” jigging, though vertical jigging does not always entail keeping the jig near the bottom. Compared to most inshore jigging, which involves casting and retrieving the jig in a horizontal or diagonal path, vertical jigging keeps the line straight down below the boat. For bottom fish, anglers typically add strips or chunks of cut bait to the jig before casting or dropping it down to the depths. Once there, the jig is usually worked in an up-and-down fashion, with most strikes occurring as the jig falls. Occasionally, the jig is allowed to rest motionless, especially if it’s tipped with large pieces of bait.

Offshore Jigging

As with bottom fish, jigging for offshore game fish like tuna, amberjack, snapper, cobia, mackerel and many others is almost always a vertical jigging method. But unlike a bottom fishing situation, offshore fish are usually suspended somewhere between the surface and the bottom. This requires the angler to drop the jig to the general depth where fish are holding. The deeper the water, the heavier the jig should be. Most jigs will drop at the rate of about 1 foot per second, and many anglers “count down” as the jig is falling to determine where the fish are biting. For example, after a fish is caught in 100 feet of water, the angler can drop the jig, count to 100, and resume jigging at that depth. When fishing in depths of 100 feet or more, a rapid upward snap of the rod followed by a downward drop is a common presentation. In shallower depths, the vertical jigging techniques are the same, except the angler does not need to use as hard a jerking motion on the rod. Whether shallow or deep, relatively jigs with soft plastic bodies are popular for offshore fishing, though tipping with live bait is also common.

Other great lures for Snook:

Mirro Lures – (3/4 oz.) red & white, fire tiger
Rapalas – (3/4 oz.)
Ratl Trap – (1/2 to ¾ oz.)
Buck Tail Jigs – (5/8 to ¾ oz.) with jelly tails
Rebel Jumping Minnow – (5/8 oz.) Sosin Salt Water
Zara Spook – (5/8 oz.) – blue, silver, & whites
Creek Chub Darter – 5/8 oz.) – red & white

Don't Set It - When retrieving a lure or jig horizontally, don't pause on the strike or jerk the rod violently to set the hook. Instead, keep the rod tip close to the water and reel as rapidly as possible when you feel a strike. This technique has three advantages. First, a fast, steady retrieve will out-pace a fish that may have grabbed the lure from behind and swimming toward the boat. Obviously, if the fish strikes while racing away from the boat, the extra resistance will only aid in setting the hook. A second advantage is that a short-striking fish may perceive the sudden pick-up in speed as a startled baitfish running for its life, and come back for another strike. Finally, by keeping the rod tip close to the water and not rearing back, the lure will continue on its original path and remain fair game to the fish that missed it, or a companion. Another light-tackle hook-setting technique is to keep winding on the strike as outlined above and then thumb or cup the reel spool for a split second if the fish "wallowing" in place and trying to shake the hook. This sudden increase in pressure, combined with a few rapid, close-to-the-water rod sweeps, often provides a solid hook-set. However, remember that you'll be flirting dangerously close to the line's breaking point, so it's imperative to know when to release the spool.

Try these tips if using shrimp:
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Thanks for the info Kozlow! I was not sure what the best way to use the jig in the surf. I'll be back down in jan. to try it out.
Good Luck getting Jiggy with it

Good Luck when you do .
Have a safe trip down
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