This weekend at the Annapolis MSSA fishing expo I did a seminar on catching big fish on light tackle, with a section on speed jigging. (I’m doing lots of seminars these days, to help promote my new book Rudow’s Guide to Modern Jigging, at www.getgup.com!) I focused on speed jigging for tunas and other pelagics, but one question kept popping up again and again: Can you use speed jigging to catch stripers??? Since it was such a hot topic, I thought I’d give you the low-down, here.
In a word, “no”. Speed jigging is not an incredibly effective way to catch striped bass, at least not from what I’ve seen. Vertical jigging or casting and retrieving jigs is a heck of a lot more productive. Don’t forget, speed jigging is a fast-action retrieve that triggers a reaction strike. But stripers are relatively lazy fish; they’d rather scavenge a half-dead baitfish that’s been injured in a melee, as opposed to chasing down a perfectly healthy fish, any day of the week.
While testing the speed jigging system (over the past two years) I did make an interesting discovery, however: ‘power-jigging’ with speed jigs over edges and lumps does work well. Here’s the basic technique – when you spot fish on the meter that are hanging tight to bottom along a sloping drop-off, put your boat into neutral, and drop your speed jigs to the bottom. Give them a short, twitchy bounce or two, then put your boat back into gear until you lose contact with bottom. When you do, shift back to neutral and jig until your lure starts hitting bottom again. Creeping the boat forward like this, your jig has a presentation that’s more horizontal in nature then usual, yet it remains close to the bottom and moves along slowly enough that the stripers won’t watch it zip away, and shrug. The next time you spot these fish on the meter and aren’t catching them using the usual methods, give power-jigging a shot – hopefully, you’ll end up with results like this: