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September 23, 2008

Masters of Metal

Sport Fishing convenes an international jigging symposium - and takes notes!

Yuki's jigging rods were longer and more limber than the relatively stiff 5½- to 6-footers offered by most tackle manufacturers as rods designed specifically for jigging. Yuki's rods generally run 7 to 7½ feet, and their lighter, more parabolic action allows more sensitivity, particularly with lighter jigs.

Still, adds California jig enthusiast Ben Secrest, "I noticed that Yuki's rod was always loaded up [while jigging]." In other words, even the smaller jigs the Japanese pro prefers are enough to keep a bend in his longer, lighter rods. "That also meant he had to wind down on the fish less, with his rod already loaded up and tight," says Secrest. Result: easier hookups.

  • Base the pace of your jigging in part on water clarity.

Few jiggers seem to recognize this essential point, says Yuki. In clear waters, move the jig faster. Fish will dash in from 30 feet or more to grab a jig. But when working water lacking good visibility, keep jig strokes shorter and slower, and it's particularly important to pause after two or three strokes (though never completely stop jigging). And logically, smaller jigs and lighter lines will work better in clear conditions.

  • Use a long fluorocarbon leader.

Yuki goes with about 30 feet of fluorocarbon. Short leaders allow the fish to see the braided line, which can make them leery.

  • Fish your jig near "the zone."

Some anglers routinely work their jigs back to the surface each time down. If Yuki figures he's dropped his jig to where the fish seem to be holding, he'll work the metal up only 50 or 60 feet before letting the jig drop and repeating.