Vertical jigging proves effective on a variety of fresh- and saltwater game fish, particularly when they are schooled up on forage or water conditions concentrate fish where temperature and oxygen levels are optimal. Use your fish finder to find baitballs or fish suspended in the water column, and drop down heavy metal lures to hit them where they live.
Use the Right Metal
The best vertical jigs are typically heavy and slender in profile. This helps them sink down quickly to the proper depth while exhibiting a fluttering action when quickly lifted and dropped using the rod tip. It’s this wounded-baitfish dance that makes a lure look like an easy meal as it falls and flutters below a school of small fish under attack.
Match the Hatch
Today’s modern jigs come in a wide variety of finishes and colors, including reflective patterns and lifelike 3D fish prints that mimic anything from shad to sardines. Fishing with lures that match the size, profile and coloration of local forage is a great way to boost your confidence, as well as your catch rate. There are exceptions to this rule, however, such as using bright colors in cloudy or stained waters.
Work the Right Depth
Keep your lure in the zone where you’re marking fish. One technique is to bounce the lure up and down with the rod while maintaining contact with the line as the lure flutters downward. Another is to fish yo-yo style, dropping the lure below the school of fish and then retrieving it quickly toward the surface. Don’t waste time reeling all the way to the surface if the fish are feeding deep — drop down again to stay in the strike zone.