A New State Record ?
The Art of Vertical Jigging
By Gregg Munck
When planning and scheduling our next fishing adventure, we all
anticipate the chance of hooking the big one. Let’s face it,
that's why we're up before the crack of dawn so we can increase
the odds of sticking a brute.
I recall when I was a young boy that I wanted to become a professional
baseball player. I can't tell you how many times I visualized hitting
the game-winning home run. I believe that dreams and goals are extremely
important in our lives.
I remember a couple of years ago when I set a personal goal to
see my name in the record books for catching a state record fish.
Early on in that quest, there were times when I felt like I was
chasing a ghost.
In November of 2002, I was fortunate enough to catch up to that
ghost. She ended up being a 16 pound, 1.76 ounce Arizona state record
walleye with national recognition. Then approximately one year later
to my amazement, I was flirting with that record.
The main reason I was on the water was to run my motor out of gas
and store the boat for the season, so I decided to bring a pole
or two along. The warmest water I was able to locate had a surface
temperature of 41 degrees. I scanned the area with my electronics
and located some promising rocky structure at a depth of 22 feet.
I finally observed a small concentration of fish holding just off
the bottom where the rocky structure gave way to a hard flat bottom.
From my years of experience, these transition areas often hold some
decent size fish, especially when forage is present.
At times the fish will spread out along the structure, and often
they will hold right on the edge where the bottom composition changes.
This is the perfect scenario for using a vertical jigging presentation.
For this trip, my equipment consisted of a 6' -6" medium baitcasting
rod with a soft tip. I was using a high-speed baitcasting reel with
a 6.2:1 gear ratio spooled with ten-pound XL line.
The rod has enough strength in the butt section so you are able
to get a solid hook-set. After the hook-set, you have the right
amount of backbone to get the fish safely away from the cover that
it was holding near.
The high-speed reel compliments the rod by taking up any slack
line in a heartbeat, so you can keep that monster fish out of the
So what am I doing with the light line? Also haven't I heard of
abrasion resistant line like XT? I would love to have the confidence
of the heavier, abrasion resistant line. The fact of the matter
is that I have tried it, and it is great in certain situations.
In this case it is crucial that you must keep in contact with your
jig at all times, and the XL line helps me with that task.
I often fish small plastics Texas rigged on a 2/0 or 3/0 XGAP,
Xpoint hook. They are strong enough to handle a huge fish, and the
extra gap gives you a more solid, secure hook-set which is required
to get these bruisers to the boat.
From my experience, the extra limp, lighter line creates a more
natural presentation and gives me the "feel" I require
to stay in contact with my jig at all times. For weight I use a
1/8-3/16 ounce bullet weight, usually pegged in cover situations.
Certainly on occasion, a trophy fish will get the upper hand on
you, and wrap you up in structure, and possibly break your line.
When this unfortunate incident happens to me, I try to convince
myself it was a huge catfish or carp, just so I can sleep nights.
During the course of this fishing trip I was using a three-inch
June bug colored plastic craw, Texas rigged while vertical jigging
near the transition areas. The rocky structure had already claimed
two of my craws. I set a pretty tight drag on my reel, even with
the ten-pound line. For more information about trophy fishing, drop
by my website: http://www.munckstrophyfishing.com
I believe that after you hook a monster fish, the battle is won
or lost within the first few seconds. A big fish is very rarely
far from structure or some form of cover.
Finally, I felt a hook-up while the jig was on the fall. This was
after dark, and once I set the hook, I was certain it was a decent
fish. The heavy walleye wanted to stay deep, so I quickly maneuvered
the boat towards deeper water and coaxed her toward the surface.
Once I took a good look at the big bruiser, it was obvious this
fish might beat the existing record. I measured the walleye three
times to be certain. She was one and a quarter inch longer than
the existing record and had the same girth measurement. I firmly
believed that this fish had a good chance of taking the old record
by half a pound. After making a visit to a certified scale, the
huge fish topped out at 15.43 pounds. She was certainly a monster
walleye anywhere in the country, but not a new record in Arizona.
While fishing during the cold-water periods of the year, I have
developed a tremendous amount of confidence with this vertical jigging
technique. This vertical presentation allows you to keep your offering
in the fish's face for as long as you desire.
When fishing in colder water, vertical jigging increases your
chances of a hook-up. It gives a lethargic fish the extra time to
decide if it would like to take your offering.
With slight modifications, you can use this technique for many different
species of fish effectively. Vertical jigging is a tool that I will
always keep in my trophy-fishing arsenal. Check it out; you will
be glad you did.
For more information about Gregg Munck, just visit his website
He is a nationally known multi species trophy fisherman who has
fished the Southwestern United States for over twenty years.
Fishing Article - Verticakl Jigging.