Shore Jigging: Technique and Tackle Explained
Nov 18, 2019 | 5 minute read Comments
13
Reading Time: 5 minutes

This article will prepare you for your first attempt at shore jigging. The author, Vladimir Nesic is a jigging enthusiast, as well as an author and editor at Spin & Fly Magazine. He’s been shore jigging along the Adriatic coasts of Croatia and Montenegro.

Originating from medieval Japan, shore jigging quickly spread all over the world to find a great number of loyal practitioners, especially in many of the countries along the Mediterranean coast.

Two fish caught while shore jigging in the Adriatic Sea, laid out on the rocks near where they were caught with a spin fishing rod next to them.

The Technique

In essence, shore jigging implies the casting of heavy lures, or jigs, in various deep underwater locations near the shoreline. The best spots for this type of fishing include the rocky cliffs, quays, docks, piers, and jetties. The core of this exciting technique lies in the erratic rod/jig action, which is accompanied by plenty of free spooling.

Shore jigging: Angler fishing from a cliff

There is virtually no wrong way of animating your lure in this type of fishing. Feel free to experiment and combine various different presentations during each cast: you can test your luck with fast twitching, slow jerking, one jerk and one roll up – you name it. For maximum impact, you may want to consider combining these with a traditional high speed, straight retrieve.

If the conditions allow, it can prove fruitful to let the jig fall all the way down to the bottom just after you’ve lifted it some two thirds of the total depth, then repeat the entire process all over again. The motion of the jig during its fall can additionally aid in triggering the fish’s reaction.

As well as countless anglers all over the globe, many fish species also seem to display a keen interest in this type of fishing. Some of the main ones are Amberjack, Snappers, Bonito Tunas, Groupers, Bluefish, and Kingfish. Using lighter tackle and smaller jig sizes can be a very productive way of targeting some smaller fish species as well.

The hits are usually strong and the fights nothing short of spectacular, especially considering the fact that you’re often going to have to position yourself on the very edge of the cliff, with little space to maneuver and a large, powerful fish on the other end of your line.

Here’s a video demonstrating various jigging movements you can use.

Shore Jigging Tackle

The tackle should be a fast action spinning combo comprised of a heavy 9’-10’ spinning rod and a strong spinning reel, filled with a high-quality braided line. You shouldn’t compromise on the quality of tackle used, as you can count on the fish putting a lot of strain on it during each fight. It isn’t easy to go against powerful maritime predators even from the comfort of the boat, let alone the rocky shores where you can’t afford the luxury of letting a hooked fish run freely.

Rods and Reels

You’re going to need a powerful rod with a casting weight between 60 and 200 grams, depending on the lure density and targeted fish size.

As a matter of fact, the massive popularity of shore jigging has led to the emergence of a brand new category of spinning rods, designed specifically for this purpose, and many of the best manufacturers now boast such rods in their offers.

Some of the most popular shore fishing models include: Zenaq Muthos, Shimano Coltsniper, Major Craft KG Evolution, Xzoga Mastery, TenRyu Power Master, Yamaga Blanks Blue Sniper, Apia Foojin’ Black Line, Ripple Fisher Runner Exceed, and Daiwa SJ (Shore Jigging).

The most beloved reels used for shore jigging are surely the likes of Shimano Stella SW and Daiwa Saltiga, but there are lots of great reels in the lower price range as well, such as Shimano Saragosa, Fin-Nor Inshore and Penn Conquer. It shouldn’t be a problem to find a model to suit the needs of almost any angler. The reel should have a high gear ratio and must be able to wind the line perfectly.

Arming yourself with a waterproof drag is welcome, but not mandatory. The two things we should pay attention to regarding the drag are the fact that it must be super precise, and able to endure a high maximum tension. This kind of fishing will really put your equipment to the test, so if you want yours to last years, it’s useful to pay close attention to these sorts of features.

Line

We recommend the use of best jigging lines with depth colouring, so you can easily track the exact depth of your lure at any given moment. This, of course, is more about comfort than pure necessity, since standard braids will still work fine. Most of the Japanese jigging PE lines are going to fit your needs perfectly.

As for the breaking power, PE lines # 2.0 to 5.0 are just right for this purpose, and in standard measurements, the lines with 20 to 60 lb test power are generally considered to be the exact match. Great products to try on for size are:

  • YGK Power Hunter
  • YGK PE Compact
  • YGK Ultra WX8
  • YGK Ultra 2 Jig Man
  • Duel Super Smooth
  • Duel Hardcore X8
  • Sunline Cast Away
  • Sunline PE Jigger HG
  • Varivas Avani Casting PE
  • Varivas High Grade PE
  • Daiwa UVF bay jigging 6 Braid + SI
  • Daiwa SW 8 Braid + SI
  • Xzoga Jigging PE
  • Power Pro

Leader

You need a 40 – 80 lb test strength shock leader or a fluorocarbon leader (1 meter in length). There are two reasons for this: First, to make the lure look more appealing to the fish. Second, because these lines are a lot more abrasion resistant than braided line, which is an issue since we’re going to be spend the majority of our time fishing on the rocks. Good manufacturers include Seaguar, Sunline and Xzoga.

A selection of colorful shore jigging lures on a tree stump

Jigs

There is a great number of manufacturers and jig models that can be used for shore jigging. Some of the best and most popular of lures are the HTO Shore Jig, Maria Shore Blue EX, Maria Mucho Lucir, Maria Metal Flicker, River2Sea Searock, and DUO Press Bait.

Most lures designed for shore jigging technique are intended to be used with an assist single hook attached to them, but the smaller ones are usually used with treble hooks instead. Assist hooks for jigs can be bought, and some of the best hook manufacturers, such as Owner, do have them in stock. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can even try tying them yourself.

A couple of extra items that can come in handy while shore jigging include a nice pair of gloves and a net with a long handle for landing the fish.

Try this technique on your next fishing vacation and I promise you’ll have a lot of fun with it. If you have any additional questions regarding this under-hyped yet amazing fishing technique, let me know in the comment section below!

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Comments (13)
  • Dexter

    Jul 25, 2014

    The problem with this is on rocky shores it gets tangled along the rocks I used to do this for a very short while. What happened it got caught 2 lures in less than 30 mins. I stopped this way of fishing.

  • Raul

    Oct 21, 2014

    I would change the point for casting…

    • Reply icon

      Dino

      Oct 22, 2014

      Hi Raul,

      What in particular would you change?

      As far as techniques go, shore jigging is definitely more customizable than most. What’s your experience with it?

  • yusuf

    Dec 24, 2014

    Well the problem with shore jigging is that it is addictive game when you master it ;). It is also most of the time more effective than bait fishing because you can catch all different kinds of fish such as grouper, amberjack, barracuda, bonito, all different kinds of travelly etc. For me I prefer to go for shore jigging than going with my brother on the boat!

    Anyway if you are using small jigs from 30 to 45 grams it is better to use law stretch 25lb nylon lines especially if your targeting small to mid size fish from my personal experience it works very very well. There are some very decent lines such as daiwa and other japanese brands that will meet your needs and theyre alot cheaper than braid and they do the job. Just go out there and attach a good florocarbon leader and let your jig sink to the bottom and try all different techniques 😉

  • Michael

    Sep 3, 2016

    I like shore jigging

  • John G. Sandakan

    Apr 22, 2017

    I prefer use Ultralight Tackle. Mainline braid 6lbs, Rod 6lbs, Reel 1000 (Drag 3kg) and jig weight 10-20g. Most of the time, i uses silver jigs during bright days and pinkish, fluoro-ish and blueish jig during cloudy…

  • Tom Eisenbart

    Apr 24, 2017

    Wow, great tutorial, and photos.

    My wife will be teaching a watercolor workshop May 3rd-12th in Cavtat, Croatia. My two adult sons will also be going, helping, and traveling. I will be joining after the 12th for a less working portion of the trip. We are from Oregon and enjoy fishing, and crabbing. We have experience jigging for bottom fishes here, and it looks like bringing some metal baits along would be a good idea for this area. The marine environment looks wonderful from the photos I have seen. I was thinking of renting a kayak with the guys, exploring a bit, and maybe catching some dinner.

    Not sure if all the fish from your photos are common to the Cavtat area?, and what you might suggest targeting while using the kayaks for this time of year?

    Thanks,
    Tom

    • Reply icon

      Cat

      Apr 25, 2017

      Tom,

      It sounds like you are going to have a wonderful trip! The photos in this post give a good idea of the fish you are likely to catch, with Small Snapper/ Dentex, Bonito, Bluefish and Leerfish (Garrick) all being possibilities. Let us know how it goes!

      Cat

  • Fish

    May 11, 2017

    I go for shore jigging especially on windy days when l can not cast my other minnow lures well. I have jigs from 7gr to 40gr in my box and l try to use as many as l can. It’s a great fun. I love it!

  • Thomas

    Feb 10, 2019

    Very interesting article! We will visit Croatia in May (area around Zadar). Is it possible to shore jig there?
    Best regards
    Tom

    • Reply icon

      Sean

      Feb 15, 2019

      Hey Tom,

      Thanks for reading.

      Yes, you will be able to shore jig around Zadar. Just make sure to select an approved location. Recreational fishing is prohibited in harbors, ports and public beaches from May 1st until October 1st.

      I would advise checking with the local sport fishing authorities for the best information. You can contact the Croatian Sportfishing Association through this link.

      Their website sadly doesn’t have an English version, but there is an email address and a phone number on the top and bottom of the page.

      I hope you’ll find this helpful.

      Have a great day!

  • Jason

    Nov 17, 2019

    Great post, thanks sean! I was just wondering what kind of approx depths near shoreline would your article be assuming? I live in a peninsular country (not naming) where the waters are quite shallow near shore. We do go on boat jigging sessions almost every month possible, where it can get to depths of upto 70m max, so you can easily imagine the depths near shoreline. I just have always been skeptical of trying jigging on shore. Just because bait fishing (on rocky shores) have always been successful for small to medium sized fishes.
    Nevertheless, assuming the shallow depths I am talking about, would you mind suggesting the weight/kind of jigs I could possibly use over here?

    • Reply icon

      Albert

      Nov 18, 2019

      Hi Jason,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I’m afraid I can’t give any real advice on types or weights of jigs without knowing what you’d be fishing for.

      What I can tell you is that shore jigging is most effective in waters at least 10-15 meters deep. Ideally, you’d be fishing from rocky outcrops, jetties, or other hard structure near deep water. If the sea near you is too shallow, you can always try jigging from harbor walls instead.

      I hope that helps. Sorry I can’t be more specific.

      Tight lines!


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