Jigging for pink salmon is a technique which can be used from either boat or shore. While this technique takes some practice to master, it can be deadly in the hands of an experienced angler.
Rod and Reel
Since this is a cast and retrieve technique most people use a spinning rod and reel since they are easy to cast. But casting rods are also used.
You’ll want a rod rated for 10-15# line and a 0.5-1.0 ounce lure. You’ll want it to have a moderate to fast action to get a good hookset when jigging.
Most steelhead rods are ideal for this, such as this Lamiglas.
You’ll want to pair it will a decent spinning reel. It is hard to beat the price/performance point of the Pfluger President.
If fishing from shore then 10# mono, like Maxima Ultragreen will work fine. But if fishing from a boat then I like using Depth Hunter braid, since it makes it easy to tell how deep your jig is.
The most popular jig to use is a Buzz Bomb in the Hot Pink color. Rig it according to the instructions – with the exception of changing the hook to a single point if needed to meet the regs. You’ll want to use sizes from 1.5″ to 2.5″ depending on how far you need to cast and the rod you are using.
You can also use a twitching jig. These jigs tend to have longer tails and more flowing material to give it movement in the water. Depending on casting distance needed use 1/4 to 1/2 oz jig.
Pictured are 2 twitching jigs and a buzzbomb.
If using mono mainline then tie the lure directly on the mainline.
If using braid then add a 4 to 6 foot leader of mono of matching strength, and tie the lure on to that.
How To Fish From Shore
From shore cast directly out. Let the lure sink until it is close to bottom, then start jigging it back.
To jig it do a quick jerk that moves the rod tip up about 1 foot. Then lower the rod quickly, while reeling in the slack. Repeat until the lure is out of the zone, then reel all the way in and cast back out.
On many beaches there is a trough or drop off just off shore. This is where the fish will be and where you want to target.
The countdown method is typically the best way to determine how deep your lure is, and achieve repeatable casts. Basically start counting (one Mississippi style) when your lure hits the water. When you reach the desired number then start jigging. Each cast increase the count until you start hitting bottom, then subtract one and you have the count to use for every cast.
How To Fish From Beach
From a boat you can cast, but it is often easier to just let it drop. Since you are in open water the fish will be deeper (typically 30-60 feet). Once at the desired depth you jig the lure up and then let it fall.
A quick jerk up on the rod that moves the rod tip about 1 foot is all that is needed. Then follow the line down with the rod. The fish usually hit it on the drop and you find out on the next jig up. However if you notice on the drop if the line starts moving faster/slower than normal then do a hookset immediately.
You can know the desired depth by using your fish finder or knowing what depth people are catching fish at.
To know how deep your lure is, there are 4 basic methods:
- Countdown assuming your lure drops roughly 1 foot per second
- See the lure on your fish finder
- Using a line counter
- Use line which changes color every so often, like Depth Hunter braid (my favorite technique)
Keys To Successful Jigging
Jigging is a bit of an art and will take some practice to be an expert. Some keys to success are:
- Keep your jig in “the zone” as much as possible
- Experiment with the jigging rhythm until you find what the fish want
- Setting the hook instantly when you detect anything that might be a bite
For more ways to fish for pink salmon check this out.
2 thoughts on “Pink Salmon Fishing Basics – Saltwater Jigging”
I see many anglers using herring from the shore. What kind of rig do you use for this?
From shore I suggest a herring under a float
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