Drop in with a Jigga – Geoff Ringer
Geoff Ringer explains a tactic that’s enjoying renewed success for silvers on commercial fisheries
SOME tactics are judged as effective for one species, and one species only. The Jigga float is a prime example. Viewed exclusively as an F1 approach that is deadly when the fish are feeding in the upper layers, it’s a method widely believed to have only been around for a few years. But one of angling’s legendary figures has discredited that theory and recalls it being created decades ago – long before F1s were on the scene – for a very different purpose. Geoff Ringer has tried his hand at most types of coarse fishing during his illustrious career, and first got to the grips with the jigga more than 20 years ago. “So many people think it is a modern development for F1s but it was first used for silver fish and it was unbeatable on its day,” revealed Geoff. “This was before the commercial scene grew at a pace and it was intended for reservoirs. This year I have dabbled with it on mixed lakes. It certainly hasn’t lost any of its edge and it’s definitely something you need in your armoury for catching nets of quality silver fish.”
Working the jigga
If you’re not a fan of F1 fishing there’s every chance you’re wondering what a Jigga is. Well, it’s an inline float that runs freely up and down the line. The mainline passes through the centre of the float and there is a bulk of shot on the hook-length. Unlike on a traditional float, the Jigga cocks itself and the shot is used solely as a bolt rig to help the fish hook themselves the second they take the hookbait. The float won’t dip when you get a bite and it is merely there to keep the mainline straight and direct, which drastically increases the number of bites you hit. A noticeable ‘rattle’ of the rig will indicate a
bite, and lifting gently will result in your elastic being pulled out. “Lifting and dropping the rig constantly enables you to cover a lot of water. At this time of year it can be difficult to get silver fish to remain at one depth, but with a Jigga your hookbait is exploring widely by moving up and down in the water column.” The length of your mainline will dictate how much of the water column you can prospect. “I usually have 5ft of line from pole-tip to hook. This means I can lift and drop the hookbait through 5ft of water, massively increasing the chances of putting it in front of quality roach, bream, perch and even tench,” says Geoff. Don’t stop feeding Silver fish will gladly sit off the bottom, but if you want them to stay put you need to keep the bait going in. Flicking in a few morsels every few minutes won’t suffice, and Geoff is almost constantly topping up the swim and uses around three pints in a session. “Casters are my favourite bait for this style of fishing because they attract a bigger stamp of silvers than maggots. I feed 15 casters every 20 seconds and I make sure this routine continues even when I am playing fish or making adjustments while my rig is out of the water.” When it comes to the hookbait, Geoff uses a single caster but fishes it in a hair-rigged bait band as opposed to directly on the hook. “If you miss a bite on a caster hookbait then it is often smashed or ripped off the hook. But if you band it you can miss a bite and drop the rig straight back in, because it’s unlikely the hookbait will be damaged. “Having the hookpoint showing also increases the number of bites you hit,” added Geoff. Bank bonus fish The fishery you are visiting will dictate how far from the bank you need to fish to get the silvers competing, but Geoff often starts at 6m. With the sizzling summer temperatures now well and truly behind us, carp and F1s are unlikely to cause much of a nuisance, but on mild days the odd lump may still invade the swim.
“Most carp and F1 fishing is done on the deck at this time of year. Silver fish on the other hand will feed up in the water throughout autumn and winter. That said, the feeding activity of silvers could attract a few carp and F1s, and if they do take the hookbait you’ll want to land them.” With that in mind Geoff uses an orange Daiwa Hydrolastic and 0.15mm mainline to an 0.13mm hooklength and a size 18 Kamasan B911 hook. Commercial silvers are often ignored, and aren’t that tackle shy, enabling Geoff to get away with using fairly beefy tackle. On a venue where the fish are slightly cagey, drop your hooklength down to 0.11mm. The Jigga rig may look much cruder than a traditional pole rig that oozes finesse, but Geoff’s results show it should be first out of the box when big silver fish catches are on the cards.
Feed 15 casters every 20 seconds to keep the fish up in the water
The bulk of Stotz (or use small shot) acts as a bolt rig to set the hook
Casters are the best feed and hookbaits when fishing the Jigga
Geoff shows off a superb mixed bag taken on the Jigga float and caster