Micro jigging has become extremely popular in Southern Queensland during the last year or two. Anglers are honing jigging and retrieve techniques and using an array of jigs to catch a plethora of prime species in the bay and rivers.
Snapper, mulloway, threadfin, trevally, tailor and a heap of others are being deceived by the actions of these micro metals. For anglers targeting snapper and other species in Moreton Bay and surrounding waters, mackerel can often become a bit of a nuisance as they will regularly engulf a jig and bite you off, which can become a little expensive at times. Something had to be done to save my jigs and decrease my blood pressure.
Recently I started experimenting to produce a wire assist rig that wasn’t too intrusive to put on my micro jigs when the marauding mackerel move in. I figured one out that was easy to make, inexpensive and really made a difference to results at the end of the day.
Most micro jigs are purposely rigged with assist hooks instead of treble hooks (which many other lures sport) because the limp nature of the assist cord results in the hooks rarely fouling on the leader. Your jig will remain in play throughout the entirety of the jig and retrieve and present as it was intended to.
Assists rigged with wire are more rigid than those rigged with conventional assist cord, however, they still seem to be fairly good at avoiding tangling. However, as the main reason for using the wire assists is to avoid getting bitten off by mackerel and other toothy critters, the small inconvenience of a hook fouling the jig is far outweighed by the extra fish landed and the jigs retained.
Often a mackerel will just sever the assist cord attaching the hooks and therefore the jig is saved, however at times they will engulf the entire jig and sever the leader. For this reason it may also pay to add a short wire leader in front of the jig, however be aware that this may decrease the strike rate at times. If you are fishing areas where mackerel are unlikely then I would not use a wire assist. However it pays to have a few jigs rigged with wire in case you are in mackerel territory and begin suffering losses.
There are not a lot of good hooks on the market in Australia for this type of rigging, and even fewer reasonably priced ones. I commonly use Mustad Hoodlums, Gamakatsu SC15 or Shout Light Jigging and Ijika, finding these all work well.
Nylon-coated wire could be used however it is generally of lower stainless quality than uncoated wire. Uncoated Shogun, Superflex or Mason wire in breaking strains between 20lb and 40lb are my choice for this application. Additionally you will need a parrot-beak wire cutter (even side cutters will suffice for this thin multi-strand wire), some split rings (slightly higher breaking strain than the wire), split ring pliers or pincettes and possibly some heat shrink, krystal flash, Panic Baits or Needlefish skirts to finish the wire assist off. Once you have all this together then it is time to get started.Reads: 2420