Fishing Corner — Popularity of jigs for steelhead fishing rising on the Harbor


So far, I have not heard too many negative reports regarding our steelhead season for this year.

Usually, if it is poor fishing, the word gets out quite quickly. This year, anglers, who have invested their time in the right places, have done fairly well.

The fish being caught so far this year have not been exceptionally large. They have ranged in the 8-10-pound range and have been bright fish.

I cannot say enough about the popularity of jigs for steelhead. This method of fishing makes the event so simple. The one thing that is appreciated while fishing in this manner would have to be enhanced visual feedback. The thing I am referring to is the disappearance of the bobber when the fish strikes. Most would agree that one of the most important moments with steelheading is the split second when the fish hits your offering. The difference between a fish being hooked or lost can largely depend on the angler’s skill at this precise moment in the challenge.

Detecting the bite is so important. I have watched anglers, and even did it myself, anticipate the bite only to set the hook too quickly and miss the fish. Anglers rely on their senses to perfect this moment.

The two primary senses would be feel and the visual. I would agree that using the bobber method using jigs does not promote a lot of the feel technique. However, when it comes to the visual, I think this is where the angler has an advantage.

When using the drift method, spinner, or plug, anglers need to extend their response to a bite beyond the element of feel. Anglers are watching intently for the tip of their pole to bend sharply or to keep an eye on their line which will straighten out when a fish is hooked. Utilizing the visual is a key factor in making the most of the split second take down.

Whereas, when using the bobber and jig method, the visual is very obvious. Because the bobber is so light, it reacts to the slightest amount of resistance. In my opinion, that slight tug is almost undetectable in other manners of fishing. The bobber stays under water and the fish literally hooks itself.

Another aspect that is a key to this approach is that the amount of line below the bobber is not usually much more than four feet. Whereas, in other approaches, there may be as much as 40 to 50 feet of line out. The usual reaction is going to be much faster with four feet of line compared to longer distances. The feedback is instantaneous and when it comes to steelhead fishing, this factor is major.

Currently, we are in the prime of our winter steelhead season. If you are waiting for a good time to pursue these fish, it won’t get any better.

Perhaps, you will become a believer in using jigs for steelhead or you may just want to give them a try.