Jigs for steelhead and salmon fishing are designed with one purpose in mind: they are meant to drive the fish crazy. The predatory reaction of salmon cannot always be counted on since they are wise about what they bite and what they do not, and simulating natural motion in your lure or bait is not always easy, especially when you consider that usually most of your rig will be underwater, well below your site level.
Plenty of anglers speak as though they know exactly what is going on at the other end of the line, but in fact unless they have made a video log that includes real time footage of themselves following a bait rig in full scuba gear underwater, their theories about what their motion on the rod causes the fish to do are just that, theories.
Now, for most anglers the proof will be in the pudding. Their ideas are backed up not by visual proof of the lure’s motion but instead by the fact that when they dip a rod a certain way, or release a spoon or plug gently into the water and follow its action as it is reeled out, they tend to catch fish. Most lures will simulate the movement of a wounded or healthy species of baitfish for successful steelhead and salmon fishing, as this will arouse the predatory hunger instinct of the big fish and cause them to strike.
There are days when salmon just don’t seem to be hungry, though, and there is another way to invoke a bite response; by using jigs for steelhead and salmon.
The action of a jig is much the same as the dance it was named for; it umps up and down in the water, spins in circles, basically acts crazy. Jig lures are typically garnished with bright colored, large feathers. Taken all together, the motion and the coloration of these lures seem to drive salmon into a frenzy, and they can’t help but strike at this annoying, attention grabbing thing that has appeared in front of them.
One of the good things about jigs is that they are relatively simple to use. Expert anglers, like those talked about earlier, spend a lot of time perfecting the motion that seems to impart the right action to the lure on the other end of their rig. Everything has to be just right, from the position of the rod to the angle of the tip and the motion of the waves and boat. With a jig, though, crazy motion is the key, so even an impatient novice can get the right action going with little practice.
Jigs for steelhead and salmon, like other lures and baits, are not successful all of the time. Success in salmon fishing depends on a lot of factors like weather, mood of the fish, temperature, and other things all coming together in the perfect combination. As far as ease of use, though, jigs have proven as successful as any other type of rig.