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Vertical Jigging with Braid

By Mark Romanack

Spring time is vertical jigging time.
The author loves to jig for walleye and strongly
recommends that anglers use premium braided
lines to maximize their sensitivity and ability
to detect subtle strikes.
Vertical jigging for river run fish is one of the most technical presentations commonly used to target walleye. Boat control is a critical part of vertical jigging, but just as important is the fishing line an angler selects. Ultra thin, ultra low stretch and high visibility fishing lines are ideal for river jig fishing applications. A thin diameter and high visibility line has less drag in the water, making it easier to see and also to maintain a vertical presentation in fast moving current. Low stretch lines are more sensitive enabling the angler to detect bottom easier and also to feel subtle strikes. 

The ideal line for walleye jig fishing applications is 10# test eight strand braid such as Maxima’s High Visibility Braid. A 10# test line is plenty strong for walleye jig fishing applications, thin enough to make it efficient at staying vertical, yet this line can also be broken should the jig snag on bottom. Anglers that use too heavy a braided line run the risk of a jig snagging on bottom and a rod tip breaking or the reel bail failing before the line can be broken!

Many anglers tie their jigs directly to braided fishing line. Because I prefer to use high visibility line, I instead rig a 24 inch leader of 10# test fluorocarbon line to the braid. Fluorocarbon is more abrasion resistant than monofilament, it also as less stretch and because it’s nearly invisible in the water it makes the perfect leader material.

The Double Uni Knot is the best way to attach braided line to fluorocarbon leader material. Lots of guys simply use a swivel tied in-line, but this option can damage the tip-top line guide on your rod, leading to expensive repairs.

The author favors premium braids for vertical jigging such as Maxima’s
 eight stand High Visibility line.
The manufacturing processes, quality and functionality of all fishing lines are not the same. The best braids are made from eight strands of Spectra Fiber wrapped together under heat and pressure to create a line that has a shape and management properties similar to monofilament. Maxima’s eight strand braid goes a step further using a slick coating that makes the line cast significantly further than non-coated braids. 

Unfortunately, the typical “braided” line on the market does not incorporate eight strand technology. These lines tend to be flat in shape, exceptionally soft and when spooled onto a reel the line bunches up and binds into itself. It gets worse because these “flat” braids cast poorly and prevent the reel’s drag from functioning smoothly. 

Bargain braids aren’t a bargain at all, but rather a nuisance to fish with. The cost of premium braids is more than run of the mill products, but premium braids last longer and perform better. The typical angler can fish a premium braid with confidence for two or three seasons. The value in premium braids is measured in longevity, performance and function.