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David Johnson

Guiding in the NW and Alaska for 19 years, Degree in Fisheries, long time ifish guide

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December 11, 2015

The Twitch

by David Johnson

The Twitch

I've known about twitching jigs for coho salmon for quite some time now. I dabbled with it but didn't really put a ton of effort into it until last fall. I HAD A BLAST! It brought back childhood memories of fishing bass and panfish except that when you feel that subtle tick, grab or pressure on the end of the line and set the hook it's not some little fish at the end of you line but a mean, hard fighting salmon.

Believe it or not I've been using twitching jigs for coho more than I've been using eggs. And if you know me that says a lot.

Twitching jigs is especially effective on silvers and chums but I have caught all species of salmon except sockeye (I haven't twitched jigs anyplace with sockeye but I'm sure they'll take them too)

I've also been surprised by steelhead and cutthroat while twitching.

Fish just have a hard time resisting a bouncing, fluttering, pulsating marabou and rabbit fur jig.

There are a lot of different brands of twitching jigs out there. I've had the best luck with twitching jigs from Dinger Jigs. In fact I've fished them side by side with others and they out fished the hands down.

I've also successfully twitched the large salmon jigs meant for fishing under floats but the rabbit fur tail on the twitchers.

But the twitching jigs work the best, that tail drives them crazy!

Hoochie skirts pushed over a jig head as well as pink worms and grubs also will work for twitching.

I use the twitching jig two different ways, one is cast it out and twitch the rod tip up six to eight inches and drop the tip while reeling in the slack. This can be done by casting across current and letting it swing as if drift fishing and twitching as it goes. However I find it more effective in slower water and in back eddies.

The second way I've done really well is to vertical jig it from the boat, from on top of a log jam or above a cut bank.

The bite usually isn't a very hard bite, normally it is more of a light grab, a tick or some pressure. Much like bass fishing. A sensitive rod makes a big difference for this kind of fishing. I've been using the GLoomis 930 twitching rod. I love that rod. It's sensitive with enough power for landing chinook.

For line I've been using 30# Maxima Braid 8. In dirty water I've been tying directly to the jig. This has been really nice for getting my jig back from snags when fishing in brushy areas. Now one of my to rules is never just bend a hook back into shape and keep fishing, replace it. More than one fish has been lost because a re-bent hook has straightened out. But in this instance I do re-bend my jig hook and keep on fishing because there is a pretty good chance you are going to snag up and loose that jig soon anyway. I use a palomar knot when going straight to my jig with braid.

When the water is clear I've been tying on a small barrel swivel and about thirty inches of 15# Maxima fluorocarbon.

Give twitching a try, it is fun, especially if you have a warm water fishing background.

Comments (5)

Shrimpdaddy wrote 4 years ago

Thanks for sharing. Gonna give it a try this winter.


07clackapramowner wrote 4 years ago

Great info! Thanks for sharing David!

BillH wrote 4 years ago

When Jennie and I went to Alaska two Septembers ago we learned the art of twitching for early river cohos. It was a blast. I thought it might work here in West channel so I brought back a small set of big twitching jigs but we just haven't tried it yet. I think it will work anywhere you can anchor or hover your boat over some semblance of a concentration of chinooks or cohos with any rod with a slightly light tip and some power in the center and butt sections. Since you hook the fish generally near the nose, they can be released unharmed easily. It would be interesting to try it on steelhead in a low water, big hole situation where they stack up against a wall or something.

BillH wrote 4 years ago

Fishrite wrote 4 years ago

Going to give it a try again next year for silvers. Looks like fun!
I've never done it up river....but I'm going to next fall.

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