Jigging is one of the most widely used saltwater techniques and your choice of jigging rod will depend on species you are targeting and the depth you’ll be fishing at.
Choosing the best jigging rod means matching the rod length, power and action to the kind of jigging you will be doing.
The type of jigging rods will be describing here will be used for heavy salt water jigging both slow pitch jigging and the more traditional vertical/fast jigging.
If you are looking to use throw smaller soft plastic jigs in shallower coastal waters then you need a lighter tackle setup and using an inshore spinning rod is a much better fit.
Vertical jigging requires a short rod with a parabolic bend that has a bit of spring in the tip.
They are rated for the weight of jig you want to use and as a general rule should be paired with a high speed, light weight reel that is spooled with 40lbs braid at an absolute minimum.
You can use spinning or conventional reels for vertical jigging but once the jigs get large a conventional rod and reel setup is preferable.
Slow Pitch Jigging
Slow pitch jigging originated in Japan and has really exploded in the USA in the last five years.
You need a fairly light pole with a rod tip that adds some life into the jig, low profile line guides, and the power to set the hook 150 feet down.
They are specialist rods that are designed with slow pitch jigging in mind and are normally between 6 and 7 feet in length.
Unlike vertical jigging when slow pitch jigging you do not jig the rod tip up and down aggressively instead you put a half turn on the reel and the rod tip loads up and adds some life into the jig.
The rod is not used to fight the fish once hooked, instead the rod tip is pointed down and the fish is fought off of the reel.
There are several high end rod brand like Temple Reef, Ripple Fisher, Sea Falcon, and Saltywater Tackle that specialize in making jigging rods but for the beginner jigger they are way too expensive to justify the cost.
Popular brands like Shimano also cater to the high end of the market with their Ocean Jigger Infinty series.
You are much better served by looking at one of the mid-range rods listed below and investing in a high quality reel to match it to.
Best Jigging Rods
The Shimano Trevela S is the most popular vertical jigging rod on the market right now.
It combines great value for money with the performance and build quality of a high end custom rod blank.
It is built with high speed jigging in mind and in particular butterfly jigs and other thin profile jigs.
Available in both spinning and conventional models the spinning range is marked with and ‘S’ and should be paired with a high quality saltwater spinning reel like a Shimano Stella or Saragosa.
Because of the design of the blanks, the Trevala S series provides a high performing rod blank at a mid-range price.
Shimano uses high modulus graphite on the inside to begin the process (Carbon).
They then wrap 4 different layers of sliced carbon tape around the base. The 90-degree carbon threads in the “S” tape reinforce and results in a very thin rod blank with high strength.
The end result is a stout rod that can meet the demands of jigging while feeling well balanced and light enough to not tire you after a long day on the water.
Like all Shimano rods the Trevala S series comes with top notch components and hardware.
They come with reinforced Fuji Aluminum oxide guides, a Fuji reel seat and a really durable EVA handle.
The best jigging rod for the money hands down!
Tsunami Slow Pitch Rods are made with the most advanced and robust pre-peg carbon fiber available!
In order to provide power, sensitivity and extraordinary versatility under all circumstances, each ultra-thin profile blank has a compact multi-layer design.
These rods are light, strong and come with a style of an acid wrap guide that you can only find on custom high-end rods!
The construction of the acid wrap minimizes tension on the rod and eliminates high-sticking breakage.
For strength and weight reduction, Tsunami Trophy Slow Pitch Jigging Casting Rods are made from a high modulus graphite mesh and composite blend.
Like most slow pitch rods these are built for a conventional reel and not a spinning reel.
These super powerful, extremely responsive rods will warn you to the lightest pickup or the most aggressive strike almost before it happens, whether you are deep jigging reef fish or targeting mid-water suspended fish.
Fuji O aluminum-oxide guides, a Fuji graphite reel seat with trigger and stainless hoods, and custom EVA grips come as standard. To further minimize weight, the rear grip is split.
These are a great intro to world of slow pitch jigging for the budget conscious angler.
The Jigging World Nexus line of rods is aimed at inshore jigging world and offer a truly well built rod that can take a lot of abuse.
The Nexus is made of a full carbon blank and uses a blank through construction process which makes it lightweight but strong and gives great feedback through the rod tip.
Even though they feel light they still have great lifting power especially for stripers or fluke and is a really good option for those that like to jig off of a jetty.
The rear grip is nice and long, so when jigging or bottom fishing, you can tuck it under your arm.
If you are in the market for a budget friendly workhorse that can take a real beating then the Cedros E-Glass from Okuma is a great option.
Unlike the others in this list as the name suggests the rod blanks are built from the more traditional E-Glass and not a carbon/graphite composite.
The result is a rod that can take a real beating, although they will naturally be heavier than the modern rods built on graphite blanks.
When using braid, the fiberglass rod blanks give full shock reduction, and they come with ALPS high-rise guide frames in stainless steel with zirconium inserts.
Zirconium inserts are much tougher than ceramic inserts, can withstand the corrosion from saltwater far better, and handle the high friction properties of braid much better.
Comfort and control are offered by ALPS pyramid-shaped, two-tone anodized-aluminum reel seats.
They are also covered by a lifetime warranty and support from Okuma.
Penn Rampage jigging Rods are tubular graphite composite single-piece rods that are both lightweight and rugged.
Although they are designed for vertical jigging they are quite versatile and can be used for a variety of inshore techniques.
PENN’s Torque EVA fore-grips make Rampage jigging rods less prone to spinning in your hand when fighting large fish.
Other components include frames with aluminum oxide inserts and a heavy-duty graphite reel seat keeps the reel in place.
As mentioned above saltwater jigging rods are designed to be used for one of two jigging techniques:
- Vertical/Speed Jigging
- Slow Pitch Jigging
Vertical or speed jigging is often what anglers refer to when they talk about jigging. It has been replaced somewhat by the huge growth in popularity of slow pitch jigging that originated in Japan and made it’s way to the USA roughly 10 years ago.
Despite what type of jigging you are intending to do your rod for jigging needs to be as durable as possible.
Saltwater jigging can hammer a cheap rod so ideally it will have
- Strong rod blank
- Durable line guides and inserts
- Strong reel seat that can accommodate a large reel
- Hard wearing comfortable grip
- Correct action for the style of jigging
There are plenty of cheap rods available but as ever you get what you pay for. There are also quite a few brands of very expensive high end jigging rods, but for a beginner it does not make sense to purchase one of these.
Instead invest in a high quality reel for your first jigging setup and pair it with a high quality mid-range rod.
Once you have gained some experience and settled on the weight of jigs you will be using and the depth you’ll be fishing you should be in a better position to know what kind of fishing rod you’ll need.
Then and only then should you think about buying an expensive jigging rod.
Vertical Jigging Rods
Vertical jigging rods need to be short, have a softer bend or parabolic slow action
The rod blanks are purposely made to withstand the stresses of heavy jig speed jigging in deep waters.
Traditionally these would have been made from either S-Glass or E-Glass which is much tougher and has a slower action than a lighter graphite rod.
However more modern graphite/carbon blends or graphite/glass blends have have all but rendered pure Glass rods extinct.
The main advantage that a Glass rod had was it’s durability, they could take a real beating, graphite on the other hand is quite easy to break especially if it gets thrown around on deck a lot.
Shorter rods in the 5-to-6 foot range are the norm for vertical jig work. Just make sure to always check the line and lure weight rating on the rod before you buy so that it matches the weight of jigs you will be fishing with.
Slow Pitch Jigging Rods
Slow pitch jigging rods are designed so that the tip of the rod does the most of the work as you are jigging and for ever half turn or full turn of the reel handle you add a spring into the tip.
It is this spring that then transmits down the line to the jig that makes it dance. The jigs are fatter and flatter than normal jigs and move in a much wider range as they flutter.
The rods are not really used to haul the fish up out of the deep instead the rod is pointed down past a forty five degree angle and the reel is used to pull them up.
In fact raising the rod up past parallel could result in it snapping so you need to be aware of this before you start out.
We hope our guide has helped you to make a more informed decision when buying the best jigging rod for your next trip out on the water!