Should You Jiggle A Tightline Rig?

In a tightline rig – do I jiggle the bait at all?

I wouldn’t jiggle the bait when you’re tightlining.  You don’t really need to, and it can make you miss the bite.  In general, you should make sure your bait moves as little as possible.  The whole point of attaching those weights is to make sure it stays put.

Those cats will be attracted to your bait because of the way it smells, not because it moves.  They can’t see too well down there and rely more on smell than sight. 

If that line is moving around at all, you won’t feel him when he’s striking.  Catfish are easy to catch once you get the hang of it, but they are good at nibbling your bait right off the hook and running for cover.  Catfish, more than any other fish, are tough to detect.  Lots of guys miss catfish bites because they don’t feel them.

This means that if you’re jiggling the bait, you’ll have no idea that he’s there.  In fact, even just a little current might keep you from knowing that you got a bite. 

Now, if you are a seasoned tightliner and you can get away with a little jiggle and still feel the bite, then it’s no problem.  Over time you develop a sense that allows you to feel those tiny catfish bites.  A little jiggle can help them find the bait, especially in the shallows, but don’t do it so that you can’t tell when they hit.  If you’re using a fish as live bait, let him do your jiggling for you.

Every angler jiggles, but when you’re tightlining, keep it still

Dan Eggertsen is a fellow catfish fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on catfish fishing since 2004.

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