Selection of the cane pole is the main element in the manufacture of a proper jigging pole. It must be a minimum of sixteen feet long, with plenty of whip or bend, with a slight downward curve at the tip.
Wrapping the pole with sixty pound, test, braided fishing line is next. The wrap should begin about three feet from the butt end of the pole and include a wrap every six inches. To hold the wrap in place, every eighteen to twenty-four inches tie a half-hitch knot in the line around the pole and continue the wrapping. The last two feet of the pole, the wraps should be not more than two inches apart, with a secure knot tied on the tip, but leave the tag end of the line hanging down below the tip.
Eight inches below the tip attach the first hook. The hooks can be one of several sizes, but, to prevent straightening, must be steel, long shank type. When the first hook is attached, clip the line below the hook, then slip another hook of the same size over the point of the first hook, slide it to the hook’s curve and then crimp it on.
Just before fishing, attach two pork rinds, spotted green works best. Attach the first rind to both hooks then attach the second rind to the bottom hook only.
For best results, press the rod butt along the bottom of your forearm, grasp the pole securely and gently tap, tap tap, the rod tip on the surface and you’ll notice that the tip makes dimpled, circles in the water. That’s the right way. The bait jumps and slides below the surface and the fish will explode into the bait. There is no hook setting, just holding on to the pole. Then hand over hand on the pole until the fish can be reached then net or jerk it into the boat.
This is a two, person job, one jigging the other driving and a skiff is the ideal boat. Propulsion of the skiff can be provided by paddle or electric motor. Just be sure the propeller doesn’t bang into too many limbs or stumps.
When Buck and I jigged it was usually around the edges of a pond or lake in water from one foot to four. Don’t hesitate to fish over an area two or three times, because Buck believed that a bass would finally hit the bait out of frustration! Once, on a bet, he and I fished around the stumps on Lake Sam Rayburn’s south side in up to twenty feet of water and hammered the bass. He won the bet!
Now, the hardest part of all may be finding the right Calcutta, cane pole, or even finding one!