WORK IT RIGHT: When rip-jigging, you work the jig with sharp jerks and then throw slack into the line so the jig plummets. The jig never hits bottom, however, because you make another jerk just before it touches.
Most rip-jigging is done as you slowly troll at about 1 mph, but you can also do it while drifting or still-fishing. With a little practice, you'll discover how hard to rip and how long to pause after throwing slack, so that you keep the jig moving erratically while almost, but not quite, touching bottom. The most difficult aspect of rip-jigging is getting used to the fact that you might not feel the usual tap or twitch that signals a bite because of the slack in the line. It doesn't really matter, though, because you'll set the hook with the next rip.
Like any other fishing presentation, rip-jigging doesn't work all the time. There will be days when the fish are in a less aggressive mood and prefer a slower, more subtle jigging action. Experiment with different motions and let the fish tell you what they want.
GEAR: To snap the jig with minimal effort and take up slack line when setting the hook, you'll need a fairly long rod. A 7-foot, fast-tip spinning outfit is ideal. Spool up with an abrasion-resistant line such as 8- to 10-pound-test Trilene XT. Lighter or softer line won't stand up to the sharp ripping action. Even tough line might fray from abrasion on the guides, so it pays to check your line often and respool when necessary. Because you're usually fishing depths of 10 feet or less, a 1⁄8-ounce jig should be sufficient, but if there's a strong wind or heavy current, you might have to step up to a 1⁄4-ounce jig. Tip the jig with a 3- to 4-inch minnow and hook it through the mouth and out the top of the head.