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Buying Guide & Reviews

In Review: KastKing Vertical Jigging Fishing Combo

by Tom Melton 16 Jun 2024

Vertical jigging is one of the many ways anglers can target a plethora of fish in both freshwater and saltwater. There is not one single fish, in my opinion that will not jump all over a well-placed jig, fished vertically. I have caught smallmouths, lake trout, striped bass, bluefish and many more species, all while vertical jigging. There is something about vertical jigging that gets fish in a feeding frenzy!

Once again KastKing has provided anglers with a combo that will enhance their vertical jigging trips, and at an affordable price tag – "Fueled by Innovation," the companies’ "Vision" comes into full play with this combo in both quality and affordability. Let’s take a look at what you can expect, then you can hit the web and grab one for your next vertical jigging fishing trip.

  • This Vertical Jigging Combo works on virtually all freshwater fish
  • Vertical jigging allows anglers to "work" the lure
  • Vertical jigging can be seen easily on your electronics
  • Vertical jigging "will" catch fish!

What is Vertical Jigging?

What is vertical jigging? Out of all the ways to catch fish, vertical jigging is, in my opinion, is one that gets utilized less than many other methods. To me, that is a huge mistake as vertical jigging will allow anglers to mimic wounded or fleeing baitfish better than any other. Vertical jigging will keep the lure in the strike zone for a greater period of time.

Vertical jigging is a simple way to fish, but it also needs to have some detail in your approach. First off, you do not just drop the jig to the bottom then jerk the rod up and let it fall! The proper and more efficient way is to drop the jig to the strike zone or just below, based on your "read" on the electronics where baitfish is, then "work" the jig. To properly work the jig I use one method, which was taught to me by one of my early mentors, Scott Simons, editor of the Long Island Fisherman in the 70’s. It may be a simple approach, but it has worked on any specie I have targeted while vertical jigging. Although simple, it flat out produces fish! I will drop the jig to my targeted zone or just below, then crank hard for about five cranks on the reel, then immediately free-spool and allow it to drop back down. If you cannot see, or don’t use electronics, start at the bottom, reel, then drop. Then come up off the bottom 10 feet, reel, and then drop. Keep working upwards in the water column until you find the fish. I feel this controlled reel-drop style gives two distinct views – a wounded, fluttering baitfish (drop) and one fleeing from prey (the quick initial cranks of the reel). Either of these will produce action.

On the drop after coming off the bottom with this Strike King, spoon, this fine bass was caught by the author on the KK Vertical Jigging Combo.

Solid Combo

You can vertical jig with almost any rod and reel combo, but then there are certain aspects, like staying vertically over the bait and rock solid hook-ups that may be missing. With the new KastKing Vertical Jigging Combo the issues are minimal. And, with today’s forward facing sonar, many times the fish will be right below the boat or relatively close by as an easy target. I almost always use rods in the 6-6 to 6-9 range for vertical jigging in saltwater, but the new 5-6 WideEye Walleye Rod actually balances nicely and gives you total control, especially on the freshwater front. 

Moving to the reel on this combo, if you recall back when I reviewed the Kapstan Elite 300 and said it was a beast of a reel, you will already know how much I feel this tank is a work horse. The wide-body allows the lure to quickly enter the strike zone and is easy to control what depth you want that lure! Add in the torque of the low-speed reel, combined with 35 pounds of braking power and most fish will be easily tamed, with some just needing a little more power from the rod to tame. The bottom line is this rod and reel combo will work great on a variety of species in freshwater – lake trout, bass, hybrid stripers, salmon and more. 

The KastKing Vertical Jigging Combo is the perfect wet-up for freshwater action with either spoons or jigs. It balances perfectly, and has the power to tame any fish you target.

Built Tough

The KastKing Walleye series of rods are not just meant for walleye. In fact I have several I use for bass and trout, so adding the 5-foot, 6-inch, medium action rod rated for 10 to 20 pounds is a good option for vertical jigging any species you want to target.

  • Lightweight for all day fishing
  • Sensitivity and Power
  • Toray IM9, 640K Strain rate Nano Resin Blank
  • Fuji L-Frame Guides
  • Fuji TCS Reel Seats

Add up all the great features of the KastKing WideEye Walleye fishing rod and you have the making for a high performance vertical jigging rod.

The high quality Fuji tangle free guides ensure smooth sailing as the line leaves the reel.

The Beast 

As I have said, the Kapstan Elite 300 is a beast. Add in the power handle and you have a beast on steroids! The reel offers a low-profile, which is super comfortable, which aids in controlling your jig on the drop and retrieve. The line capacity is enormous at 230 plus yards of 65 pound braid.

Anglers are always talking about stopping power where drag is concerned. The Kapstan offers an amazing 35 pounds of drag. However, the more important aspect of any drag, and especially when vertical jigging, is the smoothness of the drag. KastKing’s triple disc carbon drag is as smooth as it gets.

There is no question in my mind that if you want to try vertical jigging in freshwater, the KastKing Vertical Jigging rod and reel combo is the way to go. The outfit is lightweight, powerful on both the rod and reel ends, and is offered with all anglers wallets in mind. I have two, and if I were you, I would be on the website ordering one as well.

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