Whether you’re looking for a July striped bass closure alternative or you just want to enjoy some KISS fishing fun for panfish, jigging a Sabiki will be tough to beat. Sabiki rigs were originally used mostly for catching bait, especially in Florida, but as their effectiveness on multiple other species - including white perch, spot, croaker, and the like - became apparent, their popularity extended up the coast. Today, they're commonly used throughout the Chesapeake Bay.

  1. Get some Sabiki Rigs; if you’re in Maryland waters remember that this means buying Chesapeake Sabikis in specific, as they have just two flies (adhering to Maryland law). Hayabusa #10 is the standard-issue version. Sabikis used in other states often have four or even six flies.
  2. Weight the rig with an ounce or two of weight, being sure to use enough to easily reach and hold bottom.
  3. Position your boat over oyster bar, a shoal, or other fish-attracting feature, drop the rig to bottom, and give short, gentle six-inch jigs with the rod tip every few seconds.
  4. If you’re fishing from a pier or bridge, cast out and allow the rig to hit bottom. Then give it short hops by raising your rod tip quickly enough to pull the weight off bottom and move it a foot or two at a time. Continue hopping it along until you feel a bite, or you’re retrieved it all the way back.
  5. The moment you feel a nibble, jerk the rod tip back to set the hook.
a white perch on a sabiki rig
Captain Drew helps one of the anglers on the Big Worm get her white perch from the Sabiki rig, to the fishbox.

Bonus Tip: When there are lots of fish around and they're hungry, that's all it takes. If the bites are few and far between or the fish are just acting finicky, however, many anglers will add a tiny tidbit of bait to the hook such as a bit of bloodworm or Fishbites.