Different sized copper pipe jigs laid out

Why Do Copper Pipe Jigs Catch Fish?

With all the incredible gear, technology, and enhancements to fishing lures, why on earth would you throw an old piece of copper pipe to the bottom of the ocean? While pipe jigs have been used for almost a hundred years, they really only catch a few types of fish: specifically lingcod, halibut, and rockfish.

We’ll dive into why copper pipe jigs catch rockfish, lingcod, and halibut.  Pipe jigs have been used for almost a hundred years to catch various types of fish, especially lingcod, rockfish, and halibut.  Their simple design and significant weight make them a must-have in any halibut or lingcod fisherman’s tacklebox.

We’ll walk you through the basics of pipe jids and the simple reasons they work.  From there, we’ll tell you about a few more fishy stories of why these pipe jigs have been so popular for almost a century.

Pipe Jigs Are Fast Sinking Lures

Getting to the bottom or your desired depth is paramount to catching rockfish, lingcod, and halibut.  Huge lingcod, halibut, and rockfish tend to be near the ocean floor so getting to the bottom in up to 1000’ of water is important.  The fast diving pipe jig will create bubbles and disturbances on its way to the bottom, enticing lots of rockfish strikes swimming throughout the water column. 

Once at depth, hard jerking motions as well as subtle bobbing can entice strikes.  With larger weights, a very hard jerk and fall motion creates an attractive action for lingcod, rockfish, and halibut to strike.

If you’re on a charter boat with dozens of people, it always helps to be the first to the fish with your lure.  While other folks may be grabbing bait or changing their weights, you’ll be ready to drop with your lure as soon as the captain calls it.

A Heavy Pipe Jig Equals Tight Lines

When fishing in deep waters for rockfish, halibut, or lingcod, it’s important to keep a tight, vertical line.  This keeps your lure or bait directly on the fish with the most responsive line action. 

Our pipe jigs are ideal for flying to the ocean bottom to create a ruckus and stir up the giant lingcod and halibut.  Even in significant current and drift, your pipe jigs will still jig vertically and keep your line tight attracting all types of rockfish, halibut, and lingcod.

Cut down on tangles with other fisherman by always knowing that your pipe jig is straight below your rod.  Less drift with your lure means more control, better action, and bigger fish.

Less Tackle, Less Snags

Pipe jigs require the least amount of rigging you could ask for.  Your lure and weight are one in the same, and you don’t even need to bait your hooks.  Pipe jigs require less tackle than more conventional fishing lures.  Our “Standard Series” pipe jigs are basically a copper pipe jig with a hook.

Most pipe jigs are fitted with a hook on the side of the pipe, not the bottom.  This allows you to bang the ocean floor and retrieve your lure with a strong jig without the fear of dropping your hook into a small crevice and getting stuck.

Metal Pipe Jig Bottom Contact

Pipe jigs are generally designed and used to fish the ocean bottom.  While pipe jigs can be great in the water column as a big rockfish lure, most anglers use them to fish on the ocean bottom for giant lingcod and halibut.

Pipe jigs create an excellent “death flutter” on the ocean floor at heavy depths.  They can quickly jerk up and drop just as quickly, drawing attention and aggression from halibut and lingcod.  While most lingcod jigs and halibut lures will drift, you can select a large pipe jig to lay on the bottom until you’re ready to entice a strike.

The pipe jig composition of lead wrapped in copper creates a unique and penetrating sound when struck against rocks and gravel.  You can reel your pipe jig up just a few turns and let it drop again to disturb the floor and generate aggression amongst lingcod and halibut.

Galvanic Corrosion in Pipe Jig Metals

The galvanic corrosion theory is where we start to get a little fishy with our story.  Dissimilar metals react together, especially in the presence of a strong electrolyte like salt water. 

It is believed that pipe jigs discharge charged ions that attract fish around the lure.  There is a large potential voltage difference between the metals in a pipe jig which will create free ions like a battery. These ions are charged and could potentially impact the sensitive electronic receptors that predator fish like lingcod and halibut require to find their prey.

Black corrosion on ocean copper pipe jig

Our pipe jigs utilize Lead and Zinc to create a potential voltage difference, as well as copper to create an easy conduit between the metals.  While this seems like a far-fetched fish tale, make sure you check out the picture above of a pipe jig after a season of use.  There are black marks on the copper around the zinc pins as well as signs of lead loss in the top of the jig.  Our snap-swivels, barrel-swivels, and snap-rings are all saltwater grade stainless steel.

UV Index Reflection of Pipe Jigs

This is a fishy tale of why pipe jigs generally catch giant halibut, lingcod, and rockfish.  As the ocean water gets deeper, light diffuses more and visible light is lost at around 400 feet.  UV light, with more energy, penetrates much further down in the ocean.  Most estimates believe that UV light generally penetrates up to 1200 feet of ocean depth. 

Different fishing lure materials result in different light being reflected.  Pipe jigs generally involve a copper tube of bare metal.  Some anglers prefer a clear coated pipe jig to retain its reflective luster, however this is not ideal in all conditions. 

UV Reflection of Fishing Lure Metals

The above chart shows the general UV reflectivity of different metals.  What you’ll notice is that several metals like Silver (Ag) and Aluminum (Al) have a very consistent reflectivity, almost flat.  This means that there’s a large part of the UV spectrum that’s “perfectly reflected,” like an unnatural mirror.

Copper, the main surface metal of a pipe jig, crosses across a variety of reflection indexes over the UV spectrum.  While most fish seem uniform, upon closer inspection they don’t have a “perfect color” or reflection.  Copper pipe jigs age quickly in the water, creating an even more layered reflection of the UV spectrum.

The Fish Will Hit Anything, Copper Pipe Jigs Included

We can’t finish this analysis of pipe jigs without stating the obvious: most rockfish, halibut, and lingcod in particular will bite anything.

There’s stories of huge lingcod being caught with a spoon, a massive rockfish caught on a rebar lure, or an old piece of a leather boot that conjured up a giant halibut.

We must acknowledge that most of the fish that are caught with pipe jigs, in particular lingcod, halibut, and rockfish, are all very aggressive fish.  Depending on the season and spawn timing, these fish will just bite just about anything that gets near them, copper pipe jigs included.


The Pipe Jig Summary

Copper pipe jigs have a lot of things going for them.  They catch giant rockfish on their way to the ocean bottom and drive the lingcod wild when you bang on the rocks.

The reflective metal and galvanic corrosion add a bit of science-backed mystery to the jigs, while the heavy weight and simplicity of the lures add to their effectiveness.  Don’t miss out on some of the most fun lures to run on a party boat, whether you make your own or buy them from us.

Are pipe jigs for everyone?  Of course they are.  If you’re still unsure if they’ll work, ask your grandpa. 

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