How to Vertical Jig the Islamorada Hump

The Islamorada Hump (AKA “The Hump”) is a very popular Upper Florida Keys(Key Largo, Islamorada and Tavernier) fishing spot. The Islamorada Hump is a large underwater mountain (seamount), that projects upward. The ocean current collides with the mountain and creates a nice upwelling that traps baitfish which attracts predators. The Islamorada Hump rises to within 290ft from the surface. When arriving at The Hump, just the site of the current rips, the big tunas crashing the surface eating flying fish and birds working over the top of them get your adrenaline pumping!   Trolling surface baits especially during the winter months will catch very small tunas, the larger tunas hang deep in the water column. The secret to catching big tunas and groupers when fishing the Islamorada Hump is vertical jigging.

My preferred method fishing method is vertical jigging when I do fish the Islamorada Hump.  Here are few tips to help you get started or improve upon your vertical jigging game.


Vertical Jigging Reels

My favorite vertical jigging reel is a Shimano Twin Power 8000 spinning reel. It is an extremely light weight reel with awesome drag and ultra fast retrieve. We provide clients with the absolute best spinning reels built by Shimano USA.

Vertical Jigging Rods

Each vertical jigging rod is custom built by Adrenaline Custom Fishing rods( ) for clients. 

Vertical Jigging Terminal Tackle 

All my spinning reel outfits are spooled with 30-40 lb. braided line. I double the braid line using a spider hitch knot. This doubles the strength of braided line and allows us to target big amberjacks using lighter line.  Using an improved bristol knot, I connect a fluorocarbon leader to the braid double line.

I always use fluorocarbon for the abrasion resistance and the stealth.

  • Use 30 lb.-40 lb. for blackfin tuna
  • Use 60 lb. -100 lb. for amberjacks

Vertical Jigging for Groupers

For bottom dwelling fish such as snappers and groupers. The angler will let the jig stay on the bottom for a few seconds, bounce it off the bottom 3-4 times that will give the fish a chance to investigate and at times the fish will pick it up and eat the jig. Think like a spear diver when it comes to jigging the bottom around wrecks. Spear divers brush the bottom of the ocean surface with their hands generating clouds of sediment and religiously use underwater lights and flashers to attract fish such as grouper, wahoo, snapper and cobia into their kill zone.

Think Like a Spear Diver

The jig bouncing off the seafloor creates vibratory sounds and “clouds” of sediment/sand.  This action draws the attention of big fish from hundreds of yards of way.If the angler does not draw a strike he will then lift the jig 5-10 ft. and repeat the process. African Pompanos are a highly sought after species on the vertical jig. If the bottom dwelling fish do not cooperate, the angler starts working the jig higher up into the water column. Lifting the jig 30-50 ft. then dropping it back down.

Vertical Fishing Fishing Tip

When use 2 assist hooks.  One is rigged as normal.  Then add a rubberband to the second assist hook to keep it in place!  Why? A fish will typically strike while your bait is falling back down from the jigging action.  During free fall your assist hooks are above the jig so if a fish strikes the jig you may not hook up. This tip will increase your catch rate.


Listed are GPS Coordinates for finding the most popular “Humps” off the Florida Keys.

Key Largo Hump GPS: 25-00.66′ N; 80-16.8’W
Islamorada Hump GPS: 24-48.18′ N; 80-26.67′ W
409 Hump GPS: 24-35.5′ N; 80-35.5′ W