jigger n also gigger OED ~ sb1 4 (1815, 1884),
DC 1 Nfld (1778-).
1 Unbaited, weighted hook(s) used
with a line to catch cod (or squid) by giving a sharp, upward jerk; JIG n.
[1751-66] 1954 INNIS 181 [inventory] To 3 Dozen Bank hooks for
Giggers...  1792 CARTWRIGHT ii, 340 The Stag brought in seven quintals of
fish this evening which were killed with jiggers. 1792 ibid Gloss i, xi Gigger or
Jigger. A pair of large hooks fixed back to back with some lead run upon the shanks, in
the shape of a fish. The Gigger being let down to the bottom, is played by sharp jerks,
and such fish are hooked by it, as are enticed by the resemblance of the lead to a real
fish. 1842 JUKES i, 29 A jigger is a plummet of lead, with two or three hooks stuck at
the bottom, projecting on every side, and quite bare. This is let down by the line to the
proper depth, and then a man, taking a hitch of the line in his hand, jerks it smartly
in, the full length of his arm, then lets it down slowly and jerks it in again. 1884
DEMING 87 The 'jigger' is a red stick of wood circled with sharp but barbless hooks. The
hook is let down, the squid, which enters the Newfoundland bays by myriads for food, is
attracted by the red color, clasps its arms over the hooks, and is drawn up to its death.
1906 DUNCAN 66 It struck me that I might do something with my line and jigger. 1937
Seafisheries of Nfld 32 Jiggers are made by fastening two hooks together so that
their barbs are as far apart as possible. Lead of various weight, usually half-a-pound,
is melted round them in the shape of a fish. 1940 SCAMMELL 9 "The Squid Jiggin' Ground":
All sizes of figures, with squid lines and jiggers, / They congregate here on the squid
jiggin' ground. T 191-65 They didn't have much equipment to catch fish with, apart from a
jigger or probably a dabber to catch a few, but lots of 'em didn't even have a trawl or a
net. T 198-65 Two hooks in 'em, see. A little hole here in the ass o' the jigger for [to]
tie your line on; two hooks for jigging fish. But now they got 'em [with] three or four
hooks. 1965 HENDERSON 96 After being shown the box of squid, we were shown a jigger, a
small circular piece of lead with about fifty fine prongs around its base. This jigger is
attached to a short line. The squid are not caught on a hook, as is a fish, but rather
flipped into the boats.
2 Comb jigger fish: cod-fish
caught with an unbaited hook.
1979 NEMEC 251 As a rule, 'jigger
fish' tend to be fairly small (under 18 inches).