Jigging has certainly come a long way over the years from the good old days of cranking slim, fast action metal jigs for seriola species like yellow tail kings, samson fish and the mighty amberjack. To these days where they now catch everything from pelagics such as mackerel, tuna and wahoo to demersal species such as our beloved Western Australian Dhu fish and Bald chin groper. This has led to a proverbial tsunami of jigs flooding today’s market leaving anglers with the ponderous task of what jigs to use and when?
Not only are there many different styles of jigs available but as to be expected they also come in a range of different qualities. These qualities are generally gauged by price although some manufacturers with greater buying power are capable of producing top quality jigs at a more reasonable cost than most. Cheaper jigs will catch fish, just not as many as the top notch models will.
Shimano has always had a name for producing top quality products and is still to this day the only tackle manufacturer confident enough in their products to offer an unbeatable 10 year warranty. Their range of Stella reels are still the pick of the bunch and when coupled with the Grappler range of jig rods make an absolutely sensational jigging set up. Shimano Stella 5000 and 6000 reels loaded with PE 3 braided lines attached to Shimano Grappler jig rods rated to PE 2 – 3 are my preferred jig outfits for targeting demersal, seriola and pelagic species in 25 – 60 meters of water.
Not only do Shimano produce top quality rods and reels but they also have a killer lure range including some of the best jigs available. Their Bottom Ship 2 range of jigs has proven themselves to be a winner with anglers all over the world as have the new Ocea Wing jigs. With their full name, Ocea Stinger Butterfly Wing offering a hint as to the kind of action they produce these Japanese styled butterfly jigs allow anglers to fish the entire time their jig is in the water. The heavy rear end of the jig is designed for rapid decent with the multi-faceted side creating a fluttering wobble during both free fall and when being worked at depth. Ocea Wing jigs can be worked either fast or slow and will account for a large variety of species no matter where you are. Fish will eat them on the decent, when being worked at depth and also on their rapid retrieval, a privilege certainly not available to those who fish with bait rigs.
Butterfly jigging is by no means a new or cutting edge technique and has been steadily mastered by the Japanese over the years to the point of perfection. This finesse style of slow action jigging has produced incredible results all over the world and is now set to revolutionize the way many of us go fishing. The idea is to drop the jig to the sea floor and begin a slow lift and drop/flutter style of action similar to the motion of a slow rocking boat. Lift the jig slowly as the boat rises over a swell and simply allow it to flutter as you drop back down the other side keeping the jig as close to the sea floor as possible. Once the jig is 4 or 5 meters off the bottom drop it and begin the retrieve again until your line angle becomes too shallow effecting the jigs natural action. Sometimes it helps to add a little flick at the end of the lift depending on the mood of the fish. Most jigs will only work to their full effect when they are fished directly under the angler.
This style of jig and retrieve is designed to imitate the majority of a reef fish diet and mimics 100% of all demersal species prey items including Crustacean (Prawns, crabs, crays ), Cephalopod ( Squid, Octopus, Cuttlefish ) and even small fish. To say that it is extremely effective is an enormous understatement and it wouldn’t surprise me to see this finesse style of jigging replacing the old days of dragging large lumps of lead around the sea floor attached to heavy Paternoster styled rigs loaded with chunky baits. Not only is slow action butterfly or demersal jigging more effective but it is also a lot more enjoyable allowing anglers the luxury of fishing with lighter and more comfortable outfits. Jigging is not only kinder to the angler but also the fish as 99% of all jig hook ups are ideally in the mouth allowing anglers to release unwanted or undersized fish with a much greater success rate than with bait rigs.
Gone are the days of cumbersome, multi tray tackle boxes, buckets of lead and heavy 50 – 80lb bottom bashing outfits that weigh a tonne. Now we can go fishing with merely two light jig outfits, some leader and a wallet full of jigs. Taking jigs home ready to use over and over again is also an added bonus and saves refreezing or throwing away all that smelly left over bait at the end of a day’s fishing, such a waste. As with the old style of bait fishing for bream and snapper has given way to the new, highly effective finesse style of artificial luring so will bottom bashing be slowly transformed into the wonderful world of artificial.
Light fluoro carbon leaders of 40 – 60lb are practically impossible for fish to see and cope exceptionally well with the rugged punishment most reef environments provide. Longer lighter leaders are more necessary in very calm, clear conditions and heavier leaders are generally used around rough terrain such as caves and pinnacles. Bimmini twist knots are still preferred to double and strengthen braided lines before connection to leader with an improved Albrite knot.
Ocea Wing jigs come unrigged to offer anglers a custom rigging option of either single, double or even wire assist hook set ups depending on their own individual preferences and requirements. Double assist hooks with coloured or lumo rubber squid are most popular here. If you can’t find them in local tackle stores yet you can order them online from Shimano’s excellent website http://www.shimanofish.com.au/
These jigs come in sizes 110 – 350 grams in an assortment of proven fish catching colours that are sure to impress. A rule of 1 gram per foot of water is generally a good gauge as to what jigs to use at certain depths. Example calm to moderate conditions with little current, 80 – 90 gram jig in 30 meters of water. As for colours everyone seems to have their own preference but for here around metropolitan W.A orang/gold in morning and afternoon and silver/blue/pink for the middle of the day are most popular. Gold/lumo is also a great colour combo on a dull cloudy day or early morning/late afternoon.
For anyone wanting to learn more about demersal jigging techniques? Fish-On does provide an exclusive, professionally guided jig charter out of Lancelin W.A. with yours truly on board, For more information please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Calm seas, clear skies