Saltwater Tackle & Tips.
SHALLOW WATER (<20ft)
JIGGING LURE: 1 ounce or less in weight. (such as my STAR JIG HEAD)
Keep your lightweight jig head attached to your jigging stick. It is used primarily in shallow waters where the species you’re after are VERY conscious of any disturbance, as in sight, sound , shadows.
For Fluke , a 1oz. jig head with a plastic curly tail attached can be a deadly combination. HINT…HINT…HINT… A small fuzzy body with a small baitfish such a mud minnow or bait strip NO bigger than 2 X 1/8 wide will be added for taste and smell. HINT…HINT…HINT… Make sure that the color of the jig head matches the color of the plastic tail or fuzzy body .
This jig catches all sizes of fluke and other species from Fluke to Redfish to Weakfish to Sea Trout and others. It is a SHALLOW WATER WONDER. Work the edges of pier pilings, the down current side of bridge abutments, and quiet water in and around marinas for good-sized fluke. Drift it, wade it, cast it - it does it all.
<<<HINT>>><<<HINT>>><<<HINT>>> SPECIAL COLOR COMBINATION: BROWN/BLACK
A commercial guy’s secret --> For 7-10 days each year, Jonah crabs molt and doormat-sized fluke suck them up LIKE CRAZY! Redfish will just inhale this color combination as will almost any other fin fish. So ALWAYS use a brown/black combo as your first choice when using the 1 oz. Jig BROWN/BLACK jig head lure. After brown/black, go with chartreuse first, then white/pearl, then pink/red colors in that order.
This way to fish is wild! As you drift along, drop your line to the bottom and reel up 1 to 1.5 turns. DROP the rod tip from horizontal, creating 6 inches of slack in your line. Now SNAP the rod tip up about 6 inches, TAKING ONLY THE SLACK out of the line, making the jig DART. That action makes the jig head DART FROM SIDE TO SIDE like a wounded minnow TRYING TO ESCAPE and drives your QUARRY CRAZY! It really works!
I had 2 or 3 fluke come off the bottom CHASING the JIG HEAD and whacking it like crazy. Redfish will jump on it as it slides to one side. Cobia will get hooked deep down. Striped Bass will swim after it and crush it as they turn away. It is something to see and it makes your knees wobbly when it happens. Fluke attack this setup like crazy. This lure actually puts FLUKE in an aggravated state that makes them rush the bait rig and POUNCE with a jarring strike. ZZOOWWEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!
Medium sized Black Sea Bass will gang tackle this rig WHEN rigged with a thin strip bait .
Remember, only hop this jig off the bottom in 10-inch high hops. Do NOT hop it any higher. HINT…HINT…HINT… Just ‘SHIVER’ your rod tip so that the top just constantly flits up and down. This will get any fish into ATTACK mode and will jump all over the jig. You must keep it in the attack zone. FLUKE can see large distances to either side but cannot see too far directly ahead as other predators can. Every few minutes or so, lift this whole rig 1-2 feet up off the bottom. Any cruising bottom dwelling fish will have a good chance at whacking the JIG as it flits away! Continue this 'till that doormat-sized fluke attacks the jig.
Jig across a rip at an angle from behind to the front.
<<<WARNING>>><<<WARNING>>> ANY time you feel resistance or weight, DRIVE that hook home with force. When that monster hits (usually on the drop down of the jig, you will sense a slack in the line as it goes into the water. HIT THAT FISH HARD NOW! Do NOT wait for the fish. If you do, he wins and you lose.
JIGGING WHILE WADE FISHING:
Wade fisherman use this same jig in a standard up and down POP off the bottom. The 1-ounce JIG will take many species of shallow water fish. Put a thin, shoestring-wide strip of mackerel belly on it and cast it out. Bounce it back in short hops. Fluke especially can't resist.
<<<WARNING>>><<<WARNING>>> WATCH out for deep holes and channel edges. Know where they are and don't step off into them but DO fish the EDGES of them.
<<<HINT>>><<<HINT>>><<<HINT>>> DON'T forget to fish these babies in the evening or at night. These fish are ACTIVE feeders and will come into water as little as 2 feet deep.
CASTING WHEN JIGGING
Use the same bait setup as mentioned above. Cast this alongside jetties, near the side of pier legs and along bridge abutments. Bring it back in a hopping motion. Hold on, 'cause this will catch those hard to hook big’uns. Cast it out above rough bottom (shells, rocks, weeds) and let it fall to the bottom. Jerk it along in 6-inch pulls, ( keep the rod tip DOWN and snap the RODTIP TOWARDS YOU)making the jig dart about 6 inches off the bottom. Fluke will whack it and then try to lie on it. WHACK the fluke A.S.A.P. Other species will ease up and try to pull your rod right out of your hand as they turn AWAY! Cast it around pier heads, pilings, jetties, bridge abutments, grass flats, sea walls, and bring it back. Let it hit bottom, then lift in LONG 12-16 inch lifts and let it fall back . Most fish will hit on the falling rig.
<<<WARNING>>><<<WARNING>>> WATCH THE SLACK LINE! If it stops before it's supposed to, WHACK THAT FISH HARD.
DEEPER WATER > 20 ft
CHROME BALL JIGGING LURE (such as my DOORMATTER EXPRESS BAIT/JIG LURE)
This is rigged with two hooks and a chrome ball that comes in varying weights for different water depths. The top hook is on a dropper loop and has a custom ATTRACTOR FLY ,usually made up of colored feathers in red or black. The fly has a tubular woven silver body covered by an iridescent plastic tube that glows. The tube has those all important eyes that attract more game fish to your hook. The bottom hook is on a leader with a pink, chartreuse or white nylon attractor fly.
The 3 oz lure is made with 30 lb. test leader for water 20-40 ft.
The 5 oz lure is made with 50 lb. test leader for water 40-60 ft.
The 8 oz lure is also made with 50 lb. test leader material for water greater than 60 ft or very strong rips and currents
The 10 oz lure is also made with 50 pound test leader and 2X strength hooks
The 16 oz lure has 60 pound test leader, 2X strength hook and is used primarily in waters 100-180 feet. This IS for BIG BRUSER ‘take no prisoner fish’. It has been used from Canada to Key West to Australia to Norway for ALL species of fish.
The chrome ball flashes the color in all directions and it appears as a small bait ball trying to flee from a predator.
When you anchor over structure and jig with a CHROME BALL JIG, drop it to the bottom and SSLLOOWWLLYY lift and thump the sinker on the bottom (lift in 1 ft lifts). This allows the bait and t’zer to flutter on the drop back, attracting lots of bottom critters. Make the CHROME BALL JIG drop down tide. After 4 bumps, repeat. Do this 4-5 times, then reel in and repeat above. You are covering a bigger stretch of bottom, disturbing that bottom as if a small BAITPOD is trying to hid themselves.
<<<HINT>>><<<HINT>>><<<HINT>>> at the slightest hint of a fish, STRIKE HARD. DO NOT hesitate or you will LOSE the fish.
<<<WARNING>>><<<WARNING>>>> Hold onto the rod 'cause the that MONSTER will jerk the rod right out of your hands, or break the rod tip on the gunnel, if you’re not careful. I know, ‘cause I've seen it happen to unsuspecting fisherman. OOUUCCHH!!
BAIT FOR BOTH THE STAR AND CHROME BALL TYPE LURES
Both lures are baited the same way with the STAR using slightly smaller sized baits. Place a pendant shaped strip of squid, mackerel belly or whitefish 2-3 inches long by 1/4 in. wide. Place one on each hook thru the wide section of the squid strip. Put the hook through the strip ONCE , skin side up. WHY? The strip won't roll back over the barb and stop the hook set. The CHROME BALL TYPE rigs DEMAND strips 3 X ¼ inches long and the BIGGEST mud minnow you can catch or buy.
<<<HINT>>><<<HINT>>><<<HINT>>> Mackerel fillets of the same lengths are much better. Why you ask? The Mack fillet holds its scent longer, holds its color longer, and it stays on the hook longer due to its toughness. Put the fillets in a bag s of 6 and refrigerate for easier handling. That will keep these fillets longer, better, tougher.
<<<HINT>>><<<HINT>>><<<HINT>>> If you can use live killies/mud minnow types , do so! Attach the killie by running the hook point directly UP from below and just behind the lips. Run the hook point out one side or the other of the killie's eyes. This makes the killie dart even more from side to side, ATTRACTING ALL PREDATORS and causing those DOORMAT FLUKE/STRIPERS/SEATROUT/REDFISH to go into an attacking mode!
In general, use chartreuse first, then white/pearl, followed by pink/red. Remember black/brown appears to be a jonah crab or baby sea robin..
Bottom Fishing Tips : Jigging
Joe Bielawski, Founder, Author, CEO
Deltona, Florida USA