Gulf Coast Fisherman Magazine Vol 39 No. 1 - Page 33

The Jig is Up (Continued from page 7.) To which the helmsman replies: “Hang on!” That’s the only warning you’ll get before he hits the throttle and dashes away from the rig. Separating a hooked fish – cobia or amberjack – from his fortress is really your only hope of boating your opponent, so keep the motors running and make sure everyone knows what to expect. Diamond Jigs: On the rigs, as well as wrecks, reefs, rock piles, breaks and springs, you’ll also find enthusiastic response to diamond jigs. They boast light-reflecting angled sides and dangling treble or single hooks to snare any takers. Brands such as Bead Tackle, Fin Strike and Williamson offer effective models to tempt a host of predators with darting presentations intended to mimic wounded baitfish. Bead also makes a diamond jig with a glow finish for greater appeal in deeper water where sunlight is less impactful. Blade Jigs: A different slant on the diamond jig tactic, blade style jigs like the Shimano Butterfly jig, Offshore Angler Freestyle or Knife Jig and Pelagic Warrior’s Viking Squid jig feature slim bodies with one or two hook harnesses attached via the loop at the head end. (Some models also include a bottom look for an optional stinger.) In either case, the streamlined form is ideal for ultra-erratic action that makes the bait zip up and down through the water column. Throttle down a bit and a lift and drop action results in the irresistible fluttering look that mimics a vulnerable baitfish. Specialized jigging rods that marry extreme flexibility with fish-whipping backbone are what you need for the blade models. For this technique, Capt. Jesse Mayer, of St. Petersburg, FL, said the fast-paced presentation is usually most productive, but he advises against unnecessary overexertion. “You don’t want to work your rod so hard that you tire yourself out,” he said. “Hold your elbow on your jigging arm against your ribs to keep your arm close and just make short upward jigging motions like you’re doing curls with a dumbbell.” (Tip: try sweetening those dangling hooks with cuts of sardine.) Similar blade designs with only aftdangling hooks include the 4-ounce Hopkins No=EQL Spoon, the Williamson Vortex and Gomoku and the Offshore Angler Sling Jig. The Salt Life Salty Blade Jig offers a hybrid design with a single harness rigged hook at the head and a second hook dangling from the rear. The latter sports a flash skirt for added appeal, while the body profile includes fins the enhance the darting movement for vertical presentations and keep the bait tracking well for trolling or cast and retrieve options. Keep it Compact Now, the majority of offshore jigging activity is going to require baits of at least 3-4 ounces and often double that. However, there is a specific application for jigs of an ounce or less – chum slick snapper. Yellowtail and mangrove are the most common targets and the whole plan relies on getting these wary fish to rise from whatever bottom fortress they inhabit to the surface. The only way you’re going to do that is to convince them there’s a meal to be had. Florida’s Capt. Dan Hayes won’t make an offshore stop without a frozen chum block melting in a mesh bag. However, for his surface snapper efforts, he’s a big fan of glass minnows. Hayes buys these tiny silver shards in large frozen blocks, thaws a chunk in a 5-gallon bucket and dribbles a few at a time off his stern. Complementing the scented appeal of a melting chum bloc