Japanese jigging. Mechanical jigging
Japanese jigging, butterfly jigging and jigging are terms used to describe a contemporary technique for fishing with long metal jigs, in a rhythmic action. The action goes something like this: drop the rod tip and wind the reel one revolution, lift the rod tip and repeat at speed, through the fish active water column. Sounds awkward but with practice it becomes a natural fluid action. Mechanical jigging is very effective, often out-fishing traditional speed jigging, mainly because the lure is kept longer in the fish zone and a more frenzied lure action produces more bites.
Rods used are short, non-traditional parabolic high modulus graphite rods, which are very strong with huge lifting power and the parabolic action imparts some fluidity to the jig. These rods are generally not parabolic in the original sense but, with great hoop strength and thick walls, they are capable of handling heavy braid and massive drag pressures. Know this: not all rods are created equal. There are some real back-breaking shockers out there.Most good rods are factory-tested so if you break one, warranty claims may on deaf ears because it may have been used outside the manufacturer’s specifications.Rods are given a PE rating, which is the braid-breaking strain: PE-8 is 80lb, PE-5 is 50lb generally. Rods also have a rating for recommended lure weight, maximum reel drag setting and maximum angle at which the highest drag setting can be applied to not point-load the rod. Some popular rods are Smiths, Jigging master, Shimano blue rose, Xzoga, Daiwa Monster Mesh,Catalina and Power jig Terminator rods.
The reel specs are as follows: braid capable, ideally narrow, low speed – between 4 and 5:1 for heavy braid PE 5 -8 (that’s 50 to 80lb, but usually breaks at 100 to 150lb crazy ratings but that’s the world of braid) and up to 6:1 ratio for lighter braid is fine.Popular reel brands include Daiwa Saltist, Daiwa Saltiga, Shimano Ocea Jigger, Shimano Trinidad, Accurate Reels. There are also some exotics like Blue Heaven and Pro Gear. Factory drags are often up-rated with carbontex kits but be warned: this can void a warranty. However, you will find that these reels can take it when market handles (like the Power jig T-bar and Accurate round knobs) are fitted, making it more comfortable and less abrasive than a rubber handle. Spin or overhead? In New Zealand, we’re about 80/20 in favour of overhead. Daiwa Saltiga Expedition 6500, Shimano Stella SW 20000, 10000, 8000 are the pick of the bunch and will handle PE 5-8 braid and all low speed so you can get a crank on decent fish. Metal jigs, long jigs, knife jigs, 7 gram to 700 gram , centre, tail- and head-weighted, all shapes and sizes – there is a huge variety of jigs, from designer to cheap. But you do get what you pay for. Good jigs don’t bend so much, the paint and prism film doesn’t lift and the wire that sticks out the end goes right through the jig. A kevlar cord, via a solid ring that is, in turn, attached to the jig by a strong split ring, usually connects the hook. Hooks need to be super-sharp and strong to ensure good penetration and holding power. Reliable brands include Zest Jigs, Powerjig, River 2 Sea, Daiwa. Hook Choice, Fisherman, Owner SJ41 and Sj51 Monster, Decoy cutlas, and Mustad Hoodlum.
Here at Go Fish we are mechanical jigging specialists. We built the gear, we understand modern tackle and techniques and we are always happy to discuss trends and tackle. So it’s time to go out to the shed, put the old gear up for sale and invest in some modern mechanical jigging tackle. We’re not only talking heavy gear. There is also great light 20-30lb tackle available that’s effective on yellowtail (kingfish) bass, haupuka, trumpeter, haupuka, tuna, and many other fish and that will keep you smiling and enjoying your sport fishing for years to come. This is fishing today.
Gofish Tackle Co is an Auckland fishing store that has been following and developing all the tackle and gear required to suit New Zealand conditions. We are always happy to discuss tackle trends and development.
Tips to catch more snapper
Here are some easy, time-tested methods:
Use light line. It’s simple: fish can’t see it. “But wont they bite me off?” No. The line slips between their teeth. If it’s good quality line that’s not an issue. You are more likely to get bitten off using heavy trace. I have landed snapper up to 30lb on 12lb line with no trace hook - simply tied to the end with a spider hitch double tied in the 12lb line. You’ll hook more fish, get more bites and land more fish.
Hold your reel in freespool, with your thumb on the spool. This keeps you in touch with the fish right from the beginning. If they are finicky you will feel more bites. Run ‘em or smack ‘em? With snapper you either have to let them run a bit or smack them straight away to set the hook. Generally, all the fish in the school will behave in the same way so once you have sorted out how they are biting you will hook more fish. The same can be said for bait choice: if your buddy is catching them on a hot bait get some of his.
Chemical hooks make a huge difference to hook-up rates. Owner, Vmc, Gamakatsu and Mustad make some very good hooks. Maintenance: check the point of your hook and make sure its not bent or dull. Check your knots and trace. Take an extra minute when tying that knot – there is nothing worse than getting back a pigtail on your line with no hook or fish.
Soft Bait fishing New Zealand.
Historically, New Zealand snapper fishing involved mostly natural bait, heavy sinkers and monofilament lines. Drop the anchor and drop the bait. Then came softbaits, jerkshads, swimming mullet and minnow — all terms that, a few years ago, were the reserve of American bass anglers. But the advent of braid (dynema) line has given the angler the ability to get a small jighead (lead-weighted hook) to the sea bed with, for example, a 5 inch softbait, a method that perfectly suits our conditions.
The soft bait looks like a fish, swims like a fish and has scented attractants that encourage fish to keep biting. Snapper, once thought to be scavengers, we now know are predatory — striking and actually pursuing softbaits, which is one of the reasons why soft baits are so effective. Anglers using this method report catching larger fish and in places they had never caught fish previously.
Most soft bait fishing is done on the drift.
Cast to where the boat is drifting (generally over structure or rises that hold fish, over the Waitemata worm beds early season or in work-ups of baitfish with snapper feeding underneath).
Find the sea bed with the lure, keep the slack out of the line and give the lure a slight twitch as you slowly retrieve the line as the boat drifts towards the lure.
Fish often take on the drop so an overhead reel, although not widely used, is better suited for this style of fishing.
Most use a small spinning reel with a capacity of 150m of braid, usually top shot with braid and with a monofilament backing; a 7 foot rod that’s not to stiff but with some lift in the butt section; for leader about 1.5 to 2 meters of fluorocarbon trace of 15-20lb breaking strain (fluorocarbon has good abrasion resistance and low visibility).
Go FISH has the widest and most technical range of softbait tackle in New Zealand, and we are always happy with tuition in tackle and techniques www.gofish.co.nz