If you find yourself in a situation where the bluefin tuna are on the bottom feeding at 100-200 feet it might be time to put away the bars and grab the heavy metal. Some things to keep in mind when vertical jigging:
- #1 Know your fish finder, then stare at it til your eyes bleed. Read the current and anticipate where the jig will fall in relation to where you picked up marks, this will require intimate knowledge of your sonar.
- Jig weights and shapes do matter. Some of the variables to consider are: speed of current, depth of feeding and size of the bait. The Point Jude Deep Force jigs, for example, come in both Standard and Slim versions. The “Slim” is intended to be used in fast current situations. The shape is designed to cut through the swifter currents and get to the bottom more efficiently.
- As opposed to casting to tuna, when jigging, it helps to have a fluorocarbon wind on leader 80-100lb at a length of at least 15′.
- Knots or crimps with 80-100 lb test leader is usually an anglers preference but it is advised to attach the leader to a heavy split ring then split ring to a closed ring with the assist hooks attached. The benefits of using the split ring system is strength, less inhibited jig action, ease of switching jigs and no loss of leader to retying knots. If taking this approach a reliable pair of split ring pliers will pay off. Literally.
- Rod and reel play a huge part in jigging and fighting stamina. Short fast rods and large high gear ratio reels will have a dramatic effect on your trip.
- Dont be lazy! Be ready at all times to drop and reel!
Captain Dom Petrarca from Coastal Charters has shared some valuable insight on what to do when the battle is on:
The hit and ensuing fight on the metal jigs can be quite different from what many expect. Often the fish comes straight to the surface, while shaking their heads pretty often in the first few seconds of the hook-up. It is extremely crucial for the angler to stay tight to the fish, with no pumping of the rod or any kind of crazy rod movement. This is counter-intuitive to many, and a dropped fish is quite common on the jig until the angler becomes more experienced with this increased difficulty to an already tough genre of fishing methods. If you think about the physics of it, the heavy jig is also working against the angler as gravity tries to drop it to the bottom, while the hook point is most often pointed up into the tuna’s upper jaw. The hook is being forced downward by this, increasing the need to keep the line taught to the assist cord, preventing the jig from increasing the likelihood of a pulled hook.
- Van Staal JIgging Rods
- Van Staal 275 Spinning Reels
- Shimano Stella SW 20000
- Point Jude Deep Force
- Point Jude Deep Force Slim
- Shimano Butterfly Jigs
- Split Ring Pliers
- Assist Hooks/Stinger Hooks
- Wind On Leaders
- Split Rings
- Chafe Gear
Jig ‘em up!