Smith On Surface Jig Fishing
Shogun relief skipper Bruce Smith loves to fish the iron for yellowtail, and sometimes for tuna and other game species. Here are some of his latest thoughts on that aspect of long range fishing, as posted on the shogun’s web site:
Spectra’s Not Always Best
We had more great action on the good quality yellowtail today. Most of these are in the 18 to 22 pound range with the occasional 25 to 35-pounder in the mix.
Everything (standard yellowtail fare) was working today flylined sardines: 3/4 oz. sliding sinker, yo-yo heavy jigs and Surface Iron. The Neapolitan 7Xs were issuing ice cream headaches, ouch, and the Mambas have a poison treble bite. Ha.
I should re-phrase the "today" comments for the fact that we were basically done with our yellowtail counts by 11:30 this morning. We sat and had lunch on the anchor then pulled it and started to head up the line. The weather has not come down and as we climb in latitude we are bucking and rolling around.
There always seem to be a small contingent of core surface iron fishers on each trip and this one being no different. Some of the guys are fishing mono, some are trying out the spectra with a short top shot of fluoro or mono, and then there is the spectra-to-wire set-up. What is good to see is that passengers are realizing that you don't have to have the old school 10-foot rods to have the same amount of fun. If you are more comfortable with a nine or eight foot jig rod then go with that. Seeker SS 6480, Cal-Star GG 900M or 900H work great, don't feel that you have to learn how to throw 300 feet with a 10 or 11 foot antique to be able to get bit with the surface iron. In the last couple of days many yellowtail, including that monster 50 pounder, bit within 75 feet of the boat and I guarantee that everyone of those fish raised the blood pressure of the angler retrieving the jig and the angler next to him, "Wow, did you see that fish eat my jig!!"
Some thoughts on color. Salas 7X are king down here, hands down. If you come down here you should have some in your box. Does the color matter? Yes and no. The color truly matters to me when I go and tie on a jig, bright colors, a shiny or different paint job gives me more confidence when I throw it out there. Are there more important concerns other than color, of course, if your jig doesn't swim, get rid of it. But, when it comes down to what I tie on at the beginning of the trip, an old stand-by with no paint left on it or a bright new Green Mamba(which to me is the hottest color out this year with it's iridescent and segmented paint scheme) I go with the Green Mamba or this trip a Neapolitan was the only jig wired to the spectra. Both of these jig colors caught fish over the last three days, but the fish were biting. There are definite times when you notice that one color out fishes another, usually it seems to go between lights and darks or maybe something in the middle like green/yellow or scrambled egg. My stance on all of this is go out to your local tackle shop, spend nine dollars and buy yourself the hottest newest color out there and you will be glad you did. It will give you a piece of mind, confidence, and that is the most important lure, jig, surface iron in my box. As far as those Neapolitans go, well good luck trying to find them, they are probably a limited run, but if you are lucky and find one, then keep it in hands they will be a collectors item.
Spectra to wire. This rig is my number one choice for fishing the surface iron. It's fun, hard hitting, casts well, impact and chafe resistant, kelp resistant, but it's not always the best rig to fish with. In the two years that I have been using this rig almost exclusively I have come across four times that I felt that the yellows didn't bite the spectra to wire, remember that's four times in two years of fishing on a long range boat for yellowtail. The most humbling experience didn't come on the deck of the Shogun but handed to me by Buzz on the Prowler. He kicked my butt at the local islands while using mono to wire, so it told me it's not the wire. On this day as soon as I switched to a short (four feet) fluoro leader I started to get bit. Go figure. The next instance is barracuda fishing. The barries eat the spectra to wire with relish, they don't have a problem with it, what the problem is that you can't get the darn things to the boat. Once hooked the barracuda shakes its head while being reeled in and they come off. This was the most apparent during the last Monterey Bay collection trip, in the morning I hooked 10 barracuda and landed one. That afternoon I had to try something different and spooled up with straight 40-pound mono, tied to the 7X Jr. fixed single hook. I landed 9 out of 10. That was an eye opener. Sometimes it's good to use mono.
Captains Norman Kagawa and Bruce Smith
(619) 226-8030 - Fisherman’s Landing