Thursday, January 10, 2019

Trying Out Super Light Shore Jigging (SSJ)

After a series of tragedies that struck the family, I am trying hard to go back to normalcy. Losing my father, brother, and mother within 18 months is something that I am still trying to cope with. Going back to fishing and blogging, I figured, may help.

One of the new things I have tried recently is called Super Light Shore Jigging or SSJ. The technique is called 'super light' because it primarily involves micro jigs weighing round 7-20 grams. During the past year, micro jigs have grown in popularity. Micro jigging (on a boat) has been an 'in'-thing and a lot of anglers are hoarding gears, lures, and accessories. With the right spot, it is really effective. The technique catches multi species from top to bottom of the water column. Because not everyone has a boat, anglers adopted the technique and applied it while fishing from the shore. Just the same, with the right conditions, it is very effective.


As the title suggests, it's still shore jigging.  It involves the use of a long rod, around 8-9.5 feet that is very light, has regular-slow tip, and has a great backbone. The rod actually can double as an eging rod which is a plus. If there are no fish biting, you can target squid.

In the past, there were not much choices on rods with the required specs (~9.5 ft, max 30g lure, PE 0.6-1.0 line) but just recently, there are more and more rods with the SSJ classification. I think Majorcraft was one of the first big tackle companies to release technique specific (SSJ) rods - Crostage, TripleCross, and N-one.  I think the best one is N-one. It's very light, nice blank (Toray Nano blank), and full Fuji KR SIC guides. I am using the N-One 902SSJ and I have nothing but praises for this rod so far.


You can also use a seabass rod and there a ton of sea bass rods available in the market. Just be aware that sea bass rods are more brittle compared to shore jigging rods as they contain more graphite than glass especially on the tip section. Casting and jigging a 20g jig may break you rod.

I am using a Daiwa Certate Custom 2500 reel loaded with PE 1.5 Duel X4 (I also use the reel for boat jigging and eging). Ideally, try to use around PE 0.8 or 1.0. I decided to use X4 because it seems to fray less compared to the 8-weave (X8) braids. X4 PE also appears to be dry most of the time. It doesn't retain water very much which makes it a better casting PE. The leader I use is Flourocarbon ranging from 15-20lbs depending on what's biting. 20lbs for toothy critters and 15 for others.



For the kinds of jigs to use, it depends on the profile and size of the baitfish in the area. If there are plenty of small mullets or tamban that are around 2-3 inches, use a jig with the same profile and color. Just don't go over the specs of the rod. If the rod says 10-30g, try to keep it to 20g max. There are also 2 kinds of jigs that I use -- the regular fast jig and the slow jigs. Similar to boat jigging, fast jigs require faster jigging action whilst slow jigs is same as slow jigging technique.

Assist hooks are also very important. Because this technique can catch really big fish despite the size of the lure, you will need a high quality assist hook. I normally tie my own. I use Size 12 Chinu hooks (I prefer gold color) and a high quality assist cord  from 100-200lbs - Kevlar is nice. It floats and doesn't retain water. This keeps the assist hook from tangling with the jig. It also makes it swim more lifelike. There are a ton of Youtube videos on how to tie one. I am no expert but as much as I can, I try to keep the length of the cord not more than half of the length of the jig. It seems to make the jig swim more realistic. You may also use a treble tail hook but for me, it's not necessary and it will make the jig prone to snagging.

Depending on the spot, I normally try slow micro jigs first then if there are no takers, I would try faster, active jigs to trigger reaction strikes. If you wish to try this technique, check the youtube videos. Who knows, it could be your ticket to your next monster fish on light tackle.

Hope this short article helps. Fish on.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Back in black


Back in black
I hit the sack
I've been too long 
I'm glad to be back
Yes, I'm let loose
From the noose
That's kept me hanging about
I've been looking at the sky'
Cause it's gettin' me high

-AC/DC


The past 8 months have been difficult for me and my family. I lost my father last May and a few months later, our family suffered another tragic loss when my brother died from a heart attack. I had to divide my time between travelling to our home town and taking care of my bed-ridden mother, taking care of my brother's papers and properties, taking care of my parents' properties and other responsibilities, taking care of my team in the office, and taking care of my kids and wife. 


I was left with very little to no time for hobbies and blogging. 

I am optimistic that this is just a temporary setback and I am pretty sure things will improve and soon I will will be able to go back into fishing, kayaking, and blogging. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Reviving a dead legend of a reel - the 2006 Shimano Curado D

I don't hate Shimano reels. As a matter of fact, I love Shimano's classic reels that made their name in fishing -- Stellas, Conquests, and the older Curados. One of these Curados is the Curado 100/101D. The old legend for American bass anglers.



I got this reel from another angler-Shimano-fan. He had this reel stored for god knows how long. The reel doesn't have a handle, a clicker assembly, the main gear is stripped, the oscillating gear and idler gear are torn to bits and pieces, the bearings are rusted, and there were missing springs and etc. The spool doesn't have a VBS (Variable Brake System) assembly. The thumb rest (face plate) is also cracked and torn. Basically, a junker that's ready to be thrown out. I think he gave it to me as a challenge to see if I can give it a new life.

Curado 101D Schematic
Curado 101D Schematic

The problem with a 10-year-old-under-$200-reel from Shimano is that parts are really hard to come by. This is specially true for American-market reels. If you check US-based reel parts supplier's sites, you will normally see "Discontinued" labels on important reel parts. To find replacements, you have to really dig deeper and go through different articles, blog posts, and online forum discussions to know what parts can be used as alternatives.

For the handle assembly, I posted an ad in an FB fishing buy-and-sell page. Luckily, Edmar Chua, one of the nicest anglers around sent me one for free complete with the awesome Septon paddles and bearings. Some of the parts like all the springs, idler and oscillating gear, clicker assembly, I ordered from Plat.com. They are parts for the Shimano Scorpion 1001. If you look at the Curado 101D, it is basically the same reel as a Scorpion 1001. The only difference is the color and the internals. The latter has better parts which explains why it is more expensive. If I recall it correctly, Scorpions sells for over $200 when they first came out.

The old Curado 101D has aluminum main gears, which explains why it stripped. I have read a lot of posts about the reel's gears stripping after a few years. I also found out that you can replace the gear with a brass gear from Chronarch. The Chronarch part # is BNT1514. It is no longer available from any part seller but you can get this from eBay. I then added a new set of Carbontex drag washers which was originally from a Curado E. It was a bit big so I had to trim it using a Dremel. After that, I splashed it with some Cal's drag grease and it was ready to go.


I have some old bearings from stock Shimano reels -- the Japan versions, and to be honest, they are way better than the Malaysian versions. They are smooth and spin like crazy. When buying reels, I always prefer Japanese-made reels. You can be assured that the internals are of high quality. I have nothing against reels made from other countries. I just believe that I get the best bang for the buck if I get the components that are going to last.

One of the main challenges that I encountered with this reel is the VBS assembly. It is not available for sale by itself--- you have to buy the entire Spool with brakes if ever you find one. That makes the reel so expensive. It's like buying a great condition Scorpion 1001. After much digging, I found Avail's microcast spools and they have this 4-pin brake assembly for Scorpions. When I asked the seller, they say it does not fit the old Curado D or Scorpion 1001 spools. It's only for the newer reels like Curado E and Scorpion XT and it will only fit Microcast spools. Their advise is to buy the spool and the brake assembly. Unfortunately, the spool is more expensive than a brand new reel so buying one is out of the question.


Not believing what they said, I did some more research and found Chinese knock-offs from Aliexpress. I saw a post from Tackletour which mentioned it. It's called Ray's Studio DIY Brakes or something like that.



Not really a fan of Chinese online shops because it is always a hit-or-miss when I buy stuff from them. But because the brake assembly will cost me around P300 only, I decided to give it a try. To my surprise, it fits perfectly. The stock brake blocks from another Shimano reel that I got from another angler was a perfect fit.




After installing everything, I tested the reel and I am convinced that it could be one of the best casting reels I have tried so far. Almost at par with my custom color TDZ. I think the DIY brake assembly for Microcast spools works perfectly with a stock spool. The spools spins really fast and the DIY brake assembly creates a very subtle braking during cast. You just need to have a trained thumb to slow the spool. The brass gear and the Japanese bearings made the reel very smooth and very powerful. Perfect for heavy cover fishing. I paired it with my Scorpion EV casting rod which I also customized. I intend to have this combo as loaner rod and reel when needed. Total cost to revive the reel, around P800.