Monday, May 6, 2019

Fast and deep jigging

I tried a new spot recently. I also tested a new rod and reel combo -- an Ocea Jigger 2001NRPG mounted on a Daiwa Catalina Airportable 59HB with 500m of PE3.
This was the first time I have seen the area. To be honest, it was scary travelling at night by myself and testing a new boatman. I was not expecting to catch anything considering it was my first and I am still getting used to speed jigging with a new setup. I didn't know how skilled the boatman was and how capable is the boat.

As soon as I arrived, we spared no time to load up and head out to the fishing spot. I tied a 200g pink speed jig with a single Vanfook 7/0 jigging hook. I tied the assist hook using a doubled-up 200lb Hinotsu assist cord. It was really deep. From my count, it was somewhere around 170-190 meters deep. The current was not that strong and with the boatman paddling against the current, the jig went vertical upon reaching the bottom. On the second drop, the line went limp at 120 meters. I knew instantly that something took the jig on the drop. I cranked the reel in panic and set the hook twice. It was a good hookup. I thought it was small, somewhere around 2-4kg becasuse when I cranked the OJ2001NRPG, it seemed light and offered no resistance.  Perhaps the fish realized that it was being dragged to the surface, it made furious runs back to the bottom. I probably lost 50m of line on the first run. It was an absolute thrill. Everytime I was able to crank a few meters of line, the fish will take it back. The fight lasted around 15 minutes. It was no match for the setup I was using. The biggest fish I have caught through jigging. 12kg Amberjack.

Later in the day, the wind started to pick up and the current kicked in. IT was hard for the boatman to keep up. Aside from a hookup that I lost, there were no more bites that day so we called it a day -- around 3 hours of fishing. It's a good thing I caught the AJ otherwise I will go home pissed.

The Daiwa Catalina Airportable 59HB was very light and very powerful. If given a choice between this and my Daiwa Saltiga Coastal 60B, I would choose this for so many reasons. It is 2pc which makes it easier to transport, it is lighter, the butt is longer, and it seemed more suited for dual duty -- speed jigs and slow jigs.

I was also impressed with the Ocea Jigger 2001NR PG. I used to own 2 OJ 2001NR HG and both of the reels have this annoying back play in the crank such that I ended up selling them after a couple of use. Somehow this new PG reel doesn't have a play which is a huge relief. It was powerful and smooth, almost as smooth as my Saltiga Z20L.

I can't wait for my next jigging trip. I hope to catch a dogtooth tuna.

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.