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OFFSHORE JIGGING PLASTICS

By Robbie Wells

It's amazing how this recreation or sport called fishing keeps changing as new forms of tackle evolve and so does the fishing equipment we use to get the full benefit from what is presented to our fishy friends below the surface. The latest is our metal world of jig crazy... from knife jigs to butterfly style jigs, down to the ever popular smaller brothers the micro jigs. As micro jigging gets more popular, so do the other older styles of deeper water jigging with metals and the modern trailer boat also allows us such a large scope.

Speciality rods have developed that are shorter in length, with longer butts and parabolic curves that keep bending past the reel seat, PE 1-3 is the norm. Don't get me wrong, I love this style of fishing, but sometimes I think we forget how we used to do it or the technique that we used to catch fish prior to evolution of these new styles. The humble chrome slug has come a long way and the thinking fisherman can also adapt or crossover other styles and techniques to make things more successful on any given day.

For me its plastics. They are just so versatile and definitely appeal to a wider variety of species. I love chasing AJs, kingfish, cobia and Spanish on them and like to fish that 35 to 70 metre range in depth. Another good reason I chase these species is that they often frequent the areas that I like to fish, whether it be the local artificial reef, wreck or deeper water ledge and they are great fun, fight dirty, test your terminal tackle and pull heaps of string.

As with any fishing you have to fish where the fish are and the availability of bait for the predators is paramount when targeting them. Wrecks and artificial reefs normally have good populations of bait and in turn attract the above mentioned predators. Of course every area is different and may work better on certain tides, lunar activity, time of the day and season. A good starting point is an early morning tide change and a good sounder is also an advantage in separating the bait from the fish and perhaps identifying what species lurks below.

Personally, most of my success has been using the ZMan 5" StreakZ and ZMan 7" Scented Jerk ShadZ in Pearl, Coconut Ice Glow, Opening Night and Motor Oil colours, rigged with a TT Lures 5/0 - 7/0 HeadlockZ HD jighead. Weight will be dependent on current and depth, however don't be scared to fish a little heavier so that you have direct contact with your plastic. It will also track better and not spin through the water column on the retrieve.

My normal approach, once the bait and a potential show are located, is to free spool the plastic down to the target depth, slowing it down a little with my finger slightly on the spool. Watch for any increase in speed as there's a good chance that if fish are in the area you could get hit on the drop, the same as you would jigging metal. Otherwise, wait until the plastic gets to the bottom and then you can do the traditional pump and wind or even the 3, 6, 9, 12 wind, lifting the rod every quarter turn of the reel in a lively fashion, micro jig style. For me I like two or three fast jigs off the bottom, a fast burn to halfway up, jig again and then fast burn to the surface. This works a treat for AJs, cobia, etc. If there a few Spanish mackerel or spotties around and you are getting bite offs, a couple of jigs and a fast burn to the surface will normally stop this, or alternatively a small section of tieable wire can be added but can reduce the number of bites.

We always try and run different coloured plastics on our first drops as it is good to see if there are any preferences or patterns on the day. It is really important to ensure that your plastic is on the jighead dead straight and as mentioned earlier, go a bit heavier so that when winding fast on the retrieve the plastic doesn't spin. TT HeadlockZ jigheads are a must as the grub keeper locks the plastic where it should be. There's nothing worse than wasting a drop, especially in the deeper water, from a lack of attention to detail.

Another game changer is the addition of a Rev Head HD jighead and I run the ones with a Willow nickel (silver) or gold blade attached. I prefer the gold, but that bit of spinning bling can really turn on a bite, especially in high traffic or pressured wrecks or artificial reefs. I fish this slightly slower on the retrieve, with a mix of fast burns and stop starts, along with a few violent rips of the rod tip thrown in. It might sound funny... but perhaps anything that they haven't seen before. Fish aren't silly and in pressured areas the same technique used by all can make for a dull quiet day.

So next time you're out jigging or micro jigging some metal at your local have that plastic ready to drop and likewise if you're just rattling plastics have a Vector Jig rod ready to roll. Like all fishing, if you mix it up, think back or out of the square from the norm, your bad days can become good days.

How Goods Australia

Robbie Wells

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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2017