Gulf Coast Fisherman Magazine Vol 39 No. 1 - Page 7

by David A. Brown OFFSHORE The Jig is Up W hat’s up is down and what’s down is up – and somewhere in between, we hopefully find a fish or two. That’s basically the deal with offshore jigging – you use a heavy object fitted with a hook to traverse the water column with a little more flash and/or dazzle than a hook-and-weight and tempt fish into biting. Potential targets run the gamut from pelagic to bottomhuggers, but the common Gulf jigging targets are amberjack, cobia, snapper (reds and mangrove) and a variety of grouper including gag, black, red, scamp, snowy and kitty Mitchell. The occasional tuna, kingfish or wahoo might intercept a jig in deep water, but that’s a tale for another time. On a past trip out of his Indian Rocks Beach port on Florida’s Central Gulf Coast, Capt. Ryan Wagner showed how effective jigging can be on several of his hard bottom sites. On this trip, we were trying out some new models of Tsunami’s new Facet Jig – a compact head design with a swivel-rigged VMC hook dressed with glowing silicone tentacles presents an intriguing profile. At times, such aesthetics and flexibility will earn you a bite from finicky fish, but even a plain Jane, not-so-fancy jig design can get the job done. Reason – this family of lures brings some key benefits to the table. Minimizes Intrusion: Unlike the usual sinker-swivel-leaderhook package that grouper see on a regular basis, a jig’s streamlined body is less intrusive. Wagner said this is often what it takes to turn a tough bite into chewing grouper. “There are days when the fish are really aggressive and they want to chase something. On those days, live bait may be better. But a lot of days, the fish are less aggressive and you just drop the jig down, it makes a little puff in the sand and the grouper come over and suck it up. There are plenty of days when a jig will out-fish live baits or dead baits.” Imitates Local Forage: