Gulf Coast Fisherman Magazine Vol 40 - No. 4 FALL 2016 - Page 9

by Patrick Lemire Rod & Reelin’ The Diamond Jig T he diamond jig is a versatile standby that’s been around for decades. Of the many imposters in the tackle industry, they are one of the most adaptable. Their flash and baitfish shape along with strike-triggering vibration has a look and sensory signal that calls predators in. I started using Diamond Jigs in 1991 at the suggestion of Captain Johnny Williams while fishing for blackfin tuna on the party boat Texsun II. My hookup and catch rate went up dramatically over the normal use of cigar minnows. Soon after, they were commonplace on these overnight trips out of Galveston. Listen to the captains, they have info you can use. Just as a matter of history, the first ones used had “cut eye” treble hooks on them and they occasionally broke at the eye. After a few of those breakoffs, by others and myself, I came up with a solution which eliminated the problem. The original treble hooks were replaced with similar sized, 3 X strong 7794-B Mustads attached to the Diamond Jig body with a size 8 Rosco split ring. In 1995 I did a piece on the mods with an illustration. A year or so later, coincidently, the Bead Company started making their Diamond Jig with this hook/ split ring combination. It was, and still is, called Diamond Jig-For-Rigs by Atom. I guess the solution was also obvious to others. Many times the Atom Jigs are referred to as “chrome”. Actually, they have a nickel finish that’s more durable and has greater flash than diamond or similar jigs by other manufacturer’s chrome finishes. Those “others” out there include those by Marathon, Ahi, and Shur Strike, they come in an assortment of colors and finishes including chrome, hammered and glow. They all have a split ring attached treble hook, and 4 and 6 ounce sizes are those most widely used. Speaking of used, getting them ready simply requires tying on your mono main line or leader. Wire leaders of 10 to 12 inches are a good choice when targeting toothy species such as kingfish or wahoo. The majority of the use I’ve seen and done with diamond jigs has been in fishing for blackfin and yellowfin tuna. Sizes on these two, in particular, range from small to say seventy pounds or so. 7’ casting or spin tackle capable of putting up 20 to 25 pounds of drag and having a capacity of 300 yards of 65 to 80 pound braid will do the job. When tuna fishing at night, the norm is to cast to the outer edge of the light from the boat or platform and let the diamond jig sink, either vertically in freespool, or a reel in gear, arc sink. Tuna on the edge of the darkness and below can sense the jigs vibrations through their lateral line, see its silhouette or flash and home in on the target Any tick, slack, or anything out of the normal requires a quick reel tightening of any slack and a hard hook setting rod sweep. You can bet that you’re not on the bottom as this overnight tuna fishing is generally done in thousands of feet of water. Any slack is probably a tuna trying to eat your diamond jig. It’s likely in a tuna’s mouth and its swimming toward you, a second or less and the tuna could spit the diamond jig. Wind tight and hang on for a strong run. While casting to the edge of the light was mentioned, vertical jigging from 50 to 400 feet is where many tuna are hooked. Speaking of hooked, helping a tuna to see your diamond jig comes with a couple of things to do. Keep your jig’s finish clean; wipe them off occasionally to retain all of its reflectability or glow. Glow finishes can be activated by holding them next to one of the powerful, overhead tuna lights, with a LED flashlight, or quicker and brighter, with an ultraviolet flashlight. These UV lights are available at hardware and computer stores. And, they are worth their ten dollars and up. Once at depth, or anytime while on the sink, you can start a strike inducing retrieve which could be straight up or back as fast as you can wind or with big or small rod upsweeps, stops and drops. As with any lure fishing, it’s a matter of finding what the tuna want. If your retrieve isn’t working, watch and ask those who are having success. Of the assorted anglers I’ve been at the rail with over the past 26 years, my experience is that the vast majority are willing to share their knowledge. Ask questions, I do. Offshore fishing is a constant learning experience. While tuna have been the species mentioned to this point, others from near the surface to deep bottom, will try to eat a diamond jig. I have caught, or seen others catch kingfish, grouper, amberjack, snapper, ling and dolphin on diamond jigs. If it eats live fish, it will eat a diamond jig, believe it. About five years ago, just before sunset while on our first drift at a deepwater platform, a guy had a hit, hookup and big run. It was a blue marlin estimated at 400 pounds, it jumped once and pulled the hook! Now that’s versatility and luck. Other lures have their history, reputations, and followers, like the spoon, but the diamond jig is a hard to beat piece of fishing history with their successful hookups and gaffings. Fish with a flash, get your Diamond Jigs by Atom, in particular, tied on and hooked GCF up! OCTOBER • NOVEMBER • DECEMBER 2 0 1 6 9