Knots & Rigs
Deepwater jigging for tough species like kingfish and samsons is hard work but a helluva lot of fun, especially with the new tackle and rigs now available.
ONE of the biggest booms in rec fishing in recent years has been the pursuit of offshore sportfish such as yellowtail kingfish and samson fish with specialised jigging tackle. The past decade has seen significant developments in tackle and techniques for this most demanding style of fishing. Super strong specialist jigging reels and rods as well as high quality jigs and terminals allow anglers to target XOS kings and monster sambos that were previously pretty much unstoppable on lightweight casting or jigging outfits.
Technological advances have made this exciting fishery possible. The arrival of GSP lines more than a decade ago allowed anglers to work jigs in depths and currents that were previously impossible with monofilament lines. These super low stretch wonder lines that provide tremendous strength for a relatively small line diameter opened up the possibilities for fishing untold numbers of deepwater locations that had never seen a jig previously.
The other key component to the deepwater jigging puzzle is the incredible technological advances in deepwater colour fish finders and GPS units. Anglers now have the means to find and then store the locations of these new deepwater hotspots and a range of fantastic tackle to exploit them.
I’ve had the good fortune to have spent plenty of time in recent years witnessing the evolution of the offshore jigging scene with my good mate Scott Thorrington of Haven Charters (0419 440 869). Scotty, who’s based at Terrigal on the NSW Central Coast, has been at the forefront of developments in offshore jigging and does a lot of field testing of new tackle and jigs for leading tackle companies. These days he’s fully booked virtually year-round with clients either chasing billfish or jigging kings from his new charter vessel so he really knows what works in the world of deepwater jigging and what doesn’t.
The style of jigging tackle used really comes down to personal preference, although I must say that the majority of keen jiggers I’ve shared a boat with in recent years have used threadline outfits, although there are still plenty of guys using overhead jigging outfits, particularly in noted big fish locations. I’ve been field testing a Fin-Nor Marquesa MA16 overhead jigging reel over the past 12 months and am rapt with its performance and how user friendly it is. However, I would definitely recommend that any anglers who want to get into this style of fishing get hold of a pair of jigging gloves to protect your hands and fingers from GSP cuts and when handling fish.
A lightweight rod bucket is also handy when you’re into any hot bite situation. This style of fishing is definitely labour intensive so any accessories that can help ease the burden are a godsend when it’s a jig mania situation and the fish are on the chew.
As far as GSP main lines go when deepwater jigging it’s definitely an advantage to use one of the colour marked lines such as Rovex Depth Finder Braid. This line is color marked with 10m lengths in blue, orange, green, red and purple. This allows an angler to know how much line is out and to keep a jig in the strike zone once the depth the fish are holding has been ascertained.
Colour marked lines are definitely a major advantage as the novelty of jigging in depths where there are no fish wears off quickly, I can assure you.
The first rigging step in situations where the tackle is being pushed to the limits is always to double the main line using a recommended double knot such as a Bimini twist. I prefer to use between 50 and 70 turns in my Biminis for deepwater jigging with 30, 50 or 80lb GSP braid. I also always finish the knot off with a Rizzuto finish.
Deepwater jigging is a fast and furious style of fishing and for that reason I favour wind-on leaders when jigging as it allows me to get back into the game quickly when a hot bite is happening. I simply tie a Bimini twist in my main line and connect a Rovex 100lb Wind-On Leader utilising a cat’s-paw connection. I’ve enjoyed good results using both the hard monofilament and fluorocarbon leaders, although the fluoro leaders may have an edge in hard-fished locations.
I like to use a reliable hard connection such as a Uni-Knot when connecting my heavy leader to a jig. The Uni-Knot is one of the few connections that can be successfully tied in heavy leader material. I usually tie direct to the lure, although many anglers will tie their heavy leader to a solid ring, which is connected to the lure via a heavy-duty split ring. This preference generally relates to the manner in which the angler connects the assist hook to the jig. As is usually the way I prefer the simpler approach and connect my assist hook direct to the lure. However, many anglers feel they get better results connecting the assist hook to a solid ring.
See the illo opposite by Fisho’s Chris Palatsides for details on how to tie this simple yet effective rig.
If you would like to learn more about this most exciting style of fishing go to the Fishing World website at fishingworld.com.au for a series of informative instructional jigging videos by some of Australia’s leading anglers. Be warned though, that while this addictive style of fishing is great fun, it’s also bloody hard yakka!