Is the bucktail jig the most flexible and effective lure ever created? Lots of experienced saltwater fishermen would say so. A bucktail can be fished in a number of ways in differing conditions, from shore along with from boat. It can mimic a variety of prey items, including baitfish, squid and shrimp. And, it will catch a wide range of fish. Here in southern New England, I have actually landed striped bass, bluefish, hickory shad, false albacore, fluke, scup, black sea bass, sea robins and white perch using bucktail jigs. I doubt other lure can boast such a hit parade of success.
As a testimony to the bucktail jig’s effectiveness, consider this truth. Back in The second world war, the U.S. Navy loaded a bucktail jig and handline into survival kits for sailors and pilots to catch fish in an emergency situation. To this day, the jig and handline is used as survival devices by Navy Seals. Has other lure ever gotten such a respectable endorsement?
Bucktail Jig Styles and Sizes
The major bucktail jig fisherman brings a toolbox of jig sizes and styles that will cover a number of fishing situations and imitate a range of victim products. Larger bucktail jigs weighing 1 to 3 ounces work well in deep water and fast-moving currents. These big jigs are terrific impersonators of squid, a favored prey item of stripers and blues. I particularly like the “Smilin’ Costs” design when utilizing large jigs. Smaller sized jigs from 1/4- ounce to 1 ounce are excellent to use in shallow water, and they imitate different types of little baitfish such as bay anchovies and peanut bunker. When using jigs in this size range, I have the tendency to favor the flathead or “Upperman” design. Finally, I like to bring a lot of what I call micro jigs. These are typically 1/8-ounce round-head jigs to be used on light take on. They mimic actually little things, such as yard shrimp and tiny baitfish. They are extremely effective in peaceful backwaters and estuaries for smaller sized predators such as schoolie stripers, little blues, hickory shad and white perch.
There is one more important element to your bucktail jig toolbox, and these are what I call “enticers.” They are very important to use, as they are like the icing on the cake on the planet of bucktail jig fishing. While the deer hair on a bucktail jig undulates and moves alluringly on the obtain, you can double the action and efficiency of your offering by including an enticer. These trailers are threaded onto the jig’s hook. A popular type of enticer is a plastic grub tail. I especially like the grub tails on the small jigs under 1 ounce. I prefer Bass Pro “triple ripple” tails in a white color and carry bags of them that variety from 1 to 4 inches in length. The 1-ounce jigs take the larger tails, and the inch-long tails work well with the micro jigs. For my big jigs over an ounce, I typically use pork rind enticers or soft-plastic stickbaits, such as the Hogy 6-inch skinny model.
Fishing With Bucktail Jigs According to Locations and Structure
There is no better location to use a jig than in deep, moving water. There are numerous examples of this kind of place in New England. We have the breachways of Rhode Island, the Cape Cod Canal, and many inlets and river mouths from the Cape up to Maine. Large predators set up along the bottom in these circulations, and a large hotlips-style bucktail jig weighing more than an ounce is just the ticket to obtain down where the fish prowl in await a meal to come their method. In these circumstances where the water relocations, cast cross-current and let the jig settle to the bottom. After you cast, feather the line with your forefinger as it comes off the reel’s spindle till you feel a temporary slack in the line, letting you understand the jig has actually struck bottom. At that point, begin an extremely sluggish obtain by merely pulling the rod pointer upwards to get a bounce on the jig. Keep bouncing the jig up until the line straightens in the moving current. As soon as that takes place, the jig has risen off the bottom and is out of the strike zone. Obtain your offering, cast and repeat the procedure. If you are in a boat and drifting in deep water, lower the jig and bounce the rod pointer as you move. You might wish to sometimes let line out of the reel to make sure you are still on the bottom. I’ve taken numerous keeper bass in both daylight and nighttime using these techniques.
A couple of years back, I fulfilled my boy Chris at the Galilee Channel in Narragansett, Rhode Island to try our luck at fishing big jigs. It was daytime, not a particularly good time to fish this spot, and the tide was coming in, which is not the best tidal stage either. But, Chris was in-between classes at URI and this seemed to be the only time to obtain out this day. After some ideas on how to fish the jig along here, he tossed it cross-current, let it sink, and began to do the “bucktail bounce.” Within a couple of casts, I saw his rod in a strained arch, and he was having a hard time to manage a big fish that was tearing off line. After a tug-of-war battle in some quick waters, we soon had a good-sized striped bass onto the rocks, his first huge one on a bucktail jig in this spot. If we can get fish that size on the wrong tide and the incorrect time of the day, you can just picture what occurs in the evening on the outgoing tides.
Bucktail jigs also work well in shallow, rocky areas, particularly in a white-water surf. This kind of surface can be discovered the whole time the New England shoreline in places like the Newport surf, the Narragansett shoreline, along the North Coast of Massachusetts and into southern Maine. In white-water conditions with an onshore wind, small baitfish are normally owned close to shore. These conditions are ideal for the float and jig. I will use a wood egg float and attach about 3 feet of heavy monofilament onto one end of the float and a small jig (a 1/2- ounce flathead readies) at the terminal end. The advantage of the float in this scenario is twofold. It produces an excellent casting weight into the wind and it keeps the jig above the snags. After casting, merely recover gradually as the wind-driven surf, waves and present will impart the action. For those fishing from a boat, you can cast and retrieve as you do from coast. You may likewise simply wander this offering with rod in a holder. This float fishing method is lethal when little bait such as bay anchovies and peanut bunker are around and the predators are picky.
How to Use a Bucktail Jig
Among my best trips utilizing the float and jig happened at Point Judith, Rhode Island, in a stiff northeast wind that was blowing right into my face. This was a day where a 15- to 20-yard cast was an achievement. Nevertheless, most fish appeared to be right at my feet at the high tide. One cast after another with the float and jig produced schoolie after schoolie. However, I suddenly hooked up with a big wheel that started tearing line from my Van Staal reel and it had my St. Croix Mojo surf rod bent in half. I figured it was a huge striper upwards of 25 pounds, nevertheless when I got it near to shore, I discovered it had blue sides instead of stripes. It wasa big blue, at least in the low teenagers. As luck would have it, the small jig was hardly stayed with its lip far from its sharp teeth. It would end up being the biggest blue I would catch that season.
The Float & Jig Rig
This is a terrific way to cast a little jig a great distance. The hook of the jig is placed on the metal peg during the cast, and it launches when it hits the water. Because the jig is attached to the float, you can escape using a longer leader– as much as 6 or 7 feet. A slow retrieve is all that’s required, as wave and current action will keep the jig moving. This rig is also be used with small flies, which can be very efficient on finnicky fish like bonito and false albacore.
There are lot of times when I will choose simply a little jig of 1/4-ounce to 1 ounce with no float. Usually calmer conditions or a wind at my back determine this use. In most cases I am using the flathead jig with a 3- or 4-inch curly tail as an enticer. I will generally fish this along reasonably deep rocky shores or sandy beaches. Jigs in this size variety are excellent copy cats of small baitfish such as bay anchovies or peanut bunker that we find around in the fall. When fishing with only the jig at the end of your line, you want to reel it in gradually with a periodic bounce of the rod pointer. That sets up a fast up-and-down darting movement to your offering that predators seem to take pleasure in assaulting.
One of the best examples of this type of fishing took place two falls ago along the rocky coasts of Narragansett, Rhode Island. I was fishing with my third boy, Ben. The baitfish, bay anchovies, were stacked up against rocks along Danger Avenue and looked like a ribbon of black in the water. Fish were whirling and slackly slurping up all the bait they wanted, so they was difficult to trick. Those anglers utilizing large plugs could capture absolutely nothing. So, we started to fish little, 1/4-ounce flathead jigs under the schools of bait. This small jig was the ideal size and had the motion (with the 3-inch curly tails) to lure the fish into hitting. Ben and I began to catch one fish after another, however rarely were two fish in a row the exact same species. We ended up catching blues, stripers, as well as some large scup. It was a perfect example of the jig’s effectiveness for several species of fish.
Playing it truly light is another method to fish the bucktail jig. I like to strike the peaceful, backwater estuaries utilizing 1/8-ounce micro jigs. These small jigs are especially reliable at capturing little schoolies and hickory shad in the backwater spots along Rhode Island’s south coast. In order to cast these light offerings, you will need to use very light tackle. In my truck, I keep a small twig of a rod, a freshwater 5-footer that is more suited for trout. It sports a little reel with just 4-pound-test line. It’s a very light setup, however it works well for fish under 24 inches.
A couple of years back, I got a major shock late in the season when fishing one of the backwater ponds with this setup. I was really fishing for hickory shad. I figured I would finish the night off there prior to heading home, and I was hoping to capture a few shad using a white, 1/8-ounce round-head bucktail jig that had a 1-inch curly tail. It was late in the year, simply prior to Thanksgiving, yet there were still a few shad around as I saw a fish whirling along the surface area. I really caught a couple of. Then, I had a hit and hooked a fish that tore line from the reel as it bolted along the bottom. I might only hope the 4-pound-test would hold. This was no shad. I understood I had a striper, and a good one at that. The fish showed to be over 30 inches and would be my last keeper of that year along the seaside.
There are various makers of bucktail jigs in an array of styles and sizes. Still, numerous fishermen prefer to make their own bucktail jigs, homemade developments that use a sense of personal achievement when you catch a fish on a lure you made. Some, like myself, go through the entire procedure of pouring lead into molds, painting, and connecting on bucktail. Others buy the blanks and simply paint and connect.
Classic bucktail jigs might be an “traditional” offering, however do not be tricked into thinking that today’s plastic lures can take their location. There are many molded-plastic jigs on deal with shop racks, and some realistic-looking soft-plastic baits that can be threaded onto jigheads, that can most definitely compete with bucktail jigs as effective fish catchers in many fishing scenarios. Yet the bucktail jig remains a special lure deserving of several spots in your lure bag for a number of factors.
One factor is that the bucktail jig is much more long lasting than a lot of soft-plastic jigs. They can stand up to the bite of bluefish, although you may need to replace your-soft-plastic trailer. These toothy critters will eventually damage the hair on your bucktail jig after a few fish, however you can just take it home and retie. Likewise, the bucktail jig has a special method of hugging the bottom in deep, moving water. Plastics tend to be more buoyant than a bucktail jig, and they have the tendency to ride up in an existing, making it tough to keep contact with the bottom. This is why the bucktail jig is the more effective lure in a deep water channel or outflow when the fish are holding near the bottom.
Bucktail jigs are tried and true lures that remain one of the most reliable fish catchers you can snap or tie onto your line. They can be fished in a number of methods differing areas from shore and boat, and they will capture just about anything that swims in the ocean. For these factors, fall is prime-time television to fish the bucktail jig. During the fall run, schools of bass and bluefish mix together and patterns and conditions are constantly altering due to the fact that these fish are on the move. Therefore, if you wish to be gotten ready for whatever chances the fall run provides, it pays to have a couple of versatile bucktail jigs as part of your toolbox of artificials.