SPJ and other Japanese style jigging techniques in SoCal

Heartoak

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Walt I certainly appreciate your insight on this. It is a tough nut to crack in this region and finding the right combination is going to require more than one persons input and ideas.

My own observations are that finding the solutions here are not likely to come from trying to fish this technique on party boats. I really think it is going to take a different approach to boat positioning and reading the conditions than our live bait driven fleet will ever consider necessary. I guess what I am trying to say is that while some progress can be made under these circumstances I feel like any real breakthroughs will come on SPJ specific trips. IE private boaters.

For the time being I am happy to concentrate my efforts on the most likely targets such as rockfish and bass. I feel like I have plenty of room for improvement with these species and that I can learn a fair amount from targeting them. As time goes on and I get better at this I am confident that targeting open water species will become part of the action.

I am going to go ahead and mark my braid every 50' as you suggest as it will take some guessing out of the equation. And I have ordered some heavier gear that will allow me to go after homeguard YT with some confidence should the opportunity present itself. As for the BFT in our area I will leave that to the younger crowd.......
Thanks for your comments.
Jeff
 
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Proteus

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You are right,,, the Sea of Cortez is a bonified "Hot Spot" . Have have had serious success jigging for Yellow Tails fishing out of San Carlos, Mex. After a couple of trips there thought for sure the success could be duplicated on 1 to 2 day trips out of San Diego. My success here has been less then miserable .Jigging has worked very well for rock cods or any bottom dwellers for that matter, but In the last 3 years have only caught a total of 4 YT jigging. I bring my Jigging Gear on every trip and spend at least 2 hours at it. Normally in 1000 - 2000 ft. of water jigging from 80 down to 200 ft. how ever deep the pelagics are being marked. My only catch of note was a 110lb Blue Fin Tuna caught 190 ft. down at
9 p m. . Which compels me to highly reccomend metered line especially for open water jigging. IF going to the bottom on every drop its not necessary but when fishing the abyss you need to have objective information not an educated guess on your depth location. Yes the colors will fades but there is always noticeable change of color to gauge depth by. Would also suggest marking solid colored line every 50 ft. . anything to indicate depth accuracy when fishing open water.
My comments for your consideration .
Walt
Good to hear somethings working out for you and that my suspicions about that area ringing true.

I personally would not be trying to adapt this method of fishing towards pelagics, and would target the similar species that this technique is designed for like Huanchinango snapper and Cabrilla grouper.

I'm sure it works for many other species and fisheries but I think other methods might be more affective for taking pelagics. But that's just me, don't really care that much for YT, will only eat the collars.

Good U being innovative about it though, keep us posted on your adventures.
 
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Proteus

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My own observations are that finding the solutions here are not likely to come from trying to fish this technique on party boats. I really think it is going to take a different approach to boat positioning and reading the conditions than our live bait driven fleet will ever consider necessary. I guess what I am trying to say is that while some progress can be made under these circumstances I feel like any real breakthroughs will come on SPJ specific trips. IE private boaters.
While this may be the reality, all I can say is to have success on a party boat requires 2 main things:

- A good position on the bow
-Excellent underhand casting

I fished the side of the boat where the lines are drifting out/away from the boat and you don't get much vertical jig time per drop. The side where the lines are drifting under the boat works a little better if you underhand cast out and work the most out of your jig time per drop.

The bow is the best simply due to the room & space, better angle for underhand casts, and that most captains orient the vessel so it drifts forward.

That said, private boaters with always have the edge in this, with being able to move around easier, concentrate on our technique, and access the reef areas at will. Instead of waiting for the deckhand to untangle jiggers from folks dangling bait or shrimpflys.:shake:
 

yessokk

Luck favors the well prepared.
Sep 18, 2006
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Walt
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I have just started experimenting with some different hook arrangements. Here in SoCal the regs do not allow us to use more than two hooks when fishing for non pelagic species. Up until lately I have just been using a pair of assist rigged hooks on the lower eye of my jigs. I am going to experiment some with other arrangements to see if it makes a difference to lure action and hook up ratio.
So what have you guys been doing? What lures are more prone to being affected by different hook arrangements? I have a few 100 to 120g MajorCraft Jigpara lures that have real nice hang time that I thought I would experiment with.
I am not sure how much difference this will make or how to rate the results....but it is a start.
Jeff
The following relates to Yellow Tail but may apply as well to other species.

Saw an underwater video filming a Yellow Tail hitting a jig on retrieve. How it hit the jig was very educational. The YT swam up beside the jig with its head just in front of the jig and would very quickly jerk its head towards the jig to inhale it head first. My guide in Mexico claimed that all that was needed was a single assist hook attached to the top of the jig. For the 2 years that we fished San Carlos, using only the single assist hook, I think I only missed 2 Yellow Tail after the initial strike. Now that is a hook set up specific for YT. Have seen many jig caught fish hooked with the bottom assist hooks validating their effectiveness.
Walt
 
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benwah22

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Aug 16, 2016
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Benny Ortiz
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Whatever one I'm on.
Fish generally strike head first. If the jig is moving through the water towards the "head" of the jig on the retrieve, fish will strike there, if it's moving in the direction toward the "tail" of the jig, the fish will still think it's the head and strike there - hence top and bottom hooks.

Aggressive predators such as an AJ/YT (any jack really), can have a single hook fished on top while "speed" jigging or while looking to get a fish to hit on the retrieve. The jig is moving in one direction primarily. However, if you're fishing jigs that move on the fall, then at least one top and one bottom hook are probably a better option.

On this last trip they held so well that the fish failed before the hookset did. . . note this fish hit on the fall, while the jig was moving toward the tail end:


 

Heartoak

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I won't argue with what you have said as it certainly true a lot of the time. On the other hand I have had some success fishing near the stern
While this may be the reality, all I can say is to have success on a party boat requires 2 main things:

- A good position on the bow
-Excellent underhand casting

I fished the side of the boat where the lines are drifting out/away from the boat and you don't get much vertical jig time per drop. The side where the lines are drifting under the boat works a little better if you underhand cast out and work the most out of your jig time per drop.

The bow is the best simply due to the room & space, better angle for underhand casts, and that most captains orient the vessel so it drifts forward.

That said, private boaters with always have the edge in this, with being able to move around easier, concentrate on our technique, and access the reef areas at will. Instead of waiting for the deckhand to untangle jiggers from folks dangling bait or shrimpflys.:shake:
Yes I can see that.......but it sort of depends on how much current and drift and in a lot of cases the boat itself. On a couple of the party boats I have fished on I actually had much better results fishing aft a ways near the bait tank with the breeze in my face. Yes more people but no real bad tangles if I paid close attention to the lines around me.

For the most part what I have seen is that only a portion of these boats are ideally positioned for using this technique. And that portion of the boat is usually the stern. And I think we know what that is usually like.
Jeff
 

Heartoak

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Well it looks like I need to check out those Gamakatsu hooks.
Lately I have been using a pair of assist hooks on the top of most of my jigs. I have not been 100% sold on that arrangement though. Have had a fair number of misses on the sink.......And I definitely have a couple of jigs that fish better with a pair on the bottom.

What is funny because of our regs limiting us to two hooks I started fishing these jigs with a single assist hook on each end and then moved away from that arrangement. Sounds like I may need to revisit that strategy.

It is very helpful to get different perspectives on this subject. There really is a lot that goes in to making this sort of fishing productive.

Thanks, Jeff
 

Proteus

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I've switched all my jigs over to one top & one bottom and will be trying to keep a tally on what Rockfish, Lings & Cabezon hit the most. Will post my results after my next few trips.
 

yessokk

Luck favors the well prepared.
Sep 18, 2006
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Costa Mesa, Cailf
Name
Walt
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11 ft Sears W/Duel 5.2hp
Fish generally strike head first. If the jig is moving through the water towards the "head" of the jig on the retrieve, fish will strike there, if it's moving in the direction toward the "tail" of the jig, the fish will still think it's the head and strike there - hence top and bottom hooks.

Aggressive predators such as an AJ/YT (any jack really), can have a single hook fished on top while "speed" jigging or while looking to get a fish to hit on the retrieve. The jig is moving in one direction primarily. However, if you're fishing jigs that move on the fall, then at least one top and one bottom hook are probably a better option.

On this last trip they held so well that the fish failed before the hookset did. . . note this fish hit on the fall, while the jig was moving toward the tail end:



Outstanding analysis Mr. Benny. Never considered which direction the jig is moving
determining the attack preference of a fish. And the reasoning for only one top hook required for speed jigging Yellow Tail. Learned something today.
Thanks for sharing .
Walt
 
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Heartoak

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Got out yesterday. Conditions were mediocre.... drift was a bit fast.
I ended up using a 200g Gypsy jig in chartreuse with a single hook at the top and bottom. It got bit almost every drop despite the conditions. We were fishing in 225' to 260' feet of water. Mostly small stuff but on one drop it hooked what felt like a big ling. Definitely the biggest fish I have hooked with this light gear to date. I managed to work it up about halfway only to have it come unbuttoned on a hard lunge. Also managed to hook the biggest lizardfish I have ever seen. Very close to 2 feet long! o_O

I definitely like the way these gypsy jigs move. And judging from the amount of strikes I got so do the fish. I have a few and will most likely get some more. Almost all the strikes came on the fall with about half or slightly more taking the upper hook.

Jeff
 

Heartoak

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Benny;
If you see this maybe you can respond. Do the Gamakatsu 620 single assist hooks come in more than one length of assist cord?
I have some single assist hooks now that are 510's. In looking at the 620 it appears to be a different hook design as well as heavier wire.
I am looking to put together an assortment of single assist hooks to experiment with. A few different sizes of both of these hooks as a starting place. The sites I have looked at including Gamakatsu don't seem to have any info on the length of the assist cord.

Thanks, Jeff
 

benwah22

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They do not. I'm going to talk with them about potentially offering different lengths of assist cord - something like a S/M/L so that you can better pair with jigs of different lengths. The hooks themselves, however, are outstanding.
 

Heartoak

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Wow! Thank you for the quick response. It would probably be good if they offered at least a couple of lengths. That would at least allow for some fine tuning.

With the very light gear we have been using and I suppose the relatively shallow depths you can really feel the difference in fall time. A lot of these jigs behave very differently depending on hook arrangements. What I have noticed is that it isn't just about jig shape or weight. We generally have a running commentary on how often we get hit on the fall....and the fall time. At least here it seems like the jigs with the longer hang time seem to get struck better.

Thanks for your input.
Jeff
 

Heartoak

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I am in the process of putting together another SPJ set up. My new Tesoro 5NS showed up yesterday. What a sweet little reel. :D
Very compact, clean and dead nuts simple. I have it spooled with 425 yards of 30# J braid.
It is going on a rod that is rated for up to 350gr jigs and 18kg of dead lift. I think this is about as heavy as is needed here for the type of fish I am after.
It will be interesting to see how this set up compare to the other two I have. Looking forward to trying it out next week.
Jeff
 

Proteus

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Benny;
If you see this maybe you can respond. Do the Gamakatsu 620 single assist hooks come in more than one length of assist cord?
I have some single assist hooks now that are 510's. In looking at the 620 it appears to be a different hook design as well as heavier wire.
I am looking to put together an assortment of single assist hooks to experiment with. A few different sizes of both of these hooks as a starting place. The sites I have looked at including Gamakatsu don't seem to have any info on the length of the assist cord.

Thanks, Jeff
You can always tie your own, buy the same hooks and some microcord.
Make them any length you want.
 
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Heartoak

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Yes I have made a few of my own.......but mostly double assist hook set ups.
I have several different hooks that I have used. Some 510s and some by Mustad and others. I went ahead and ordered a few of the 620s to try as a comparison.
Last night when I was going through my gear I found that the 510 assist hook I used on the bottom of a gypsy jig had been dulled by contact with the rocks. Might explain why I lost a real good fish part way up. Yet another thing to keep a close eye on....... :-)

Jeff
 

Heartoak

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How much does using a jig that glows matter?
I have been going through my collection of SPJ jigs and wondering how much jigs that glow matter in relatively shallow water. By that I am talking about depths of 200' to 250'.

The last trip out I was using a Chartreuse glow Gypsy jig by Nomad. It was literally getting bit every drop so I never tried anything else. My buddy used a few different jigs including some that were pretty natural looking. He didn't seem to get bit as well using those. It has got me to thinking that what I was using was very high vis while he was using jigs that might not stand out as well. I am wondering if it is just a color thing? Or if the glow factor may enter into it?

One thing I have done is to doctor up some of my jigs with magic markers to increase the amount of contrast in the finish. As an example I had put some black markings on the chartreuse jig I was using. Not certain how much effect that has but the fish seemed like they were finding it pretty quickly......

As a side note the surface water clarity was very good that day. Of course that doesn't mean it was clear at the bottom.
Anybody else made this sort of observations?

Jeff
 

Julio353

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Aug 3, 2020
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Johnathon
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Parker 2320
Hello,

My name is Johnathon and I will be moving to San Diego in December. I’m in the navy, for a job, but fishing is the real reason I pick duty stations! I’m coming from Guam where slow pitch jigging is heavily used to catch a variety of fish from boats and kayaks. I owned a boat here and learned a ton from some very knowledgable people or just trying things out. I will have a Parker 2320 in San Diego and can’t wait to get on the water and apply these techniques.

I have a local shop that has access to some Japanese jigs, rods, and reels out here that are pretty sweet. I’m bringing 4-5 setups for different weights and depths. What is the deepest you guys jig to? We catch tuna and dogtooth anywhere from the surface to 1000’. Also do some deeper jigging 1300-2000’ for specific species and wanted to know more about this 450’ rule in Cali? Can I fish past that depth as long as I release all rockfish caught? I would use a deep water release device to insure the fish live. From what I’ve read on the rules, as long as I don’t have rockfish in the boat while in deeper water then it’s ok. What’s your guys thoughts on this rule?

Also want to meet some fishing buddies when I get there so let’s go fishing! Maybe we can create a slow pitch jigging group where we can meet up to discuss techniques and gear, Covid precautions of course!
 

Heartoak

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Hey Julio;
There is no need to fish that deep here. Most all of our fish are caught at less than 300'. We do have BFT though that generally hit at shallower depths but can take out a lot of line. Other than the BFT the only big game fish that one might target at extreme depths is Swordfish.
Contact me when you get here.
Jeff
 

Heartoak

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Had a really weird experience yesterday. It seems like I got pranked by a fish.
Set up on a rocky spot in 250' of water. Typical rockfish spot.
Dropped down and after a few minutes got a good hit. I reeled down on it and I am hooked up to something pretty heavy. I get it maybe 30' up off the bottom and the line goes slack. So I start retrieving and after maybe 25' it is on again. Ok weird but I will take it. I work it up aways and it does the same thing. This time I wind like mad and there it is again. Feels strange too. More like a tuna and it rakes a few hard runs. But goes slack 2 or 3 more times no matter how fast I retrieve. I finally get it up near the surface and catch a glimpse of silver and then it lunges and breaks me off. Takes a favorite lure too.
The whole thing left me shaking my head. What was it? Probably a really large bonita........but what was it doing a couple of feet off the bottom in a classic rockfish spot? I really feel like I got pranked by a fish.
Jeff
 

benwah22

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Aug 16, 2016
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Whatever one I'm on.
I've said it many times, jigging will reveal that fish live in places you didn't think they lived.

I've seen this happen with bonita and tuna, where they'll strike at or near the bottom but swim up on the lure. It'll cause the line to go slack until you reel like mad to get in contact with the fish again.

What likely happened in your situation is that tuna/bonita was swimming from some other predator, which caused the two or three slacks in the line, eventually breaking you off on the final run.
 

Heartoak

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I've said it many times, jigging will reveal that fish live in places you didn't think they lived.

I've seen this happen with bonita and tuna, where they'll strike at or near the bottom but swim up on the lure. It'll cause the line to go slack until you reel like mad to get in contact with the fish again.

What likely happened in your situation is that tuna/bonita was swimming from some other predator, which caused the two or three slacks in the line, eventually breaking you off on the final run.
Benny;
Yep. That is exactly what seemed to happen. o_O
Definitely caught me off guard. Couldn't have been more than 2' above the rocks when it hit. And while I was tying on a new assist hook to rig back up my buddy snagged bottom and lost another lure......
And lost a few of my new 620s in short order. Expensive hobby.
Jeff
 

Heartoak

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What are you guys using for a topshot? After getting broke off I went back to the topshot I was using to look for nicks etc.... It looks fine but it seems like it may not have very good knot strength. I usually use Seagar Blue label but this time I tied on their Premier 25# and I think it is either bad or just does not give as good knot strength as the Blue label material. Blue label feels like it is harder and my knots are good. I tied 3 with the Premier last night and two broke fairly easily.
Jeff
 

benwah22

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Whatever one I'm on.
AFTCO Saiko Pro 50lb.

Prior to using the AFTCO leader I exclusively used Sunline FC100 in 50lb.

Sunline makes AFTCO's fluoro.

25lb is entirely too light for almost every SPJ application.
 

Heartoak

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I was thinking that 25# was just about right for the lighter gear we are using and species we are targeting. Maybe my thought process on this is flawed? Are there other advantages to stiffer and heavier leader material that I am overlooking?

For the most part the fish we are after are under 20# and the drags on the reels are set well below that number. I suppose part of my thoughts on this is that a lighter leader might help us stay vertical? But I could have this all wrong. Wouldn't be the first time. :-)
Jeff