First sponsored trip of the year heading out next week. One week from today, I’ll be aboard the Pacific Queen for a day and half trip sponsored by 187 Jigs. A lot of folks have been asking me what I plan to bring. I thought it was a pretty easy question based on how it’s gone the last several years. This last Sunday though, the New Lo-An returned from a trip down the Mexican coast. The count they posted was 67 yellowtail, 48 whitefish, and 115 vermilion rockfish for 23 anglers. Not bad, right? Their Facebook post of the trip added a little more color. They rockfished in the morning, then went offshore in the afternoon and got their yellows off a kelp. No pictures.
That changes things a little.
This is what I plan to take now…
A rod rated say 40-60, but not too stiff (H is good, but not XH). I like fishing braid to a short topshot to help the lure get down quicker, but if you’re fishing mostly braid, you want to have a little give. The thinking being that when your jig gets picked up, you set the hook, but not rip it right out of their mouth. For the reel, I already mentioned the braid. You want something with a faster gear ratio…close to 6:1 if not faster. The traditional thinking is that yo-yo yellows like it fast. If you are fishing a slower reel (like for example my Tranx 500 PG, 4.6:1), you need to really grind to get it going. For me, it’s easier to slow down a fast reel, than speed up a slow reel. My setup is a Seeker 6470H, with a Shimano Torium 30HGA, that’s maybe 3/4 full of 80lb braid. The reel’s gear ratio is a healthy 6.2:1, with a 46 inch retrieve per crank…plenty fast to get the jig moving quickly if that’s what they want. I tip it with about 4 feet of plain 40 or 50 mono (depending on grade of fish, how deep, and presence or not of structure). The typical jigs are Salas 6x or 7x heavy, Tady 4/0, Jr sizes of these jigs, and of course our sponsor 187 Jigs has the equivalent size jigs. Mint/white, blue/white and scrambled egg are the traditional yellowtail colors.
Traditional Rockfishing Rig
For me, I want to feel the fish fight, so a rod maybe 20-40 class with a Medium rating. The gear ratio doesn’t matter here, but I do like fishing braid because the sensitivity allows you to feel those bites in deep water. I like using a reel with a line guide because that’s one less thing to think about. My setup for this is my Tranx 500PG. I’ll tie the braid to a swivel, with mono on the other side for my dropper loop(s) and weight.
30# Bait Setup
Now here is where I’m going to deviate from the traditional plan. Usually, I’d go with a 40# setup with the application being a dropper loop yellowtail rig if they don’t want to bite the jig (or I’m too lazy to yo-yo anymore). Given that NLA trip got their yellows off a kelp though, I’m thinking I want to have a little flexibility to be able to use this setup for flylining a bait. Make sure to put on some fresh mono topshot, and have at least 20 and 30# fluoro with you.
That’s it. Come join us next week. Good luck if you get out there!