Jigging For Tuna - rod, reel, and jig recommendations
I am in the process of buying tuna jigging tackle this winter so I can learn about it and then begin offering that style of fishing on my trips. I've had some clients bring their own jigging stuff in the past and catch BFT up to 150 lb on them last winter, but I have not yet bought my own stuff or spent any time trying to become proficient at it myself.
I am looking for recommendations on rods, reels, and jigs that will be able to handle bluefin and bigeye tuna up to about 350 lb without breaking the rod or reel, but still be useful for blackfin, yft, AJs, etc.
I am a Shimano man so I'm looking at the new Talica II 2-speed jigging reels, the new Trevala F XXH rods, and Butterfly jigs. Does anyone have any experience with these specific rods and reels? I'm assuming that since the rod is rated for up to 200 lb PowerPro that they will be able to take the 40+ lb of drag that the new Talica II reels offer without breaking. Is there a jigging rod out there that is stronger and better suited for tuna?
For jigs, I'm interested in knowing what sizes and colors have worked best for folks on BFT, YFT, balckfin, AJs, etc.
Please let me know any other important tips/recommendations like split ring pliers, leader types, hook rigs and sizes, avoiding sharks, preventing lost tackle, recommended PowerPro line test, etc.
If anyone is running a an OBX tuna jigging trip in the near future and has room for me I'd like to ride along and see how you do everything.
Bill, if you're into the jigging thing and have sorted through all this stuff on your own already, please give me a call with your thoughts.
I've emailed Kilsong and asked him to contact me with tackle recommendations, as his posts on various sites indicate he's skilled in tuna jigging.
Thanks for your help, and I hope everyone's 2011 is awesome.
I dont know about what kind of reels you would use but I can suggest a rod. The penn Torque 120 class jig rod. The torque rods are unbelieveeably strong and can take on pretty much everything. SO far weve used ours to catch snowy grouper, red drum, cobia, sharks, amberjack and striper. Ill suggest te penn torque reel as well, since its a match to the rod. As far as reels go check out the Torium too.
As far as boats to learn from, If TAT-TUNA still ran id say get on his boat. That man knows how to jig some tuna. Other than that Matador and Jake Hiles knows is stuff too. He usually brings is boat down to hatteras for the late winter early spring run.
Last edited by Gotta Gaff 'Em; 01-08-2011 at 01:13 PM.
Reason: new thoughts
For my jigging outfit, I went with a custom made, American tackle 500g jigging rod, spirel wrapped, 5' 8", split grips, titanium guides....... I matched the rod with an Avet HX 5/2 and 80lb Diawa colored Boat Braid....... This set up has served me well so far going from jigging Backfin's, Aj's, Bluefin up to 200-225lb, couple 7' sharks(while Blackfin fishing) as well as deep dropping to 850' for Goldens...... When choosing a reel, I wanted one with Drag, Line Capacity, Light Weight, and HARNESS LUGS...... This reel fit the bill. One thing to keep in mind: My reel has a max drag of around 28lbs...... When you are hooked into a 200lb Bluefin tuna, you cant fight that fish continuously with 28lbs of drag applied, it feel slike you are gonna go over the side of the boat, when that fish is making runs.... I have no idea what 40lbs of drag will do for you unless you are strapped into a chair. One thing I thought strange about the Avet the 1st time I used it was it has no anti-reverse bearing, so if you dont thumb the spool while jigging, you will hear/feel an anoying thump, thump, thump, everytime you jig. However, thunbing the spool becomes natural in no time, and after seeing 3 other anglers, anti-reverse bearing fail while jigging Blackfin(you jig these things super fast), I'm glad I have the Avet.
The rod that I use may sound a bit much for Blackfins, but having a custom built allowed me to place the real seat where there is perfect balance, and I last just as long, jigging next to other anglers using tackle that appears much lighter, and, having the 500g rod allows me to land those big sharks that eat the AJ's and Blackfin, where the Torium/Trevala set-ups couldn't muster those big sharks.
I also LOVE the spirel wrapped guides....... The line pulls straight down on the guides and puts no side-ways torque on the reel.
As far as jigs: Have a variety...... I was 1st buying mostly Shimano Flat-Sided Butterfy jigs, and having great success(most all there colors catch), but foung that the fish can change jig preference on the same day........ a few times, found the fish wanting the Flat-side jigs in the 1st half of the day, then prefering the longer knife style jigs, like the Williamson Jigs toward s the later part of the day..... Get some variety of sizes and colors....... Pink/chome, Blue/chrome always seem to do well, as well as some of the blue mackeral and green macheral patterns. Jerk-That-Jig make some nice jigs but I dont like the hooks or the solid rings.....The rings look more like a washer with sharp edges. Buy the Owner Solid and Split rings.
I have started tying my own swinger hookes using 300lb hollow dacron...... pretty simple to do, and I make them up in varying lenths so that I can customize the hook set-up based on the lenth jig that I am using......... Also, have some super strong treble hooks in your jigging arsenal, and dont be afraid of hanging one of the bottom of your jig, if your getting bit but not hooking up....... the treble will take away some of the jig action, but if thats what you need to do it to stick a fish, do it.
Last edited by smellslikefish; 01-08-2011 at 01:52 PM.
Things to consider
Are you sure you want to make that purchase? It is a very addictive and expensive habit.
A couple of things:
1) Check out the reel weight , some of the reels being sold for jigging are heavy and will wear you out after a couple of drops. The weight issue also applies when considering a rod.
2) Think about getting a spinner setup too, since most handles (spinner/conventional)are opposing you can switch rods and jigging/lifting arm during the day. It will make for a longer day, allowing more drops.
3) Think lower gear ratio for jigging (4.3-5.0), Yellowfin,Bluefin and Grouper like it slower. Blackfin, AJ's and Wahoo love the speedier retrieve.
4) I have Shimano,Penn and Daiwa jigging reels and have found my Shimano stuff to have had the fewest problems.
5) When considering drag ratings, Shimano rates their reels at near empty spool.
1) Since jigging rods are rated per the jig weight, you'll need more than one if you plan on fishing midwater and bottom species. Think gram per foot of drop as a rule of thumb. There are alot of affordable 300gram rods that can land 200+ plus Bluefin, you don't have to go with a 400-500 gram rod for them. Remember rod action will dictate jig action on the metal jigs.
2) I have a couple of trevala's, they are a decent rod but load up too quickly on larger fish. Could be a problem if you need to move a stubborn fish.
3) If you don't want to start with a custom rod, my opinion would be go with a OTI. I have 4 of them, they have a lifetime warranty and are great blanks with good hardware. Tackle Direct has the OTI G3 on closeout for $179.
1) It's no different than any other type of fishing, "match the hatch".
2) My most common producers by color (not in order), Pink, Blue, White and Menhaden color.
3) Shimano, OTI, Hots, FCL, Williamson and Eastern Tackle all make a good jig. I've heard good things about other manufacturers, but can't give an opinion as I've never used them.
2) Think different gram weight for depth of drop.
That should give you a little more to process when making your decision. But you better be careful or before you know it you'll be starting a thread asking about popping tuna. Good luck on your search.
First, Shimano F series rods are not good with weak backbone.
Much depends on how sporting you want it to be but anything less than the best stuff will be exposed. Shimano Stellas are popular and can also used for popping. I personally prefer Saltigas but they will be pushed to their limit on 200+ lb fish. Tiagra 16s are great for fighting but they are not suitable for jigging. I have heard great things about Talicas. This year, we
will mainly use Stella 20000s and a Torsa 40.
We broke thee OTIs last year. I would go with 500g or better.
As far as jigs, my favorite is Benthos.
Not worth the money for charters IMO. Some guys spend close to $1500 on one outfit and sometimes they even break.
I like the Accurate reels with marked braid(65-80). You dont need fancy lures to cacth them. Some of the pros up in the NE us hammered diamond jigs for their bluefin. Have a variety and I dont fish heavy lures unless Im on the bottom in deeeeeep water.
Here is a great knot to use for braid to flouro
Good jigging site
FWIW...I had a custom 1 built using this Mudhole Vertical Jigging Kit and the best thing about it is u can get it done however u wish. I had it done w/a split grip, spiral wrapped, abalone inlays and matching wraps to a blue Avet HX 5/2. Fortunately my wifes cousin is a custom builder and did it 4 me 4 free. I also have 1 done using a Calstar Grafighter blank that was considerably more $ but is sweet as well. I used it on Bills boat last year (HIT N RUN) and it did fine. Lets just hope they show again this year...
Send a Bmail to Canyon Runner and see what they use. If I remember correctly they caught BFT up to 600lbs last year jigging, so what they are using is obviously working. I am pretty sure that they are using Penn 16 VSX reels on their own custom rods, but they can give you a better idea.
Charley, you might need more than one setup. One for really heavy stuff like big tuna and other for small to medium sized fish. Heavy rods and two speed reels are heavy and clumsy. Plus they don't help you produce the right kind of action.
I have hooked a 200 lb BFT on a Tiagra 16 with full harness on it and I could bring the fish to the boat in 15 min. Lower gear really helps when they go deep. But, Saltiga 40's are a lot more fun to use as they are much lighter and smoother. I have two Tiagra 16's but I won't bring them out unless BFT are thick.
As others have mentioned, OTIs are pretty good. 400g model is great for everything but they will break if you push the drag over 20-22lb. They have been good about replacing them for free but it is a bit of hassle. Anyway, all graphite rods will break so it is a good insurance to have. I have upgraded some of them to new Fathom Blade 500gs but I only tested them on sharks. I can't say I am impressed with them though.
As for lines, we used Daiwa Den 80lb lines last year but we were outgunned. So, we have upgraded some reels to JB hollow spectra 100lb. Also, connections are very important and we do loop to loop to 130lb jinkai mono with jinkai LI crimps. We used to use flouro but they are too springy and fish don't seem to care too much. Still, yozuri pink flouro are great, if want strong ones for jigging.
Thanks guys. I have been covered up with info on here, bmail, phone calls, and emails, and it's all pointing toward heavier stuff if I want to catch BFT over 200 lb with charters. Kilsong is recommending the Black Hole 450g rod which he says he has used for a 107" 773 lb BFT in under an hour. So far everyone is saying good things about the Talica and Stella reels.