JIGGING FOR BLACKFISH
JIGGING FOR BLACKFISH
- Posted by Nick Honachefsky
- On December 19, 2018
I admit, I was a bit skeptical about this whole tog jigging phenomena that has taken the blackfishing world by storm.
To assuage my fears, I took a ride out with Christian Driscoll and a few friends on his 34 Regulator and we picked out a promising spot on the local reef site, setting up in 70 feet of water. Let me tell ya, from the moment the jigs hit the bottom to the time we pulled anchor, there was not one moment when there wasn’t a bent rod. When jigging for tog, here are a few pointers I’ve found.
First and foremost, it isn’t actually jigging really. You’re basically putting a leadhead down with a half green crab lanced on the hook, letting the jig to sit on the seafloor bottom, rolling around right in the strike zone of the tog. We used 2-ounce MagicTail tog jigs in black/orange and chartreuse and they got hit with reckless abandon. For ultimate hookset capability, crabs can be hooked with the shank going through the last back leg hole, then out the third leg hole up from there. As the jig is settled on the bottom, wait for the telltale tog taps, but instead of swinging like you do on a regular tog dropper rig after the first tap, get the feel for when the blackfish is chewing on the bait, as in a tap is good, but you’ll feel him actually teething the jig and that’s when you hit.
Or when you feel consistent immediate taps. The other key to success is to use lighter tackle gear. Medium heavy spinning rods are prime, I employed a 6-6-foot Shimano Terramar E66MH rod rated for 15 to 30-pound test and a Shimano Stradic 5000 reel spooled with 30-pound Power Pro with a 4 foot top shot of 40-pound TripleFish leader. And if you think that outfit couldn’t handle a true whitechinner, it was enough backbone to land two tog of 12.6 and 10.5 pounds on our day out. The writing on the wall for tog jigging that day was a full 5 man limit by 9 AM with 15 more throwback keepers. Conditions must be right for jigging, including little or no current, 3 foot or less seas and fairly clean water, but when it all lines up, count me in as convinced on tog jigging.