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Winter Jigging

Grouper season has closed, and we have shifted focus from working the bottom to jigging the entire water column.  This requires lightening up on the gear to be able jig longer, with less effort.

Trolling small feathers and finding birds working in 400-500’ of water is a good way to locate black fin tuna, especially on overcast days.  The black fin can be targeted with much lighter jigging outfits working 100 gram jigs rapidly through the top 100-200’ feet of the water column.  Black fin routinely hit the jig on the drop.  Wahoo are always a possibility when fishing these depths.  We are working to establish a pattern to be able to successfully target wahoo, as opposed to just being a phenomenal incidental catch.  We have been sharing wire and cable rigging techniques for use with the jigs.

Jacks are another target; both almaco and amber.  A common scenario is to find these fish hanging 200-250’ down over structure in 320’ or more of water.  This is where color coded metered braid comes in handy.  200-250 gram jigs are commonly used in this scenario, but if conditions allow to go lighter, do it.  Almacos and AJs seem to respond well to the long slim style of jigs worked quickly and rhythmically through the ‘zone’.

Kingfish, found shallower, can provide hot action but are notorious jig stealers.  King cut offs frequently occur on drop, with the kingfish striking the leader just above the jig as it descends.  Wire can help alleviate the problem, don’t forget wire assist hooks as well.  A hot king bite is a great time to break out the old beat up jigs from your bag, or those collecting dust.  Fish hooked on the upstroke have a much better chance of being landed.

A variety of other species are also commonly encountered this time of year.

Modifying strategies to fish around the grouper closure  provides a great opportunity to keep jigging fresh, and target different species.

Interested in our Vertical Jigging Specialty Trip?  Call the office to learn more, and make your reservation on the next scheduled trip.

Written by GregS aka SeaGreen