Try a jig or two for blackfish this fall.
Jigging blackfish is a very popular and effective method for catching these toothy bottom dwellers. It also is a load of fun and really shows off their bulldog tenacity. Dropping a jig baited with a green or Asian crab to a rocky bottom populated with blackfish is high on my list of favorite fishing methods. A lot of the time, using a jig for blackfish means lighter tackle as well and using this type of gear for tog can be loads of fun.
There are many jigs on the market designed for this type of fishing. Brands like Tsunami Tog Treats, S&S White Chin Wrecker, Joe Baggs Lay Perfect Jig and Skyline tackle to name a few All have quality jigs that I’ve used myself. The one thing I always look for is a strong hook. This is a must with blackfish! These fish are powerful fighters and they will destroy a cheap hook. I’ve seen cases of hooks snapping that were not up for the task.
Colors available are endless, with red, yellow, green, tan and orange and combinations of all. I happen to like all red or green mixed with red or orange. I know of fishermen who use plain unpainted jigs with good results, so it’s a personal choice when it comes to color. But I truly feel that a hi-vis color will pique the interest of a tog from the moment a jig hits the bottom at times.
The shapes and weights of these jigs are also varied. Some are lima bean shaped, while others have a more triangular, boxy shape to them. Then there are the banana shaped ones, and some that are more flattened or pancake style. I think that the different shapes give a specific presentation of their own. The flattened style will sit on the bottom horizontally while the triangular or wedge shaped will sit with the hook up higher. Your selection should be based on the bottom terrain you are fishing. In areas of shallower water and smaller rocks and rubble, my choice is the narrow lima bean shape. I find that they are far easier to work around the rocks and get out of a snag because of the narrow profile. In deeper large boulder field areas you can employ the other shapes with less worry of getting wedged in between rocks.
When selecting the weight, try to use the lightest jig that you can get away with. This will give you the best presentation and also the best feel for what is going on .Remember they are eating the crab and not the jig and if you can feel them chewing it will increase your success. I have used weights as small as 1/4 ounce and up to 2 ounces depending on depth and current. With the real light jigs, the use of a spinning rod with lighter action is the way to go. Getting the jig down to the bottom with the resistance of the crab bait is only a matter raising and lowering the rod with an open bail and watching the line at the water and seeing when it stops sinking. Once you establish how many arm raises it takes to hit bottom you are set for the next drop. When the bite is hot you want to get down there as soon as you can.
Lastly, most of the jigs available on the market come with very sharp hooks, and you need to keep them that way to ensure the best hookup ratio. So I would suggest keeping a hook sharpener or stone handy to touch up the points. The blackfish live in very unforgiving terrain, rife with jagged rocks and mussel beds that will easily dull a hook. You want the odds in your favor when that big bulldog takes off!