The Shimano Tiger Baku Baku jigs are an all-new release to burst onto the Aussie reef lure scene of late, and catches of snapper and many other species are already rolling in around the country on these Japanese designed kabura jigs that are taking no prisoners!
Kabura jigs, also termed sliding jigs, are a deadly slow jig type comprised of a detachable system of dual hooks, skirt and head that tightly piece together to form what is essentially an octopus/squid profile. The soft skirt provides the movement and conceals the assist hooks, and are a focal point for attack, while the rock-like profile offers a super-fast sink rate which gets you down in the strike zone and on the fish in a flash. This efficient sink rate also enables you to maintain contact with the bottom and the desired strike zone, and work some subtle movements on the jig, while providing you direct contact with your jig for fast hook-sets if needed.
Tiger Baku Baku are a sliding jig, whereby your fluorocarbon leader is threaded through the head and tied direct to the assist hooks via a solid 'O' ring, and the weighted head and skirt can slide up your leader and away from the hooks. So why do they work and how to get the most from your shiny new Tiger Baku Baku this season?
One of the notable advantages/differences of a Tiger Baku Baku kabura jig over other jigs is the sliding head arrangement. A common bugbear of using assist hooks fixed to jigs is that fish can use the weight of the jig as leverage to tear out hooks. Snapper in particular are notorious head-shakers, especially the bigger models, and can rid themselves of lures with frustrating regularity, but not so with sliders like the Baku Baku given the weight has moved away from the hooks and the fish, and is out of the equation.
Also the small yet super strong hooks and assist cord fitted to the Baku Baku cope well with the associated rigours of catching decent snapper and other reef species on these jigs. A common complaint levelled at the octopus jigs of yesteryear was their inadequate hooks, but this isn't a concern now. The dual format hooks on the ‘Tigers’ get effortless hook-ups and hold well, even when a slob red is peelin' braid off you under reasonable drag.
When it comes to fishing them, Baku Baku jigs allow you to spend a lot of time in the strike zone, and are a low impact form of jigging that, let's be upfront, represents probably one of the most common forms of marine protein - a squid or octopus. Any half hungry reef fish isn't going to pass up a bite-sized octopus seductively hovering just off the bottom are they?!
Putting together a dedicated jigging outfit for your Tiger Baku Baku jigs will see you get the most from them and increase the enjoyment factor, but they are that effective we’re sure you’ll catch fish on them no matter what you lower these jigs down with!
Shimano have a range of micro/slow jig outfit combinations possible, that have the desirable characteristics you need to fish kabura jigs. These features include a parabolic action, some length to them, and overall being a relatively light yet punchy outfit to have some fun with on fish of all sizes. Softer rods are preferred so hooks don't get torn out during the hard, lunging runs many reef fish are capable of as they try run for cover, while the ability to stop and turn fish is vital when you have sharp rocky structures below.
Overhead wise the Ocea Jigger 1500HG matched with Shimano Trevala TVSC-63L running 20lb Power Pro braid is a great setup, while conversely a 200-300 baitcaster or 4000-5000 threadline will work great. For rods, the Grappler Type J PE 3 and the specially designed Jewel 661 Slow Jig PE 1.5 – 3 are ideal for getting the most action out of these lures. Of course you can step up the tackle rating if need be.
A healthy length of Ocea Leader tied to your mainline with a slim knot like an FG will allow stealthy presentations of these jigs. Fluro is also hardwearing and ideal for tying direct to the solid ring on the hooks. A compact knot like the clinch knot or similar will be fine for the job and allow the jig to slide freely. Some anglers also tie the jig to a short leader and put a swivel in front of the leader for easy rig changes if swapping between bait and lure work etc.
Tiger Baku Baku currently range from 60 to 120g in weight, covering many reef fishing applications. During low flow and slow drift conditions start small and only go as heavy as you need to in order to stay in touch with the reef below or the strike zone being worked.
With their tantalising twin ‘tentacle’ design Baku Baku are easy to fish, and work even when fished super slow. Slow lifts and hops of the jig over the bottom will have the skirt section of the jig working nicely and any lurking predators won’t hold back eating them. Be active and work the jig around the boat, covering ground, and even roll it back with the current to get it away from the boat before hopping it back towards you.
Mix up your retrieves for best results with both slow and faster actions needed at times to get the fish chewing. Remember these jigs also work mid-water and many reef fish will swim up off the bottom to eat them, along with more pelagic fish feeding in the middle of the water column. You can get crunched basically anywhere from down deep to just metres below the boat, so stay alert and ready for action!
Tiger Baku Baku are bound to become a reef fishing mainstay. Try a range of colours and retrieves to find out what works best for you and enjoy the fresh advantages they provide when it comes to hooking into hard fighting reefies, and have a blast using these jigs instead of bait to do it!