Offshore Jigging

By Luke Galea

Well we all have our comfort zones when it comes to fishing. Whether it is a chosen destination that continually produces the goods, whether it is a specific species that you seem to have nutted out to a tee and catch without fail or whether it is a chosen application of the sport that is our clinical niche and is reverted to time and time again. Stepping out of your comfort zone every now and then and pushing those boundaries can unlock fishing options that you once wouldn’t have thought were a viable fishing option.

I live in Mackay and am very comfortable with the estuary, freshwater and impoundment scene up here as these are the locations I spend the majority of my time. There aren’t too many species within these environments that I haven’t sussed out. However, just recently I have been introduced to offshore jigging and to say that I’m hooked is an overwhelming understatement. It’s not something I have had much of an opportunity to do in the past, but now that I have a few mates with respectable ocean going crafts, trips offshore are going to be far more frequent.

When jigging large plastics offshore, I like to use a light and medium weighted combo. I run the new Shimano Spheros 6000SW on a fast tapered, 25-40lb, 7 foot spin stick loaded with 30lb braid as my medium combo. My lighter setup is a Shimano Sustain 4000 on a 20-30lb stick and 20lb braid. Many people may think that I’m crazy for using a 4000 sized reel at the reef but I am an avid believer of going light to get the bite and I personally know that I would rather fish too light and lose the occasional fish rather than too heavy and risk not getting the bite at all. In all honesty though, I do use the Spheros far more than the Sustain due to its larger size and ability to regain more line with each wind of the if I had a Sustain in a 6000 size, THAT would be a very nice jigging reel as well. I do have mates that run 8000 and 10000 sized Stella’s and although they would be the pinnacle of reels to use for this style of fishing, the Sustains and Spheros’s are in a price range that many more people can afford.

The three typical styles of plastics that that we have the most success with are large jerk bait profiles, paddle tail profiles and curl-grub style profiles. Anything from 5 inches through to 7 inches seem to work the best. Rig these with just enough weight to hit the bottom. Too much weight and the plastic will sink un-naturally fast in the water and is far from ideal. A jerk bait profile is best worked aggressively so that it darts erratically from side to side, whilst large paddle tails and curl tails are best worked as a slower pace whilst letting the underwater currents do their part by adding action to the tail. Big Nannygai seem to love this method.

Large octopus style jigs also work a treat with a slow action. Once again, the dangly legs and tentacles wave around tantalisingly in the current and would be likened to ringing the dinner bell at a sumo convention.

Discovering the extreme excitement and fun that offshore jigging can be has made me wish I was exposed to this style of fishing far earlier in my life. It’s better late than never right? Watch this space. There is going to be whole lot more of this style of fishing from here on in.

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