Thursday, February 14, 2008

2/14 - Jetty Revolution!

I thought hard and long about if I even wanted to pass-on my new Jetty fishing idea. Because this is revolutionary, I think. Just remember, you heard it first here. Don't try to pass it off to someone as if you came up with this idea, because I will find out!

No one is probably less of a "crowd follower" than I am. C'mon....I had a MayCraft boat, no one else in the whole area had such a brand. I fish Accurate twin-drag reels from California. None the less for charter fishing! I do not guide out of a flat bottom $10,000.00 Carolina Skiff....that right there, can make you different around here! And ya'll know, I went Plate Alloy with my new boat, because I wanted a life time boat.
I made my own "Capt. Dave's Approved Jetty jigs", banana head shaped, to snag less in the rocks than a round headed jig. But over the years I have found jigs can even be a pain in the butt.
My light tackle jetty jigging has slowed down over the years. I anchor up, take my time, let my customers pitch and work an area, then maybe move around. I like it that way, no hurry.
No cast here get a bite, and then the boats somewhere else 2 seconds later, because the wind's blowing and the trolling motor is at warp speed trying to hold us on the spot. I did the trolling motor bay boat gig for many years.
Plus, pitching up to the rocks isn't my only fishing method. I like to mix it up with other kinds of fishing, these days. You know...Float-rigging! Ahhhh, I love it.

So I searched high and low for something that just doesn't get stuck in the jetty rocks, like a jig does. Because c'mon, "if you are not snagging the rocks you just aren't fishing jigs correctly, right?"
Yeah, that's what I used to think.

Remember, I'm in the business of taking people fishing who probably do not know how to fish like you and I. Everyone assumes, that taking the general public fishing is like taking their buddies fishing. Who you cares if they caught any fish, as long as you do. Well, it's totally different for me. I want my folks to catch fish, learn, have fun, and enjoy the day.

So taking into account the fact that jigs are always getting snagged in the rocks, because most people I take never pitched a jig up to a 60' pile of underwater boulders before. Snags every two seconds with some folks can mean a lot of re-rigging, and a lot of lost jigs.
I remember my ole Bay Boat/trolling motor days, with spinners, 12# mono and jigs. Taking three people usually meant 30 jigs a day or more!

So I came up with what seems to be an alternative:
(please excuse the fuzzy photos, my water proof dive camera doesn't do all that good close up)

First, I found these small 3/8ths ounce weights called Mojo sinkers. An "inline" thin shaped weight
that some bass fisherman came up with for ahead of a rubber worm..."carolina rigged".

But they are really expensive, $4.00 for 10? And what if you want a 3/8th's one spot, and a 1/2 oz. on another? Then ya have to buy more of them. But I tried them, anyhow. I slid it up on my super braid line, and then just tied on a hook. Just as some people find that "pointed worm weights", again from the bass fishing world, work good too. But the larger they get, the wider they get also. Cheaper than a jig still, but "stream lined" and versatile they are not.

I made a "knocker-rig" of sorts with the Mojo weights, and it does the exact same thing as a jig. It worked okay, and the snags were less than with a jig. I had a thin profile, but that was about all.

I wasn't satisfied. So I scanned the world wide web and studied various rigs that are used by Salmon fisherman in swift rivers. They all talked about a "slinky weight". Hmm, that was interesting. A piece of parachute cord with small lead shot inside it, and then the ends melted together, to form smooth stretchy sleeve. Then, poke a hole thru the end and attach to your line. A no foul sinker for bumping down rocky streams. My mind was really working then......but a "slinky weight" still looked like a big fat snagging sinker. So I scrapped that idea.

So, I pressed on....And low and behold it came to me.
I remember seeing this lead called Hollow-core a long time ago. A roll of super soft lead, that had a small diameter, and a small hole that ran thru it, hence the "hollow-core" name. But where can I find some. So I kept searching, then found the manufacture, and then found who sold it. I quickly ordered 2 rolls at 9 feet a piece. 3/16th's inch in diameter.

Now, instead of just a 3/8th's oz. Mojo sinker, I can cut this to certain lengths and have 3/8's or a 1/2 or 1 oz. depending on how long it is. And rig it like a knocker rig, (like a egg sinker) above a swivel and a short leader.
Wella, I had stream-lined, economical, and versatile all in one.

Next was the experimentation stage....

So one day, Ernie a customer of mine and myself went to the jetties, to do some "jigging" or is it called "hollow coring" now??

Ernie fished a length of the hollow core that weighed in at 3/8th's oz. above a short leader and a 1/0 Eagle Claw wide bend hook with a shrimp on it. And I fished a piece of hollow core like a knocker rig, with it sitting on top of the same wide bend hook.

We pitched the rigs up into the North Jetty, and worked it just like a jig-n-shrimp. And it worked, for me! No snags. But Ernie kept getting the hook on his leader hung in the growth on the rocks, and would have to break his mono leader. Which meant re-tying hooks and leaders.
I'd call myself a master "jetty-jigger", because I've been doing it a very long time. But with a regular lead head jig, I still loose a few during the day. But this time, if I got hung up at all, just a quick snap of the rod tip freed my rig. It was a Joy!

Since I use 50 pound super braid line, I doubled it, then added a length the hollow core, and then tie on the hook. The system worked great. The hollow core bends easily, doesn't wear the doubled braid, and the doubled Braid is so strong that if the hook gets really stuck, I can straighten out the hook, bend it all back, pin on a new live shrimp, a be back in the action right away.

Our water is so dark, and jetty fishing has never been a stealthy type of fishing. What's the big difference between a jig and a length of hollow core?

Other than, jigs are expensive, bulky, and snag easily. Hollow core is cheap, versatile, and rigging time isn't that much more.

A jig-head never stopped a Redfish, Black Drum, or a Sheepshead from eating a shrimp, and I seriously doubt the hollow core will either.

And can ya just imagine the usefulness of this for vertical Sheepshead fishing with a fiddler crab, on a short leader? What a nice slim profile. No more getting that fat egg sinker stuck between the jetty rocks. Personally, I like the knocker way of rigging. Since I rarely do any "dabbing" the rocks with fiddlers....too boring! I gotta be doing something. I have to actively working a bait. Not just hanging it over the side of the boat. Although, it is a successful and traditional way of Sheep herding.

The other day when I was out at the jetties with Jason M.
He used the hollow core on a short leader, and I used a Mojo weight at first. Jason caught Sharks and Seabass (it's all that would bite at high tide) casting up into the rocks with his leader and hollow core rig, and I did loose a Mojo weight rigged knocker rig style. So I went to the hollow core rigged knocker style, and never lost another rig while we were there, and neither did Jason.
The hollow core is so flexible, and soft that getting it stuck isn't a concern, the hook is your only concern. I have something here? I think I do.
I don't have any trips till Saturday, and figured the Blog needed something.....since no one's interested in making a bid on the rods I have for sale. BTW...they are some kick-butt rods, those Okuma's.
So, I could have and probably should have kept this exciting new rig up under my hat. But since I told my neighbor. I figured I'd tell you all.
Not everything is free!!
I think I'll let you all find the hollow core yourself, if you're interested in giving this non-snagging rig a try at the jetty rocks.
Remember, your hook can still get caught, but it's hard to catch a fish without a hook. So, my next step is to use a smaller hook instead of a 1/0 wide bend. To lessen the entire profile of the rig.
If you are successful, send me a photo of your catch. (please size photos first to an email-able size, 400 x 400 is a decent size.) I may use it here, in a blog report, ya never know.
This is what I do during the deep winter, I contemplate things. Always looking to make my charter trips better. I'm a "tinkerer". Always wanting an edge so I can take someone fishing, no matter what the skill level, with the least amount of headaches.
I continually upgrade my tackle, looking for the best rods and reels to do specific jobs, for my clients. And at the same time YOU as a Blog reader hopefully can also benefit, either in learning a new trick, or by getting a great deal.......on maybe some Okuma rods?????
I change rods and reels like tournament Kingfisherman change boats. I buy stuff just to try it out, like the Mojo sinkers and Okuma rods....It doesn't mean they didn't work. But many times a week later, I may have found something I like better.
It's my J-O-B, to play and experiment.
Someone has to do it!