Catching blackfish on jigs is an absolute game changer when fishing for tautog. The lighter tackle used for this type of fishing drastically contrasts more standard methods of catching these fish. Experienced anglers who attempt catching blackfish on jigs will find there is quite the learning curve. Often, I see guys who’ve been catching blackfish for years, but on heavier equipment, finding a great deal of trouble trying to make the switch. So this often leads to folks quitting before they can master the new technique. Start catching blackfish on jigs with these helpful tips!
Here’s a few tips I’ve gathered over the years. I’m sharing because I’d like to help you catch blackfish on jigs. However first read my comprehensive fishing article, Catching Black Fish With Jigs.
Start with a heavier jig and work down from there.
If you’ve been blackfishing for a while, you’re most likely using at least an 8 ounce weight regularly. It’s very easy to feel the bottom because these heavier weights add more tension to your line. It is easier to decipher what type of structure you’re on because of this and easier to find the holes you want to be fishing. When you attempt to throw a 1-2 oz jig down for the first time, everything is going to feel extremely off because of the weight difference. Start with a heavier weighted jig, get used to the feel and work your way down. The ideal weight is the lightest possible which will still get down and hold bottom.
Light Braided Line Is A Must
You’re fishing a light jig and anything that helps the jig get to the bottom faster and stay there is going to maximize your opportunities. Do you know the difference in abrasion resistance between 50# braid and 40# braid? How about 30-20 or 15-10#? Me neither! But I can promise you it’s insignificant. What is significant is the ability of the thinner lines to through providing the least water resistance. I use 15# Cortland Master Braid on my tog jigging fishing reels. The line is super strong and allows me to fish a locked up drag which is needed to hoist out and up double digit blackfish.
Please understand, my abrasion concern is countered by fishing extra long fluorocarbon leaders (commonly 5-8′ of 30/40/50# either Seaguar Blue Label Fluoro or Diamond Fluoro). Using an FG Knot the line to line connection is super strong and the knot has a very thing profile. This system is proven and I highly suggest you rig up this way too.
Here’s where it’s going to get tough for seasoned vets. You’ve been dialed in for years. You know what the right bite feels like and you know when to swing. Well, now that you have a jig on, you’re wrong. Fishing tog jigs is a different game than rigs. You’ll need to re-learn the feel, the best advice I can give you is to let your first few baits get completely stolen. Let them eat it, just try to dial in the feel for the different type of bites. Everything is more sensitive now. This is the reason catching blackfish on jigs is so effective!
In the end, rely on what you know.
It’s still important when catching blackfish on jigs to fish in a similar fashion. You want the bait on the bottom. Don’t jig it! Ideally you’ll find piece of hard structure, ledges, caves, rock/concrete piles, wooden debris and obviously shipwrecks. Keep the bait still. When you get the right bite, or when your line goes slack (sometimes the fish will just pick up your jig and swim away) swing for the fences! Cross his eyes, reel quickly and get that fish up and away from that structure. It is crucial you react quickly here. If you fail to move the fish quickly I can assure you a broken heart and a few minutes in the penalty box retying.
The equipment I use for catching blackfish on jigs.
Reel – Daiwa Low Profile Baitcaster
Leader – Diamond Pink Fluorocarbon
Jigs – Magictail Gamechanger Tog Jig
If you’d like to learn more and Start Catching Blackfish on Jigs…
I invite you to join me on a fishing trip. I frequently set up charters on New Jersey’s top boats at the season’s best dates. On the trips you will learn from myself and other experts in the field, the different tactics employed to catch blackfish on jigs. The all inclusive trip includes your fare and gratuity and some even have a rod and reel demos as well as free gifts and giveaways. For more info stay tuned to my Instagram Page better yet give me a follow and send a direct message introducing yourself.