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. I’ve put together a few tips I’ve gathered over the years because I’d like to help you catch blackfish on 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 to the ideal range.
Go Lighter on your mainline.
You’re fishing a light jig and anything that can help the jig get to the bottom faster is going to help you maximize your opportunities. Do you know the difference in abrasion resistance between 50# braid and 20# braid? Me neither, but I can promise you it’s insignificant. I use 15 pound braid on my main jigging setup paired with a real that has a max drag of just less than 15 pounds locked down.
Here’s where it’s going to get tough for you 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. The feel is going to be off. Everything is more sensitive now. Thats the reason catching blackfish on jigs is so effective. 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.
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. Ideally you’ll find a piece of hard structure, a ledge or a whole. 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 when catching blackfish on jigs.
If you’d like to learn more about catching blackfish with jigs…
and live in or near NJ. I invite you to join me on December 7th on the Osprey, sailing out of Atlantic City. On this trip 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 seminars on the boat, your fare and gratuity, a rod and reel demo from Daiwa, free gifts and giveaways and entry into a $500 pool. For more info and to sign up check out
Limited Space Available