Offshore Kayak Jigging

Kwanza Henderson, with blackfin tuna, shares his method for luring gamefish in ocean depths.

I started off vertical jigging with speed jigs in my kayak for tuna, kingfish, and amberjack out of Dania Beach. Although it’s a lot of fun and quick-paced fishing that will catch a lot of different species, moving a speed jig properly is also a lot of work from a seated position and low to the water. You don’t have much leverage and you’re using your arms a lot.

About a year ago, I discovered the Shimano Butterfly Flat Fall jig. It’s a center-weighted metallic jig, designed to wobble horizontally as it flutters and flashes down through the water column. I read claims that the lure would do all the work itself. I was a little skeptical. A friend bought two to try out. I started looking for YouTube videos on this jig but could not find any.

So I didn’t know really how to work it. A few weeks later, I came across a video made by Into the Blue fishing TV show. The host was talking about how you let the lure drop and just reel it up and let it drop again to keep it in the strike zone. That friend of mine who bought a few of those went out and had an awesome day. He caught groupers, snappers, even kings, using three different sizes of the jig.

I decided to try the Flat Fall jig out of Pompano Beach in about 150 feet of water. I was using an Okuma Cedros jigging rod/reel combo with 30-pound fluorocarbon leader on my main line of 30-pound braid. I dropped the jig, and on the drop I got a hit. I caught a 25-pound blackfin tuna. Next drop I caught another blackfin.

I’ve been using these lures quite a bit since that trip. I like that you don’t have to work too hard to use this style of jig. It really does work for you. You basically just bring it up, release line, and then let it do its thing, over and over. It will attract strikes. Depending on the current speed and direction, I’ll either cast it out and let it drift towards me or I’ll drop it straight down from my kayak.

I’ve caught snappers, blackfin tuna, amberjacks, kingfish, and just recently a surprise sailfish. The current was really fast, so I cast the jig so it could drift towards me. I was using a Shimano jigging rod and an 8000 class reel with 500 yards of 50-pound braid with 40-pound fluorocarbon leader. The funny part was after I cast, the lure stopped moving and from my experience I knew I had a fish. I started reeling to tighten up. After I got tight, my line took of.I had no idea what I had on the end of my line. I just yelled to a friend who was out there with me, “I’m on! I’m on!”

When I saw the fish break the surface I yelled again, “Sailfish! I got a sailfish!”

It was a surprise hookup on a lure and spinning tackle, but I knew I was going to land the fish, and I did. Score one more for the Flat Fall jig.

If you’re looking to catch multiple species jigging from a kayak and do not want to wear your arms out, I highly suggest you try the flat fall jigs, also known by some as slow-pitch jigs. Shimano makes a series in four sizes and six colors. A number of others produce similar lures: Daiwa has the Saltiga SK series, Williamson the Koika, Savage Gear the Squish, Victory Lures Candy Drop and surely more. FS

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