Jig Rigging For Bluefin Tuna
Over the last 4 years anglers have developed many ways to catch the Bluefin that have become the go to target for the Southern California sportfishing fleet. The Yummy flyer, popper, surface iron, double trouble balloon rig, the sinker rig, the flying fish balloon rig, and the deep jig.
We wanted to really get specific and focus in on one. There are many ways to fish the jig. There are many different jigs to choose. The options can be a bit cumbersome. In our experience we have developed a rigging method that works for us and is easy to follow!
First, I want to be sure to say there are many ways to rig these jigs. Most of which I have seen aren’t wrong, but different than what I am about to show you. Your local tackle shop will have a proven method that they use based on feedback that works great for their customers. Boat captains and crews will have their favorite way based on current conditions. But if you like to be a bit DIY with your fishing tackle then this is what has been working for us for the past 2 years.
Odds are that the fish you are chasing is a fish of a lifetime so for the rigging materials you should not cut any corners. It’s painful to see guys fight a fish for hours just to have an inferior component fail.
We use Nomad jigs. The Buffalo, Gypsy, and the Deep Ahi are the best choices for this application. We use their jigs for 2 reasons. First is they just plain get bit. Second is they come with a great hook that is worthy of the fish that you are chasing. Our favorite colors are CRT (Crimson Tide), SG (Silver Glow) and PG (Pink Glow). The size is 200g and above.
Hi-Seas Grand Slam Bluewater leader in 130-175 pound is our choice. When the fish bite these jigs, they really aren’t line shy. We use about 7 feet of it per rig.
Nomad jigs come with a phenomenal hook made by BKK already in the package. That said, we up our game a bit and add a second hook. For the additional hook we are using the Mustad Jigging assist hooks in size 5/0-9/0 depending on the jig size. We try to use the biggest hook we can get away with!!
Split-ring pliers, crimping pliers and line cutters.
On our sponsored trips we want to make sure the passengers have the gear they need to get the job done so part of that is making sure their rigging is up to par. Many anglers have the right gear, but some do not. I set up a bit of an assembly line on my patio on a nice afternoon to get 20-25 of these knocked out in a short amount of time. I start off by taking a screw and screwing it into my worktable so I can anchor the leaders to make sure they are the same length. I use the double sleeve crimp and an anti-chafe spring and just push it over the top of the screw to hold it there.
After I make about 5-6 of these the same length, I organize another round of double sleeve crimps, anti-chafe springs, and the #7.5 solid ring. Start with the crimp then put on the spring and follow with the solid ring and then put the tag end back into the crimp and there you have it. The basics of the leader is finished.
At this point I use split ring pliers and put the #10 split ring onto the solid ring and then also attach the jig to the split ring.
The reason for doing it this way is that it makes it easy to change jigs and store these for travel. Nothing worse than a 10oz jig with two 9/0 hooks swinging around on a boat!! Also, if they are biting a different style or color it’s easy to switch.
The top hook should be attached to the solid ring and not the jig. This way even if you have a jig break (which I have never seen on a Nomad) you are still attached to the fish and the jig has no bearing on the outcome of the catch.
There is one more hook to add to complete the rig. We add a hook to the bottom of the jig with the split ring. This really ups our chances on the catch. We usually have the fish in the corner of the mouth and somewhere else as well. We need every advantage we can get with these fish. They are big and mean.
These fish will find the weakest link in your tackle. Everything needs to be in perfect working order. Fresh line on a reel that has been recently serviced with the matching rod and all the rigging tips I have given you above should greatly improve your chances for success!
Wishing you the best of luck on the water. We are honored that you take our products along for the adventure!