AJ fishing techniques

Discussion in 'Reef fish' started by AJ hunter, Feb 3, 2007.

  1. AJ hunter

    AJ hunter Guest

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    I'm starting this thread to get input on successful methods for AJ. Most of the sportfishers I know here on Florida's Gulf coast use Carolina rigs (8-12oz weights) with baitfish such as grunts, sandperch, or bluerunners on an 8/0 J or Circle hook. I usually fish with a bearing swivel, a 10-12 oz sinker and 4 ft of 80 lb fluorocarbon and a 8/0 circle hook. I have also seen spadefish as bait and have even used tiny shrimp on a 2/0. I have also had variable success with a white Fairwaters nylon-skirt jig as well as large white Kalin twin-tail jigs. Anyway I would appreciate your input on making this a successful thread.
     
  2. jig

    jig Senior Member

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    I use a fishfinder (carolina) rig, 150# mono. Rigged with two 16oz weights, pinned stationary a bit past halfway down with crimps. 14/0 circle hook, and a BIG live bait, usually beeliner, grunt or blue runner. This much weight is because I only fish party boats and need my line straight down to avoid tangles. It controls the big bait better so it doesn't swim around as much. I fish 80# mono, again mainly to minimize tangles and aid in undoing them on a party boat.

    I'll be trying a new reel this year. I've been using a 50W Tiagra on an Ugly stick all roller 5'6" 130 class rod. I am going to try an old Ocean City 6/0 I picked up instead, w/ a 2:1 ratio. Hoping for less wobble on the retrieve, (and less worrying about using a $600 reel on a party boat).
     

  3. Minnow

    Minnow Administrator

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    I also use Carolina rig, 150-300lb leader, 16-32oz weights. Current and bait size determine how heavy the waights I use.
    Find a big bait 3-5lb bait will do the job just fine.
    I use 2 speed reel spooled with 130-200lb spectra, with drag set at 30-40lb at initial bite and reduce to 20-25lb. Heavy rod will really help to pull big AJ out of the rig. JMO
     
  4. MrBill

    MrBill Senior Member

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    Here's my 2 cents worth.
     

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  5. MrBill

    MrBill Senior Member

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    First off, use the boat. Put two heavy 50# to 80# class rods and reels in the transom rod holders. Back up to the rig and lower down the baits with the rods still in the rod holders. I lock down my drags to full. Probably 60#'s or more. When you see the rod bend hit the throttle and run for at least 100 yards with the rods still in the holders. Now you back off the drag a little and take the rod out of the holder and fight the donkey.

    As for rigging. I use two different types. I use an egg sinker bottom rig with 300lb mono and a 14/0 circle hook. I use a crimp to the hook and put a glow in the dark tube over the connection. Slide down another crimp and crimp it about two feet above the hook. I then slide down from 24 to 54 ounces of weights to the crimp. I them slide down another crimp and crimp above the egg sinkers. Slide down one more crimp, wrap the mono around a stainless thimble and crimp.
    This rig looks like below.
     

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  6. MrBill

    MrBill Senior Member

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    If I can't reach the bottom with the above setup due to currents and very deep water, I go to cutoff window sash weights. This time I use a loop connection for the hook. I crimp on a thimble loop at the top and leave the tag end on the bottom long for hand tying the sash weights. Sometimes you need 3 pounds and sometimes you need 12 pounds and sometimes you can't reach the bottom with every weight on board. This is what this setup looks like below.

    As for bait, I like a live Blue runner. The bigger the better. A live lane snapper is the ultimate bait. It's like feeding a live flyer to a YF. If you don't have any live bait, use a whole large squid or ballyhoo.
     

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  7. PiePuncher

    PiePuncher Senior Member

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    I'm starting this thread to get input on successful methods for AJ. Most of the sportfishers I know here on Florida's Gulf coast use Carolina rigs (8-12oz weights) with baitfish such as grunts, sandperch, or bluerunners on an 8/0 J or Circle hook. I usually fish with a bearing swivel, a 10-12 oz sinker and 4 ft of 80 lb fluorocarbon and a 8/0 circle hook. I have also seen spadefish as bait and have even used tiny shrimp on a 2/0. I have also had variable success with a white Fairwaters nylon-skirt jig as well as large white Kalin twin-tail jigs. Anyway I would appreciate your input on making this a successful thread.


    I use the exact same rig but with a 5ft or so leader and size of weight depends on current. I can usually get away with 8oz of lead and sometimes use up to a lb. The Kalins Grubs work well too but get bit in half quite often. My bait of choice is PinFish or Hard tails and I have had my best luck with large PinFish.
     
  8. AJ hunter

    AJ hunter Guest

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    Thanks for all your input, much appreciated. Occasionally use bent butt rods 80-130# class, so we can pogey-pull the fish off the wrecks before removing the rod from the holder. This has helped alot with breakoffs. We also use 130 # dacron on 9/0 Penn Senator reels with 4 ft of Seaguar fluorocarbon when we do this. Not exactly finesse fishing.

    I've heard of commercial fisherman using a white rag and dragging it around at the surface to bring the fish up off the bottom. Has anyone here ever done this?
     
  9. Uncle Russ

    Uncle Russ Senior Member

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    MrBill,

    How do you tie your dropper loops for the sash-weight rig? Do you use the dropper loop in which you create a loop and come back through that, or do you just use double surgeons loops? Thanks.

    Russ
     
  10. AJ hunter

    AJ hunter Guest

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    We've been slaying AJs this week on hammered Diamond jigs weighing 10-14 oz. We caught 12 on Wednesday along with 5 legal gag and 28 today along with several gags. The biggest were around 40 lbs, so no giants. They seem to strike good when the jig is drawn up quickly 5 or 6 ft and then dropped quickly to the bottom.
     
  11. mcgolfer

    mcgolfer Guest

    aj hunter you dah man!!! if you caught 28 amberjacks in one day and they were all keepers i have a new hero. the advice mr bill and minnow gave is how i fish for them in the gulf. the largest fish we have landed so far is only 85lbs but we have had many fish over 50lbs. it is much more difficult to get these fish out of rigs than off the rocks. the texas state record was caught on a torium 30 with 65lb spectre and 200lb carolina rig. fish was caught over rocks and weight was over 120lbs....rick
     
  12. ksong

    ksong SPONSOR

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    When jigging, it seems we lose less fish to the rigs because we can gain some lines before AJs turn their heads and head toward the rigs.
    My favorite setup for jigging AJ is 80 lbs braided line with 25-30 lbs drag on 3/0 or 4/0 size small reels as I do tuna jigging. But I use 100-130 lbs mono (fluoro carbon) leader lines for big AJ while I normally use 80 lbs mono leader line for tuna.
     
  13. Uncle Russ

    Uncle Russ Senior Member

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    Thanks, MRBILL, I thought that was your method. I find it very hard to tie those bloodknot loops in 130 pound-plus line. A couple of weeks ago I made up some really heavy (overkill) black drum bottom rigs for some buddies and I just used the double surgeons loop method, but I got to thinking that those loops could possibly pull out. It didn't matter for drum with the overkill line, but I might worry on AJ/Grouper.

    Russ
     
  14. AJ hunter

    AJ hunter Guest

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    aj hunter you dah man!!! if you caught 28 amberjacks in one day and they were all keepers i have a new hero. the advice mr bill and minnow gave is how i fish for them in the gulf. the largest fish we have landed so far is only 85lbs but we have had many fish over 50lbs. it is much more difficult to get these fish out of rigs than off the rocks. the texas state record was caught on a torium 30 with 65lb spectre and 200lb carolina rig. fish was caught over rocks and weight was over 120lbs....rick
    Thanks Rick. Our arms have been so sore this week that none of us could even pick our noses. A couple of us also have carpal tunnel syndrome, so we're not tying our knots so fast. You can almost hear the violins I bet. I am hoping for good weather and more torture. The Yozuri hybrid flurocarbon line is really impressing me for its durability. Folks are also tearing up the AJs further south of us in Madeira Beach. I noticed the headboats are getting pretty full again before the closure of groupers in the Gulf.
     
  15. Deep_Sea_Gull

    Deep_Sea_Gull Lifetime Supporting Members

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  16. AJ hunter

    AJ hunter Guest

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    Cool, I like the comparisons of breaking strengths. I will try it and the traditional dropper loop with a variety of lines and report back on %loss of line strength.
     
  17. ksong

    ksong SPONSOR

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    Stand-off Knot
    Dropper loop knot is very popular among bottom fishermen anywhere.
    However, I lost a few trophy fish due to failure of dropper loop knot.
    It definitely weaken breaking strength.

    Some serious cod fishermen on the Northeast use a special knot known as Stand-off Knot. This knot has 100 percent breaking strength as it actually is not a knot. The real advantage of this knot is the snelled line doesn't tangle with the main leader line.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Deep_Sea_Gull

    Deep_Sea_Gull Lifetime Supporting Members

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    Kil,
    That's cool looking. Where does it typically break? Is the main line usually as thin compared to the hook dropper? I have not fished cod.
    I am accustomed to using heavy mono for the entire mono portion of this rig. I am looking for abrasion resistance when fishing AJ close to rigs.
     
  19. AJ hunter

    AJ hunter Guest

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    I tied up a couple of world-class sabiki rigs following the instructions using a 130 lb fluoro mainline and two dropper hooks with 100 lb fluoro and 9/0 hooks. They look impressive. Nice the way the knot keeps the hook away from the mainline. I am just trying to think about what rod and reel I would possibly want to use, if I were to hook up on both droppers. Right now I am leaning toward my Penn Fathomaster 600 because I don't have a winch on my boat :). I don't think G. Loomis has a rod for this application.
     
  20. jig

    jig Senior Member

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    kil, did you just say "this knot is not a knot?" :D

    They had this, or something similar, in a recent SWS or the other mag (I get so many I can't remember).