Big E Firecracker 2008: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:

Discussion in 'Jigging and Popping' started by Uncle Russ, Jul 10, 2008.

  1. Uncle Russ

    Uncle Russ Senior Member

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    I don’t know whether others do this or not, but I personally engage in a lot of soul searching after every fishing trip—especially an offshore one—to analyze what I did (and what I should have done), what I took with me (and what I should have left at home), and my strategies and tactics, etc. etc. For what its worth (probably not much) I thought I would share the results of my self-examination:

    The Good:

    I fished and fished hard. A mutual friend told me prior to my meeting up with Grescobia: “He always has a line in the water.” My grandfather used to say the same thing: “Boy, you can’t catch no fish with your hook in the boat.” I tried to do this and I feel good about the result—I fished almost every waking moment and almost all my moments were waking.

    During the night, I branched out a little from my usual chunking and bait fishing. I jigged a little and I casted lures a medium amount.

    Still all my fish came on bait and I caught my usual 2 yellow fin—though somewhat on the small side. Still, no complaining—a couple of years ago, I would have given gold for a couple of blackfin.

    I bought some really great tackle and carried with me the latest and greatest lures and jigs. I was well-equipped. Moreover, since my last trip, I had picked a lot of your brains and had increased my theoretical knowlege to the point that I could actually put some of it into practice.

    I learned a new form of jigging by watching Kil and Angelo. I had heard Kil describe it, but watching the technique in person, and realizing you don’t have to rip up a pound of lead at the speed of sound—gives me a new perspective.

    I watched some very, very good fishermen catch some very, very good fish—including the 3 biggest that I have ever personally laid eyes on. This is the kind of experience that translates into sticking with it on future trips—when the chips are down and you feel like you just need to crash.

    The Bad:

    My casting still sucks like a Filter Queen vacuum cleaner. I don’t like getting into the crowd on the starboard stern side or in the bow. Last trip, I had the bow to myself—only there was no bite. This year, the boat was crowded with casters and I was terrified of ripping someone’s earlobe or cojones off with a pair of Owner trebles. I have to learn to cast, and maybe even leave the bait rods at home. Yeah right. I have been hitting up folks like T.J. and Steve for hints and they have been very helpful. Still, you gotta do it yourself.

    I confirmed what I suspected: that I hate jigging—at least with the short rod, ripping the jig up fast enough to rip my arms out of their sockets. In the future, I am going to adopt as much of Kil's style as I can master on my own.

    I couldn’t catch a cold while bottom fishing. I stood right next to Jerry using the same bait he was while he caught both AJ s. I am picking his brain as to his rigging and techniques.

    I was also standing very near Steve when he hooked the Big ‘Un. I don’t think I was seeing what everyone else was—looking for what to cast to. That needs to be corrected.

    I missed 5 hookups while bait fishing at the floaters, 2 with flyers, and 3 while chunk fishing. I think I moved the lever forward a couple of seconds too soon. Need to learn to be more patient.

    The Ugly:

    I got seasick for the first time in my life, when we were underway during those rolling seas after sundown on the first night when I had no horizon. I knew not to go forward into the theater seats--no matter how comfortable they were. From there, it was straight to the rail. :eek: Still, I did what I had to do, puked my guts out and lay down on a flat surface. It was sweetly reminescent of those commode hugging drunks of our early years--kind of reminded me how much I missed swilling a couple of fifths of Bert Wheeler's private stock at the outrageous price of $4.39 a bottle.

    I broke my Chatillon scale and am having the devil of a time getting them to repair it—as opposed to just selling me the parts to do it myself.

    The POS Milk Crate was the complete disaster I feared it would be (as discussed elsewhere)—but no worries as our Aussie friends like to say—it will occupy a treasured spot in the garage, where I will keep gear in it and, while pulling on rods, I will sit down on it occasionally and dream of breaking the Gulf record for yellow fin—just like Snoopy, sitting on top of his dog house pretending it is a Sopwith Camel in combat with the Red Baron.

    In the same vein, I brought too damned much stuff. This year, my total gear weight was about 250 pounds. Next trip, it will be closer to 100.

    But worst of all the trip is over--and I'm stuck on land for several months before I can go again. :mad: The Big E and the folks from this Board are what it's all about.

    Russ
     
  2. BretABaker

    BretABaker Guest

    wait i heard the milkcrate was really nice? did i miss why it was a failure???
     

  3. Bret

    Bret Senior Member

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    Nice report UR. We all tend to take too much tackle, but you never know what they will eat.. so we take it all. better to have and not need than to need and not have. I too was very frustrated with jigging at first.. I watched what the successful guys were doing and tried to emulate them the best I could, with time and lots of trial and error, I finally got the hang of it.. I am still not that good, but I dont think that I would starve if a jig was all I had to fish with.
    Still waiting for a pic of the POS milkcrate.
     
  4. jig

    jig Senior Member

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    Great post. It is always good to write that stuff down; it helps me remember it. I have managed to get my combos down to 4. I did this by getting better tackle. A 40# and 60# 2speed outfit, an 80# bottom rig, and my spinner. I bring a spare reel in my bag with 50# mono as a backup. To make sure I don't bring any more, I sold most all my other gear. It was the only way. :)

    The other thing I did was convince myself that I do not need every single color available in every single lure. THAT was much harder than reducing the combos.

    I like jigging a lot better with the right (i.e. lighter) quality tackle. But I still hate it for the deep tuna.
     
  5. Deep_Sea_Gull

    Deep_Sea_Gull Lifetime Supporting Members

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    Uncle Russ... you over analyze things.... not that this is bad.

    Make small adjustments to your gear and techniques. You are gaining a grasp of the basics. Refine this knowledge. Distill it down to what works for you and you have absolute confidence in your ability to utilize.

    Then, don't buy more gear. Spend the money on the trip.

    Repeat after me.... More trips, more trips, I do not need more hear. More trips...
     
  6. SkeeterRonnie

    SkeeterRonnie Senior Member

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    sounds like a fun trip! I cant wait to get back out there! got a little while to rebuild my arsenal though :) i need 2 30 wides, and 2 stella 20000's :)
     
  7. Snagged

    Snagged Senior Member

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    Russ,
    We each have our own style that works best for us. I slow jig, Kil and Dave use the fast jig. Some trips you've got the hot stick and some the cuda stick.
    Don't worry about tackle, spend time fishing and learning.
     
  8. Uncle Russ

    Uncle Russ Senior Member

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    Guys: The crate was beautiful--just non-functional. It's like one of the classics Jerry sent me recently--"Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without your accordion." There is a place for everything.

    I definitely am through buying offshore (or onshore for that matter) gear. More trips are our friend!

    Russ
     
  9. etan

    etan Senior Member

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    Uncle Russ please discribe Kilsong's jigging technique for me. I trust your discription will explain it well. I agree, fish more and buy less tackle.
     
  10. Uncle Russ

    Uncle Russ Senior Member

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    What I saw, and what I have heard him describe in posts is that he drops down only about 50-100 feet (where YFT are and to avoid BFT) and he actually uses the rail to slowly lever the jig up and down--he seemed to vary its position somewhat in the water column, and he does the same thing on or near the bottom when bottom fishing. The keys seem to be long rod, lever on the rail, slow motion, long strokes.

    I'm sure he or some of the folks he fishes with like Angelo could correct that a lot and give you a better description--but it is damned well effective.

    Russ
     
  11. BretABaker

    BretABaker Guest

    throw the diamond jig or whatever jig you have out...let it fall. jig it up and down slowly until it is vertical. keep jigging for a bit then retrieve and do it over again. that's about it;
     
  12. etan

    etan Senior Member

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    So he uses more of a YoYo technique. He casts the jig out and lets it go to depth before he starts jigging. Thats the only way I have ever caught yellowfin on iron. We started out using Tady 4/0 jigs back in 2001 here in Port Aransas but now with the butterfly craze nobody uses them any more. I caught a yellowfin in 2002 with an 8 oz diamond jig that had a squid skirt slipped over it. The yellowfin seem to care less about lure selection than the fishermen do. Size is probably the most important factor. Thanks for the response.
     
  13. rtran

    rtran Senior Member

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    From now on, I personally will bring only 2 outfits. 1 popping and 1 conventional. Other than that just a bunch of lures/terminal tackle.
     
  14. Gunsmoke

    Gunsmoke Guest

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    Some people catch fish, other's go for a boat ride. Skill plays a huge part in putting fish in the box. Some say it's experience on the water. That's somewhat true, but you can only self teach yourself so much before you max out on what you can learn.


    The best way to become a complete "catching" fisherman is to learn and watch from the best. Stand on the docks and watch private charter boats back up to the dock. You will find that it's always the same Capt's unloading the most and largest fish. From port to port world wide there's always a few very good Capt's that consistently catch fish. These are the guys you hire.

    You will learn something from each and everyone of them. You paid them for a fishing trip, so pay attention and watch carefully. There's a reason they catch fish for their customers. Some have incredible deckhands that are the reason they are so successful. A good Capt will teach and keep a keen eye on the help. If they don't like what he is doing, they will come off the bridge and start rigging themselves. It's hard to keep a skilled deckhand as good ones have ambition and want to run their own boat. Some newly rich guy that just bought a new big boat will dangle a carrot in front of his face with promises he won't keep. That's the big boat routine. Money and boats come and go like ticks on a cow.

    Trolling is an art by itself. Learning to rig and place lures in different current and seas conditions is critical. Trolling speeds, lure choices and learning the wake and sound of your boat is extremely important. Lure fishing is a specialty in itself. The whole key is to cover a lot of ground to find that perfect fish. Pulling a good spread of lures and keeping them clean is a must.

    Rigging dead baits is another art of fishing. A properly rigged bait will troll and look beautiful in the water. It will also attract even the pickiest of fish. Poorly rigged baits will scare fish away. You must learn this craft by watching master riggers. Different countries do it different ways. Once again, you have to hire good boats to learn. Just watch and pay attention. If you happen to speak the language, have them explain what they are doing. A master rigger takes pride in his work. He will explain, but it will be at a very fast pace.

    Drift fishing like most of you guys do on party boats is another form of fishing. It also has its tricks and techniques. You are depending on a Capt to put you on fish. The rest is up to you. Learning and watching the guys that consistently catch fish is your best bet at mastering it. Time on the water is important. You will have to learn how to adjust to currents and how to fish them. Water color, bottom structures, size and type of platforms fished can affect your choice of weapon to drop down, drift or toss. I like to drift fish now and them. Having a private boat really helps as you can keep the transom pointed at the fish. Being dead in the water on a party boat can cause major problems with multiple hookups. Learning to shuffle and slide over and under others and keeping your fish on is an art by itself. My hat's off to you guys that master running around the perimeter of the boat a few times and still boat the fish without a break-off.
     
  15. Uncle Russ

    Uncle Russ Senior Member

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    Couldn't agree more about watching and learning from the best--Part of the price of keeping a line in the water every minute (on a party boat at least) is that you don't take the time to just wander over and watch how deep Kil is dropping, or whether fathom is blind casting or waiting for a bust, whether Jerry has the same bottom leader you do, or just what the hell TJ is doing to wind up his body to cast a lure as big as his own foot a hundred yards. :)

    As far as gear goes, next time I take three outfits plus 3 backup rods to go into the back edge of the bunk and backup reels--just in case. The POS crate stays at home. I figure this is the minimum gear list I would want on a 52 or 76 hour trip:

    Deep Drop/Chunking rig
    Popping Rig
    7-foot jigging rig
    (Plus backup rig broken down for each of the above)

    (20) assorted hammered diamond jigs--gold and silver
    A couple of OTI jigs that glow in the dark--NTE 300 grams
    (3) OTI prototype "walk-the-dog" poppers
    (3) OTI Goanna Pencils
    (3) Lipped Shibukis
    (3) Tackle House CS 130s

    (If the fish happen to want something else in the way of jigs or lures, next time, then piss on them--Ill just do some chunking.)

    (1) roll each 80 #, and 130 # Varivas shock leader plus (1) roll 80# fluoro
    Assorted windons in 60 # and 80 # fluorocarbon
    (10) Each 4/0 and 6/0 Super Mutu ringed hooks for chunking
    Assorted bottom rigs and sinkers NTE 25 pounds in weight
    Assorted replacement trebles
    Assorted single hooks, assist hooks, split rings, and solid rings
    Screwdriver, Split Ring pliers, Knife, and scissors

    Personal items, sleeping bag and small pillow.

    Minimal clothing--this time I will take Gunsmoke's advice and basically take only two quick-drying outfits--one of which I will wear on the boat--and then just walk into the shower--clothes and all--the way you wash off a hound dog that had rolled around over a dead, rotting skunk.

    This will be the core of my outfit next time, with very little added--if I find myself getting carried away, I am going to hire one of those monks who live in the caves scattered around West Texas eating lizards and drinking out of puddles. Whenever they find themselves thinking about little old Mary Sue from high school or maybe the time they spent 3 hours in the outhouse with a Penthouse, they beat the dog crap out of themselves with little whips and then roll around in salt. A few minutes having one of those guys zap me with the whip and use the salt shaker on me, will cut the outfit down to size and that's for sure.

    Russ
     
  16. Bellyups

    Bellyups Senior Member

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    From now on, I personally will bring only 2 outfits. 1 popping and 1 conventional. Other than that just a bunch of lures/terminal tackle.

    That would be so convienent, but sometimes there will only be a bite for bait--dead or alive. I've been on several trips where no fish were taken, or even seen, on the surface. Sometimes only blackfin are on the surface.
     
  17. jig

    jig Senior Member

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    Russ, you basically described my thoughts. If I had to, I could get by with just my 665W 60# and my spinner. My backup reel is a Newell with 50#, so I could cast if I had to. No back up rods yet; knock on wood I have never broken a rod (other than in car doors or tailgates).

    I then have about 2 dozen various jigs, and a dozen various topwaters, then some swimbaits. No matter how much I bring, that's all I ever use. And I bet I never throw more than 3 topwaters, but they are so pretty. :)
     
  18. rtran

    rtran Senior Member

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    That would be so convienent, but sometimes there will only be a bite for bait--dead or alive. I've been on several trips where no fish were taken, or even seen, on the surface. Sometimes only blackfin are on the surface.

    That's when I use the conventional =) Accurate 665W
     
  19. Uncle Russ

    Uncle Russ Senior Member

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    I love my 665S 2-speed, and I know lots of folks have fished them hard with good results--but after the experiences I have had with three of them--not to mention the repair bill another member of this board had from Accurate (I will let him post about it if he wants to) after fishing it pretty hard--I would hate to depend on it for my primary bait reel.

    Personally, I am going to use it for my "Kil-Style-Slow-Jigging" reel--even though it is a bit wide for that. And my backup for jigging will be the Nirai with a Stella.

    Russ
     
  20. workin

    workin Member

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    What I saw, and what I have heard him describe in posts is that he drops down only about 50-100 feet (where YFT are and to avoid BFT) and he actually uses the rail to slowly lever the jig up and down--he seemed to vary its position somewhat in the water column, and he does the same thing on or near the bottom when bottom fishing. The keys seem to be long rod, lever on the rail, slow motion, long strokes.

    I'm sure he or some of the folks he fishes with like Angelo could correct that a lot and give you a better description--but it is damned well effective.

    Russ

    I watched him quite a bit. He mixed up his technique some, but mostly he'd underhand cast the jig away from the boat to get his 50 - 100 feet, as Russ says. He'd start jigging somewhere on the fall. I saw him get hit once on the drop before he ever started jigging. To jig, he would mostly kind of lay the rod handle on the rail, then swing the rod tip from about 4-o'clock back to about 1 o'clock. With the longer rod he was using (7 ft?), it was about a 4 - 5 ft swing. The interval was maybe 6 - 10 jigs/minute. He'd reel up and re-cast about every minute or two, and otherwise wasn't using the reel. He was casting into the drift; the side we usually throw poppers on. As he usually posts, he seems to prefer the gold-colored hammered diamond jigs, and they weren't the big ones - maybe 200 - 300 or so. It was educational.

    I thought the Milk Crate was ana artistic masterpiece. However, having picked it up, I concurr with some of your self-criticism. As an engineer, though, I can tell you that the road to superior design is littered with $hitty prototypes. Get started on the improved version. Keep the art work. Same show, more go.

    F