As easy as many fishermen believe it is to catch bluefish at this time of the season at the Mud Buoy, there are still a good number of fishermen who do not know what to use and or how to tweak the tubes on their diamond jigs to catch a fish some call, "the easiest fish to put in the pail."
During the seventies, eighties and early nineties, there were a few notable changes to the classic diamond jig, most notably the flattening of the diamond shape, and the jig casting company, S&G did with their jigs, putting a slight bend into the jig ( this increased the fluttering of the jig as it goes down through the water column).
The most popular colors used for blue fishing at that time also gradually transitioned from the "dark" forrest green and firehouse red color to the more brilliant "flo" green and red that are still the most commonly used colors to this day.
These two changes in both the shape of the diamond jig as well as the color used on the tubing has helped make it easier for fishermen to catch bluefish. But some fishermen still tinker around and continue to tweak what they can do with the traditional diamond jig and over the past few years the most notable improvement was the addition of bead chain connecting the hook to the diamond jig along with what was found a little surprising, a new group of flo colors that now seem to out fish the flo green and red colors!
It brings me to what the JIG MAKER from the BAY showed me just yesterday, and when it comes to squidding and jigging for bluefish and stripers on a party boat, there are very few if any that are much better...well other then the "Fish-Man", Mr. Tony himself who uses the same tackle being shown here.
For the past month at the MUD BUOY, the biggest bluefish we have seen in a few decades have set up in the area. Bluefish up and slightly over 20 pounds have been documented to have been landed, and I don't count how many times I have seen and heard fishermen weighting up bluefish that tip the scale at over 19 pounds.
So what brought these mega-sized bluefish to this area of the NY BIGHT in September? One of Natures-Twinkies, sand eels and good size too!
With the bluefish now digging into sand eels, we put away our gold and chrome KROC spoon, and pull out our diamond jigs in 4 oz, or when the wind is moving the boat along on the drift, the 6 oz size diamond jig.
Lets take a look at the setups that the JIG MAKER is using right now.
Outfit 1 - GOLD HAMMERED 4 oz DIAMOND JIG:
Outfit 2 - STANDARD CHROME PLATED A4:
Before we go any further, I should point out that on both these rigs, the surgical tube color is FLO ORANGE, and the yellowish tone you see is due to the camera not accurately capturing the true color (of course blame your equipment!) The color preferred at this time is the FLO ORANGE color.
To clarify a question or two here, right now it seems to not matter what color or surface (hammered or smooth) you have to use with your diamond jig. What is more important then the gold or chrome plating or the surface of the jig, is the next few points in the following images.
Due to the unusually large size of these bluefish, you will lose a few diamond jigs to bluefish engulfing your whole rig. One of the tricks besides using bead chain, is to use a heavy duty split ring to connect the swivel to the bead chain, lengthening the profile of your diamond jig and tube. It does make a difference and that is why you will see diamond jigs rigged this way when your fishing for big bluefish on the BROOKLYN VI.
Even with the swivel-bead chain split ring connection to lengthen the profile of the jig, bluefish still have a propensity of latching onto the diamond jig itself. Here it can be clearly seen.
There is another little tweak and a few fishermen will know that by increasing the bend in the bent Limerick style hook, it will effect the rotation of the hook...but more important is in either sliding down the tubing down the hook which increases the rotation of the tube or pushing the tubing further up on the bent limerick hook which decreases the rotation of the hook.
Here the dynamics of a friction on a rubber surgical tube being pulled through the water increases or decreases the spinning of the tube, somewhat akin to a "drill bit" rotating, but you can personally vary the rotations of the tube on your jig.
Some fishermen are keenly aware of this and you will notice this when you see fishermen with the tube in their hand, adjusting the tubing to impart a particular action.
I do realize that a few fishermen will ask if this is really necessary to do for catching the big bluefish that are at the Mud Buoy?
I retort to these same fishermen, "don't you remember how tough it was to catch just a handful of bluefish a few weeks ago?" More so though, is that you will definitely get more pick-ups of your jig when your squidding this setup. For a moment if you are in the pool, wouldn't this increase the odds of you catching the biggest bluefish of the day?
Here is one more little tip that the JIG MAKER is passing along, and that is to use circle hooks for baiting bluefish. I know for many this sounds strange, but for the last two seasons, the boys not only on the BROOKLYN VI, but on a few other boats have been using circle hooks with wire for bluefish. For those who question why, take a close look at the image below. So far this wired-circle bluefish hook rig has been used on the last two bleufish trips!
For some reason there is much less chances of kinking the wire when using a circle hook....and as the JIG MAKER said, even the SEA QUEEN in the BAY has been using circle hooks for striped bass at night due to increase success in getting hooked fish into the boat.
Keep in mind that even with your diamond jig setup in this manner, pay attention to the SPEED which you are reeling in your jig. Notice when you are getting hits, and when your not getting hits and other fishermen are still catching fish. It is really important, and the speed at which you squid your jig in, can make a very big difference in what you put into the fish barrel, cooler, or your pail at the end of the trip.
Many thanks to Philly Salvato and Captain Michael Ardolino for getting me these pictures while they were fishing today on the BROOKLYN VI: