If it looks like a sardine, it must be a sardine
A big pack of sardines rush to the surface, trying to flee from the hungry false albacores – even though I’d only just opened my tackle box and I already knew exactly what jig to reach for.
Most of the time, the saltwater species I hunt tend to home in on long jigs like the needlejig, but on a recent trip when I could see that the water was just full of sardines, there was only one lure choice, the 3D Slim Jig Minnow. This lure has the exact body profile of a sardine, and when you know that a particular baitfish is present in the water, it’s always very wise to try and imitate it. I began casting an 80g version on the lure in sardine colour and as soon as I started to jig it quickly, my rod suddenly bent away from me as a furious and aggressive false albacore was hooked – it was an awesome fight.
For me, this is the ultimate thrill of shore jigging. You see nothing, you feel nothing and then suddenly a massive strike almost makes your heart stop.
I landed the albacore and just two casts later while my jig was on the way down it suddenly stopped. I set the hook and a beautiful barracuda that attacked it on the fall was hooked. With this style of fishing, it is really important to know the depth and how many seconds your jig needs to get there, so you can recognise an early stop as a strike.
I left the spot and came back again in the afternoon, but the pelagic species where not present (probably they followed the sardine packs), so I started shore jigging, focusing near the bottom. This time I used the 100gr Slim Jig minnow, again in sardine colour, so I could overpower the medium strength currents that had appeared. After some hours, a nice grouper and a beautiful snapper joined me, offering some great moments and adrenaline shots. For them, the presence of my jig looked like a sardine that got left behind from the shoal, and it’s well known to saltwater anglers that any fish that is dropped from the pack, is a must-eat target for predators.
That was evident with the grouper that came flying up from the bottom and hit my jig mid water. Some say fishing is luck – I say fishing is a mix of observation, perception and persistence. What do you believe?