Fall Striped Bass: The Bucktail Jig
The Fall striped Bass migration is about to begin. About 90 percent of the fishing I do through out the year is with jigs and soft plastic baits. Over the next week I will be doing a series of short blogs outlining some techniques I use with jigs and soft plastic baits that will hopefully help you land more striped bass this Fall.
The Bucktail Jig
The bucktail jig is the most popular method with inshore anglers to catch striped bass from a boat, kayak or the surf. A basic setup for boat or kayak fishing would be a fast action 7 to 7 1/2 foot rod rated for 1/2 to 1 1/2 lures. I use a 4000 size reel filled with 20 pound Power Pro or Sufix braid. I tie on 4 to 5 feet of 30 pound fluorocarbon leader with a Uni to Uni knot. To make sure I get the proper action out of the bucktail jig I tie it on the leader with a loop knot or use a clip like the Tactical Anglers clip. I use Uncle Josh Split Tail Sea Rind or 5 or 6 inch curly tail grub style soft plastic baits. I prefer the soft plastic baits and will switch to the Sea Rind if the bluefish are tearing the plastics apart.
Start by picking out a the lightest bucktail jig that will hold the bottom. A jig that is to light will not make it to the bottom and be swept away by the current and a jig that is to heavy will limit the action of the jig. I usually start fishing the marsh banks, I will cast parallel to the marsh bank up tide let the jig sink to the bottom and crank it back only fast enough so that the jig is swimming near the bottom. You can give the jig a couple of twitches on the retrieve but it is not necessary . If you can’t cast parallel to the marsh bank you can cast toward it. The bucktail jig also works great when casting under a bridge or working the flats.
The bucktail jig is the 1st lure taken out of most surf fishermen’s surf bag when they hit the beach. It cast like a rocket so you can get the jig past the breaking waves. When fishing from the surf I prefer the Uncle Josh Sea Rind over the soft plastic baits, it’s more durable and the action of the pork rind in the waves drives the stripers wild. When surf fishing you also pick out the lightest jig that will hold the bottom. The retrieve is simple, just crank it in fast enough so that it swims just off the bottom.
The bucktail jig looks like nothing that swims in the water but imitates everything. You can get bucktail jigs with a lot of hair tied on that will give the stripers a bait fish profile or one that is sparsely tied to imitate an eel. As far as colors go I use white, chartreuse and pink with white being the color I use 75 percent of the time. When fishing for striped bass don’t overlook the simple bucktail jig. It’s not the number one lure for striped bass for nothing.
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