By Gene Kira, April 14, 2003, as published in Western Outdoor News:
Since the column about Luis Maciel's tuna jig appeared in this space last month, an incredible number of emails and faxes have poured in about it, from all over the U.S., Europe, the Philippines, and even New Zealand.
But, all to no avail.
Luis Maciel's mystery jig is still a mystery.
This slender chrome jig, if you will recall, was given to me by fishing guide Luis Maciel of the sportfishing waters around Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Mexico, and I described it as the most perfect tuna fishing jig I'd ever seen. That was Luis' opinion, too, and he was desperate to get more of them.
Many sharp-eyed subscribers have sent in the names of similar jigs, but so far, nobody has come up with the source of this perfectly-proportioned little jewel.
Here are the specs: Length, exactly five inches, plus rings and hook. Width, 5/8th inch. Depth, 5/16th inch. Weight, 76.0 grams (2.68 ounces), plus hook. Markings, "S&G VK3."
No, it isn't a Swedish Pimple, a Viking Cod Jig, and Atom Tackle VI-KE4, a Viking Herring, or any of a dozen other possibilities.
There was one exciting reference sent in, an internet posting by someone with the handle "jj" who caught bluefish with an "s&g viking jig" on the Flamingo III in August of 1999, at "sandy hook / raitinbay," presumably New Jersey. But alas, "jj's" posted email address was kaput.
More searching turned up a really fascinating company in Sweden that sells a combination of fishing tackle and Viagra! Hmmm...Cabela's, are you listening?
Another blind alley led to the "Viking Jig," described as a lively dance number composed by the apparently legendary Newfoundland artist, Minnie White, who has been called "the first lady of Newfoundland accordion." (I am not making this stuff up.)
And another enticingly cryptic reference said simply: "Model jig dari norwegia adalah diamond shaped dan sampai sekarang populer disebut 'viking jig'." Sounds good, amigo!
There seems to be some kind of karma vortex swirling about this Maciel jig. After sending it back to Luis last month, an email arrived from someone who fished with him and said that Luis had lost it on a big tuna!
In a panic, I called Zihuatanejo and confirmed (whew!), that Luis still, in fact, had this one jig left.
This last and final jig just arrived back here, via DHL, and we're now looking for somebody to make some quality reproductions for Luis (plus a few extras, of course).
Here are some things to keep in mind when fishing for tuna with this family of very small sling jigs, which includes such fine weapons as the Luhr Jensen Stinger.
First, the main problem is that these lures are so small, it is difficult to fish them with heavy line or leader. And since they are so small, they often get inhaled deep, and the line wears through where it rubs in the corner of the fish's mouth. To fix this problem, I talked to Dennis Yamamoto of Owner Hooks, and we're going to try some jigs rigged with their Mutu circle hooks, which should reduce this problem.
And, combining my own observations with those of Luis Maciel, the best way to use these small sling jigs on tuna is to cast them out, let them sink a couple of feet, and wind them back in with a slow, steady retrieve. No jerking, no sweeping the rod, no nothing. Just a slow, steady retrieve. What this does is make the lure swim back toward you with its nose high, and its tail hanging down, wiggling slightly. With the jig's particular silhouette, this of course, looks just like a drowning anchovy or similar forage bait fish.
I've found this is also a good fishing technique when using sling jigs on the bottom. Cast way out, let it sink, and steadily retrieve a foot or two off the bottom. No bounce, or yo-yo, or anything. Just wind very carefully so it hugs the bottom with its nose high and tail hanging down. This is deadly on everything from lingcod, to bigmouth bastards, to yellowtail.
(Related Ixtapa Zihuatanejo articles and reports may be found at Mexfish.com's main Ixtapa Zihuatanejo information page. See weekly fishing news, photos, and reports from the major sportfishing vacation areas of Mexico including the Ixtapa Zihuatanejo area in "Mexico Fishing News.")