JAPANESE STYLE JIGGING FOR
YELLOWTAIL AT THE MIDRIFF ISLANDS
June 17-23, 2007, Midriff Islands jig fishing for yellowtail on the panga mothership the Erik, Kil Song, San Felipe, Baja fishing, Mexico:
I returned from a 6-day panga mothership trip on the charter boat Erik out of San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico, to fish Sea of Cortez.
I believe this was the first-ever San Felipe panga mothership charter by East Coast fishermen. All of 20 guys flew from the East Coast to San Diego and went down to San Felipe, Baja, on a chartered bus.
The bottom fishing at the Midriff Islands was a little disappointment in terms of big fish. We did not land any big grouper, pargo or giant seabass. Actually we couldn't fish where big ones were, for various reasons.
However we had a better quality of yellowtail on this trip than on last year's. As we could make baits on this trip, we enjoyed live bait fishing for cabrilla in shallow water which many members loved. We actually saw big cabrilla take a live mackerel and head to the rocks in disregard of high drags on our reels in clear shallow water. It was simply fun.
My highlight of the trip was to experiment with many different jigs to catch nice yellowtail. I tried some Japanese knife jigs but I switched over to other small jigs as other guys got hit on Salas 6X Jr. or diamond jigs and I didn't. I gave one 6 ounce hammered diamond jig to Louis, my guide and I used a Japanese style long jig. When he got 5 cabrilla on the jig while I got only one, I had to switch.
Mike said he had several hit when dropping a Salas 6X Jr with colors he painted himself. It is no wonder because the Salas jig gives lots of side kick action when dropped which can attract yellowtail though it is slow to get down to the bottom. Steady fast cranking get bites by yellowtail, but more hits were reported when they gave erratic action like Japanese style jigging.
My fishing partner Tom got a hit when he used the crank and stop technique. Dave got a hit when he moved his rods up and down as in cod jigging near the bottom. I observed the most consistent producer was the Salas 6X jr followed by hammered diamond jigs until I used 80g Smith's Metal Bait. The small Smith's Metal Bait jig was a yellowtail killer on the trip. I caught them when sinking or when cranking fast. Neil got a yellowtail on his popper which he made himself.
One of the most interesting observations of the trip is how Louis, my guide, jigged. I read that Baja fishermen have been using Japanese style jigging way before Japanese fishermen introduced their jigging technique to the world. I finally could witness how a Mexican fisherman uses exactly the same technique as you see on Shimano's butterfly jigging system video.
Louis lowered his rod tip and dropped a jig to the bottom. And he cranked as fast as he can while moving rod up and down very rapidly with his left hand. That is exactly how Japanese guys makes short jerk jigging.
Big thanks to Dennis Braid of Braid Products for providing jigs for our trip.
The bus service was excellent. They picked us up at San Diego airport and drove to San Felipe. On the way to San Felipe, we opted to drive through Ensenada for a sightseeing and they didn't change any extra for that. After we got back to the dock after the trip, the bus waited for us and drove back to a hotel near San Diego airport. My friend Jack arranged the bus service and he chose the bus service after comparing driving records of each bus company. They have two drivers on the bus and they are very professional.
(See "Mexico Fishing News" online for current fishing reports, photos, weather, and water temperatures from San Felipe and other major Mexican sportfishing areas. Vacation travel articles, fishing maps and seasonal calendars, and fishing related information for San Felipe may be found at Mexfish.com's main San Felipe page.