Get ’em out, get ’em up

For his butterfly jig action, Capt. Billy Wells uses a 5 ½-foot Shimano Trevalla rod and Shimano Stella loaded with 80-pound PowerPro.

Built with an amazingly flexible tip for heavy jigging without excessive exertion, such specialized jig rods also pack the power to whip a big fish way down deep.

On the bite, Wells said it’s time for battle.

“You really need to stick that hook (firmly) with several hard sets, and then maintain the pressure,” he said. “This is where your braided line is helpful.

“I use 80-pound braid, and I tighten down my drag.”

Past the solid hook set, your sole objective is halting the fish’s forward progress. Whether it’s a reel stripped by a blazing tuna or a line snapped on a rig leg, you simply must put the brakes on your fish.

Strong side pressure is the most-basic tactic. Lean away from the fish and hold the rod tip at a high angle. Direct vertical pressure isn’t necessarily wrong, but this just creates a tug-of-war between you and the fish.

It’s better to add the challenge of directional pressure, as this forces the fish to fight the vertical lift as well as the diagonal influence.

Also, do what you can to increase the angle by running to the other end of the boat or moving the boat away from the rig, wreck or whatever structure you’re jigging.

Motor drifting by a rig or backing into the fishing zone affords you the advantage of surging away from the structure when someone hooks a big fish.

When working the rigs for big redfish, Capt. David Iverson starts upcurrent of a rig and uses his trolling motor for controlled drifts past the structure. Minor adjustments keep him at a good fishing proximity with the proper angles for pulling fish out of the structure.

About David A. Brown 323 Articles
A full-time freelance writer specializing in sport fishing, David A. Brown splits his time between journalism and marketing communications