Let me start off with a question. Have you ever tried a bucktail jig in the ocean? Yes, the same one you see on the shelves in every tackle shop across the country. Parts of the military, Sailors, Pilots, Forward Observers, etc…were issued bucktail jigs with hand lines for survival during WW2 because of the effectiveness they had to catch fish. Many a sailor and soldier since that time (Including myself) never left home without a few tucked away in their rucksack. Manufacturers such as, Spro, Blue Water Candy, Strike King…etc… are great choices. You want the quality of a sharp strong hook and a good amount of skirted material that can hold up to getting struck at numerous times. Bucktails work great with or without a bait. Whether it’s loaded with Fishbites molded shrimp, Gulp or a plastic bait tipped with a scent such as, Procure, they work. They are a jig head with deer hair, nylon or other material used as a skirt attached. When the rod tip is pulled slowly through the water, once stopped, the skirt will open and present itself as a larger bait fish.
Bucktail jigs are probably one of the most versatile lures you can have in your tackle box. They’re great in shallow or deep water when fishing on the bottom. Flounder, Black Sea bass, Amberjacks, Cobia, Grouper, Snapper and more have all fallen for a bucktail. Some people have had success trolling them as well. Not sure if color matters as much as the action. Although, white and pink seems to be the choice of color for most. The trick is not presenting it as a jig, but rather as a bait fish. If fishing at night, early morning or deep water where there’s little to no sun light, I prefer one that glows. In the warmer months, if you’ve looked in the water at night and noticed what looked like a chem light trail scurrying off, chances are good it was a wounded bait fish. Those are most likely to be the work of bio-luminescent bacteria – microbes which will attach themselves to the wounds of a fish. If not careful, predators will spot the chartreuse looking glow and hone in for a easy meal. Otherwise, we use the standard white, pink or chartreuse colors with
just enough weight to keep it working the bottom. Bucktails will require some effort on the anglers’ part for action to get a strike. Bouncing it closely off the bottom and occasionally raising the rod tip higher will help give it a darting, erratic movement to entice a strike. Deep water sizes will probably range from 1-6 oz. jigged off the bottom. You want just enough weight to keep contact with the surface. It depends on the current and speed drift of the boat as to how heavy of a jig you will use. If not feeling the bottom, let out more line. When working with scented artificial baits, it’s important to slow down so fish can find your offering. If targeting flounder around structure, find the sandy or muddy area and bounce it off the bottom by lifting the rod tip about a foot and let it fall naturally (You’ll see a small amount of slack line on the surface as it sinks!) Depending on water clarity and depth, I prefer fluorocarbon leader (length of 3-5′) over the mono leader for the abrasion resistance. Plus, I don’t have to switch out the leaders as much going from dirty stained water to clear water. Remember, if you can see your leader material under the water, so can the fish.
We hope you picked up a little more ammo for your tackle box concerning a Bucktail Jig and want to hear any stories of your experience good or bad for the rest of us to learn from. Also, check with your local tackle shops for up to date fishing reports and products that work well with your budget.
Please remember to thank a Veteran and never turn down the opportunity to take a kid fishing.