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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Jigging in Cancun…finally!

Well it has been a long summer, and with the cold weather approaching and a scheduled business trip to Cancun I decided to make some calls to see if there was any jigging to be had. In years past I have avoided going to Cancun for vacation and a big reason for that is that I haven't found a good charter boat that really likes or knows what they are doing when it comes to jigging. Frankly, there are a lot of "take a gringo for a ride" outfits out there and so I was skeptical that I would find anything.

After some digging, I did come across one that looked promising- Kianah's Sportfishing Cancun. Still skeptical, I emailed Alex Ojeda ( the owner to pressure test their claim to knowing about jigging. Well wouldn't you know he emailed me right back with a direct phone number, so I called him to get the scoop. Alex explained that they have been jigging there for a number of years, and that they are all set up for it. They outfit the boat with great conventional gear (Avet, Accurate, etc) and have enough OTI jigs to sink a small barge…this was getting good. There was one small warning that he did leave me with though- the good jigging season really doesn't start until November, at which point it lasts through the springtime.

Well what was I going to do, just sit in my hotel room? Obviously not. We set a date and time and I was off to get my gear ready. Because we were going to be jigging in deeper water (300-400 feet) with fast current I brought along mostly longer, bottom-weighted jigs like Nagamasas, Jack Knives, and Long Hammers as well as some others like Flat Sides, Labos, and Andamens. The weights ranged from 250-400 grams. I paired these jigs with two set ups- Stella 8k with a No Limits spool on my 52EX, and a 20k on my custom 450g Synit.

Arriving at the boat, I was greeted by the captain, two mates, and two others who would be joining us. One was Edwin Castro, a self-described jigging addict, and the other was Gustavo Silva Mendoza, a teacher and proprietor of a local tackle shop called El Sabalo Cancun. With introductions out of the way we shoved off for the 45 minute ride to the drop.

Upon arrival we were told "Listo!" (ready), so we dropped…and dropped…and dropped…and dropped. The combination of deep water, 15kt wind, and a fast drift was making a proper drop very difficult. Eventually I found a combination that worked and I was able to hit bottom at a reasonable angle. The first few hours were brutal- ripping 300-400 gram jigs through 400 feet of water…and all without much to show for our efforts. This is when the captain stepped up and told us to reel in (I actually half expected the old "Well, that's fishing amigo. Time to head in." line to be the next thing out of his mouth). He then pointed the boat in the opposite direction as home and hit the throttles.

We ran for another 30-40 minutes to another drop, and this one looked good immediately- the screen lit up and I knew it was what we had been looking for. About half way up I got hit and immediately felt the familiar tuna tempo on the other end of the line. When this little blackfin came up I instantly knew why marlin prowl these waters- it looked like a little snack with fins.

After getting set back up I dropped to the bottom and was instantly hit. The fish pulled line and then almost felt like it went slack. Reeling like mad I was able to take the slack out and got tight on it again.
This fight was much different and had both myself and the crew playing guessing games on what it was. When we got color the captain yelled "Sierra!". I held my breath- I knew that with 80# flouro the chances of the fish making it to gaff was slim. Luckily the fish cooperated, and as the mate pulled it over the side the others looked at me and said "Bueno suerte!" (essentially, 'that was lucky!')

We made a steady pick of fish on this reef for a little while before Edwin hooked up to something more substantial. His rod doubled over and started screaming. With some sizable head shakes it was back to the guessing game for all of us…that is until the fish broke the surface. "Vela!" was the call all around…it was a sailfish! Edwin fought the fish for a few minutes, but unfortunately it was not to be. During one of its many somersalts across the surface, the fish threw the hook. Edwin was bummed about the loss, but psyched for the hook up.

As the day was winding down I knew that my chances of finding an AJ were starting to dwindle. Not looking up at the captain for fear that he would call the day at any minute I continued to drop and rip. During one of the pauses in the retrieve, the donkey attacked. While it was no monster, it put up a great fight (especially after ripping heavy jigs all day) and was a perfect way to end the fishing day.

The guys on board told me that during the regular season, anglers can expect as many as 20 of these fish per day…each.

Feeling good about pulling out a great off-season day, the captain pointed to boat home and hit the throttles.

Back at the dock, we made Blackfin and King Mack ceviche, shared a couple of cervesas, and toasted to our catch and the great day on the water.

So I am excited to report that there is one more spot that we, as jiggers, can put on the map of places to go. Cancun has always offered great things for our better halves- shopping, great hotels, beautiful water- but now it offers us the possibility of getting out to do some jigging too. I know that this will not be my last time jigging in Cancun.



Friday, May 21, 2010

Studio Ocean Mark 16000 No Limits

Alright guys, this is something that you guys might want to know when buying this upgrade spool. I got my spool from Paul at Saltywater yesterday and was looking at it and as many of you guys know, I'm very picky and look at everything carefully, well when I was looking at the spool (from the front) it looks oval and NOT ROUNDED (Circle). If someone get this same spool and it does look weird then it is ok. Here is the translation from Studio Ocean Mark Website. The Spool is call "Daen Ring" OVAL SHAPED SCANDIUM SPOOL RING. "During casting, PE line often has trouble such as wrapping on the guides as well as backlashing. We were able to correct this problem with our new design. By using this scandium material we were able to make the spool ring not only lighter but incredibly strong." If you guys look at the picture carefully you will see that it is oval. The widest part of the spool is about 3mm wider than the narrowest part. Keep in mind this is only limit to "THE NO LIMITS" Spool.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Yellow Gold Video

Here is the video from my recent trip to Mexico and the fertile waters of El Banco. Enjoy!


Yellow Gold from Jigstrong on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

San Pancho Mexico Yellowfin Report

Hello everyone, I hope that this report finds you all well and either resting up from an outing on the water or getting ready for one. For me, I'm experiencing the former at the moment- resting up from a trip to Puerto Vallarta and the waters off of El Banco.

With me on this trip was my wife Nansea as well as two of my best friends Pete and Deke, along with their wives. For anyone that doesn't know me, I prefer to get off of the beaten path when we travel and this trip was to take us to San Pancho (San Francisco formally), a sleepy little fishing village just North of Punta de Mita and Puerto Vallarta.

In order to get there we flew into PV and instead of racing out of town we decided to spend the night at Marina Vallarta. For anyone who hasn't been it's a cool little spot with plenty of different hotels/condos for rent. The food is great, the margaritas are strong, and the vibe is terrific.

The view from our deck at the Flamingo Hotel

After a day of travel we decided to grab some provisions, toast the first sunset of the trip, and share some laughs.

Myself, Deke, and Pete

In the morning it was off to San Pancho so we loaded up the rental and hit the road. The ride was actually much shorter than we had expected and within an hour of travel time we were rolling into our little town for the week. This is downtown San Pancho…at rush hour…in a traffic jam.

The meter maids will really sneak up on you down here too

Picking our way through and out of town we made it to our house- Casa Canto del Mar

View from the road below

From the top floor

The pool side nap zone

The pool

And finally the tackle shop

After settling in it was once again time to relax, grab a cocktail, and salute the sunset before hitting the sack for the fishing that would follow.

Early the next morning we shoved off for Punta de Mita (about a 45 minute drive). One note for anyone who might venture down to San Pancho: there is an hour time difference between San Pancho time and Punta de Mita time so be sure to take that into account. For us that meant leaving at 5:15 to be there by 7am even though it was a short ride.

This was to be the first of three days of fishing with Lora of Fortuna Sportfishing, but unfortunately the fishing gods…or rather the engine gods had other ideas for us. We did make it out for a short bit, but one bum engine made it a no go and with the winds picking up we called it a day. Final tally for day 1 was a couple of flip flop mahi.

After Lora took a day to make arrangements for another boat, we headed out with reports of hungry yellowfin at El Banco.

We arrived early to a new boat, calm winds, and a fair tide.

While the wind was sputtering, there was still a residual sea and a few areas that the winds wouldn't give up so it was slow going, but after a few hours we reached the grounds and were greeted by birds, flying fish, and yellowfin that were trying their best to take flight.

I was first up, put a Volador right in front of the mark, and was rewarded with an early morning Stella song before this 70# fish hit the deck.

We then casted a bunch of different things without luck before I put on a Shimano Ocea Pencil Bluefin Tuna and hooked up again. Pete, Deke, and myself all took turns fighting this fish and it gave us all a new respect for yellowfin.

After that the casting bite shut down so we tried jigging with regular jigs as well as Lucanus but had no love. Deke and Pete both wanted to put a bend in their new jigging rods (Pete bought a WGJ and Deke built his first jigging rod for the trip) so Lora hooked them up with some caballitos and we found the right school. Pete and Deke doubled up and fighting their fish.

It was a heck of a day and we had an absolute blast. The final tally for the day was 5 for 5 on yellowfin ranging from 70-120#. The gear we fought on was Zenaq 76-7/Stella 10000XG, a WGJ/Saltiga 40, and a custom/Saltiga 40.

This trip gave us all a new appreciation for what yellowfin in deep water can do, and for the importance of hiring a good captain. Even though we wouldn't make it out for a third day as Lora was trying to get his boat squared away, he worked his tail off to put us on the right fish- Thank you Lora!

After getting back to Casa Canto del Mar we saluted our quarry for a good fight and a lifetime of memories, poured a cocktail, and enjoyed the fruits of our labor and another sunset.

In my mind, San Pancho, Punta de Mita, and Captain Lora is a winning combination and I can't wait to hit the numbers again.



Thursday, March 18, 2010

CITES Listing Approved by US: UPDATE

Update: UN Rejects the CITES listing and therefore the international trade of bluefin. Read more here.

Well, today the US decided to throw their name in the hat in support of a CITES listing for bluefin tuna which would ban international trade of the species.

See this article for more details.

This is very unfortunate for US fishermen as we have been abiding by all of the rules set forth by ICAAT while the countries in the Eastern Atlantic have not. It seems that we are now paying the price for others' irresponsibility.

It is unclear as to how this will effect the domestic commercial fishery or the recreational fishery at this point.

We will be watching this one closely and will be sure to update as we learn more.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fighting Big Tuna

Everything in life demands planning. Whether you're mapping out your day's activities, creating a business plan, or fighting a fish- you are always better if you have a plan of attack and strategy. I have caught many big tuna in Cape Cod, but I have to say that I was not prepared for how different tuna in North Carolina fight.

What are the differences you may ask?

The most significant is water depth: in Cape Cod depths range anywhere from 50'-400'. In Hatteras the water can be as deep as 900'.

Water Temps: in Cape Cod the water averages in the 60's- in Hatteras the water is in the 70's.

Fish Size: In the Cape, fish generally range from 64" and up- in Hatteras they are averaging 69" and up.

On our first trip to Hatteras I was amazed at how hard these fish fought, and was excited to observe that they all seemed to act the same way at certain points of the fight. With that in mind I decided to create a better game plan for the NC fish.

Here is what I did and why. Please note that this is just my game plan and what I feel comfortable doing- take these ideas or leave them as you see fit. For me these tactics have made a world of difference- we went from 3 for 8 on one trip to 12 for 15 on the last trip.

Step 1: Burn baby burn
Situation: First run following the hook up
Action: I set my drags to 15-18 pounds.
Reason: at this low setting they will rip off line and move far away from boat. I do this because I want them to burn themselves out. In NC I've noticed that they peel off about 150-200 yards of line. Once they slow down I will bump my drag up to recover line from the initial run.

Step 2: Settling In
Situation: Once you've settled in above the fish it will likely be around 60-100' under the boat. At this depth the fast current will take hold of the fish. IT WILL FEEL IMPOSSIBLE TO MOVE THE TUNA AT THIS POINT. If you don't do something to change things up, it will be you who will burn out- the tuna will swim in the oxygen rich warm waters and won't move.
Action: Palm the spool
Reason: By palming the spool you will eventually turn the fish and break his stronghold. I don't believe in giving back line once i get it. By working the angles you will eventually get their head.

Step 3: The end game
Situation: The fish is at color and in circles but you can't get it to come up that last 10 feet.
Action: As the fish moves from the 12 o'clock position to the 6 o'clock position I short pump the the fish.
Reason: This will gain line as the fish swims towards you. When you hit the 6 o'clock position and the fish starts swimming out and away from you, palm the spool. It is very important not to give up line here or you will just keep going in circles. At this point the fish will have less line to work with, and with none going back out the fish will come up towards the surface. Repeating this on every circle will quickly have the fish in gaffing range.

Hopefully whatever strategy you put in place will work for you. If for any reason it doesn't, however, give this game plan a try. Tight lines & screaming drags from

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

NC Bluefin ... Part 2

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ A common sound on the water although Adam would say that was me snoring the night before. LOL I was really excited to get to fish with such great anglers such as John Flores, Adam and Dante. They each have their own styles and man can they fish. They get all the credit for a great day on the water. Seriously I was wondering how I would even fare with these heavy hitters on the boat with me. John as you know is the most complete angler I have fished with other than Sami. Dante can bring the f*** heat to a fish in short time and Adam kicked ass on some really big fish on his first tuna jigging trip and although he never jigged tuna before his fishing background reads like a world tour highlight reel. We left at 5am out of Hatteras with high hopes and captain Dan, first stop it was all albacore so we went to the captains suggested spot based on temps and history. We were not disappointed. I was slammed immediately followed by John, Dante & Adam. We release Johns fish, then Dantes fish and Adam and I fought on. We decided to take my fish as Adam was having reel issues and soon after I boated my first 70" tuna of the season Basically all day it was non stop action of being lit up, but in the end I am proud to say our group went 12 for 15 on all fish over 67". Only two fish were lost and one was eaten by a hungry shark. Some Hightlights - we went 12 for 15 - I had had 4 fish including a 70" fish - John Flores had 3 fish including a 71" 200 pound brute - Dante had 4 fish and really beat their asses - Adam had 1 fish in the 70" class but an assist on several others Personally I enjoyed the company of my friends & my Bojangles fried chicken

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Shirts and Hats are on their way!

For those of you who have been patiently waiting to get your hands on Jigstrong gear, the wait is almost over. We just gave final approval for a shipment of hats and shirts and they will be here in less than 2 weeks!

Here is a little taste…

We hope you like them!

Team Jigstrong

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Jigstrong Takes on NC Bluefin

Oh the memories lasted all offseason, its been way too long, it almost feels like forever since the last time I was offshore. The distinctive sound of a Shimano Stella being dumped by an unknown pelagic deep below, that distinctive ting of tightly spooled braid going through your guides, the smell of the salt air during grey light hours and most of all the riveting pain that pushes you to near exhaustion. All of these memories came absolutely rushing back in warp speed as I found myself attached to some angry bluefin tunas off the fishy waters of Hatteras North Carolina.

Anticipation & excitement turned quickly into pain & sweat which then turned into heartbreak & joy all with the drop of a 230g jig

OK, let me back up a moment. I was invited last minute on a jigging trip with several high profile jiggers such as Kilsong from and Sami from saltywater tackle, also joining us was a new tuna jigging addict Johnathan from Noreast. We had booked Captain Dan from the Tuna Duck Tuna Duck Charters and I couldnt be more impressed with his operation. He runs a custom 50' Carolina sportfisher and certainly knows where to find these fish. One of the finer captains I have had the pleasure of fishing with

We headed out of the Hatteras inlet around 5am and made our way to the grounds when Capatin Dan immediately noticed porpoise, he instructed us to drop and within seconds Kilsong was hooked up.Over teh next several hours over 8 tuna were hooked of which 3 were released. We had many heartbreaks but a lot of joy as well. It was a banner day for all

Until next weeks reports tightlines and screaming drags ......

Team Jigstrong

Kilsong hooked up with the first of many tuna

Johnathan and his first tuna

Glenn Hooked up

Sami Hooked up

Laying the wood to a tuna

Glenn and his Tuna

Doubled up