Get Jiggy With It

Deep jigs for big game.

Is it possible to jig in deep water for big game…and catch as many fish as chummers or trollers? Traditional theory says no way. Jigging is the for-fun tactic-not the fill-the-cooler method. At least, until now. Shimano set out to change the way anglers think with the Butterfly jigging system, and when we experimented with it 50 miles off the coast, it definitely altered our reality. The Butterfly system consists of three parts: the reel, the rod, and the jig. Our test reels were Torsa 16Ns, which are incredibly fast-one turn of the crank takes up an unheard-of 45" of line. They're specifically designed for braid and can hold several hundred yards of 80-pound test. The Trevala rods, meanwhile, have soft tips with intermediate sections below, blending into stiff after sections. The angler drops the jig to the target depth, then lifts the rod with the left hand on the up-crank and drops the rod on the down-crank. The jig darts through the water while the tip of the rod constantly loads and unloads, and the stiffer after section remains ramrod straight, ready for the hit. No matter when it comes full tension is on the line, and hook sets are immediate. Great…but does it work? We first put it to the test by jigging for sea bass, over a wreck in 250' of water. Surprisingly, the jigs outfished cut squid by a ratio of two to one. The tuna were MIA, so instead we tried the unimaginable: deep-dropping jigs in 750' of water. To our surprise, it worked like a charm. This golden tilefish was cranked up from the bottom, on a 9-ounce Butterfly jig that wasn't tipped with bait or otherwise scented at all. It hit the scales at 52 pounds, a mere 7 pounds shy of the IGFA world record-a stunning catch.