18 May, 2007

Jigging Ikan Timah Laut Hokaido
















Pulled a 24 hour run to Mie Prefeture this past weekend to get in on some of the country’s best ribbon fish angling. Well, to make a long story short, we came back with full cooler boxes and lots of smiles. Tired out as I am two days after making the trip, I’d do it again this weekend if my friends said they wanted to give it another go.

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I had never seen or heard of a ribbon fish prior to coming to Japan. As it turns out these guys live all over the world. My uncle back home was telling me he remembered catching a few in some fishing holes back in coastal Louisiana. Another buddy of mine told me that ribbon fish are a choice bait for catching king mackeral in Florida. Well here’s a new twist. Here in Japan, ribbon fish are highly sought after game. They’re insanely fun to catch, and really good eating. As of recent I’ve come to enjoy going fishing for these guys more than seabass.

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Ribbon fish can be taken pretty much year around, but they depending on the time of year they’ll be at different depths. I’m still trying to get a full sense of where and when it’s best to target them, because I keep hearing completely different explanations from different ‘experts’ I talk to. The thing I do notice about ribbon fish behavior is that they tend to be concentrated at a very thin depth range. For example, if the captain says he sees the fish 10 meters from the seafloor, he means at exactly ten meters, and not anywhere above or below that depth. I’m thinking this is because ribbon fish don’t swim parallel to the seafloor or surface, but rather ’stand up’ in the sense that their natural swimming postion is perpendicular to the seafloor.
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Anyway, jigging for tachiuo, as they are called in Japanese, is a little more challenging than catching seabass for the above mentioned reasons and a few others. I personally find this species to be a little more selective about what it bites into and doesnt. That could be just my own imagination though.
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Tacklewise, tachiuo anglers often use heavier jigs which are designed a little different from the types used for seabass fishing. Of course heavier jig weights are necessary in order to get down deeper to where the fish are, but also to keep the attitude of the jig more vertically oriented. Because ribbon fish are concentrated in very specific depth ranges, it’s not necessary to have your jig bouncing as diagonally as ones does with other types of jigging. Intead one simply needs to figure out exactly where the fish are, drop to that depth and bounce the jig around in front of them.
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Ribbon fish strike the center of their pray basically snapping it in half. Tachiou jigs are designed with rings to attach hooks at both the center and the rear. This is done to have hooks placed near where the fish is likely to strike and to keep the head of the fish as far away from the leader as possible. Their sharp teeth will bite through really thick leader and even braid. Another difference is that treble hooks are used instead of your typical braided assists. If you take a look at the morphology of these critters it’s easy to see why.
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Ribbon fishing is done with light tackle. Basically the same types of bay jigging tackle I’ve spoken about in previous posts. Most folks use PE in the 0.8 to 1.5 range, but I’ve seen some guys who jig offshore using 1.5 to 3 on Ocea Jiggers and Saltigas. I prefer to use bait reels over spin gear because I can control how fast line comes of the spool and feel more strikes on the drop, which occur very frequently. Spin gear is effective for tachiwo, but I’ve found it to be a little more troublesome.
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I’m hoping to get out for some more of these guys in the coming weeks. If anyone is interested I may do a follow up post with some more details and finer points of tachiuo fishing. Be cool. Del, Japan.

5 comments:

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