Offshore Jigging Addict
Jim started his saltwater jigging addiction some 15 years ago when he was based in Sydney. A six year stint based in New Zealand only fuelled the fire until his return to Australia early in 2020. Now based in Brisbane, Jim fishes the reefs off Cape Moreton for kingfish, amberjack, snapper, pearl perch and numerous other species.
Jim’s Cape Moreton Kingfish Jigging Tips
- Jim fishes the reefs off Cape Moreton from 80m in depth and deeper. These reefs don’t have the sharp relief that Sydney or New Zealand reefs have, they’re typically not much more than 3-8 m rises. Bait often sit down current, but the pressure wave in front of the reef can also fish well. Study the Navionics charts looking for potential spots to target.
- Once on the water, use your sounder to locate bait balls, preferably 8-10m or more above the bottom. Tightly packed bait that mark with a sharp face are a good sign as it indicates they are being harassed by predators. Sometimes fish will show on the sounder, but sometimes not. As long as there’s nervous bait Jim is happy to fish.
- Jim will fish any time the weather permits him to get out, but likes the new moon and finds that the solunar tables are pretty effective for predicting hot bites. Avoid the few days after the full moon, they seem to be the hardest fishing.
- Using your coloured line, drop0 the jig to the depth the fish are holding and start working it. If you haven’t had a hit in 10 or so drops, move to another bait school.
- When your jig gets hit by a fish it’s best to do a further 3-4 jigs as this will both set the hook and lift the fish further from the bottom and give the angler a better chance of surviving the initial runs.
- Set the drag heavy (12-14kg) to have any chance of controlling fish. A quality fish will still pull line off the reel quite easily at these settings.
Jim’s Kingfish Jigging Tackle
- It’s super important to have the right gear, it’s near impossible to use these techniques with the wrong gear.
- For beginners, Jim recommends spin gear. A PE 5 or 6 rod that can handle 400g jigs, a quality 8000 to 10000 size reel, multicolour 50-60lb braids and a 4.5m leader of 100-130lb completes the outfit.
Jim’s Top Kingfish Jigs & How To Use Them
- Strong currents can be a challenge off Cape Moreton, so 400g jigs are commonly used. Jim ties his own assist hooks, but if you’re using commercial ones, watch out for those that have flat sided solid rings, as these can cut the leader.
- Tail weighted jigs in the 400 gram range are ideal. Jim’s favourites include the 400g Williamson Benthos (orange or blue/purple), 400g Jigging Master Rocket and 420g Kilwell Broken Arrow.
- The basic techniques is to lift and wind the lure vertically with 1 turn of the handle for each up and down sweep of the rod (ie half a turn on the up stroke and half on the down). With practice the rod can be worked very quickly between 2 and 4 o’clock.
- Sometimes a small squid skirt on the assist hook can sometimes help attract more fish.
- Never tie your leader to the split ring on the lure. The leader should be attached to the solid ring on the assist hook and the jig is attached to the solid ring via the split ring.