Join Date: Jul 2009
my jetty fishing gear and methods
I've fished from piers and jetties in Oregon and Washington for 20+ years,and have cast plain rock-salted herring rigged whole with nose-clips, brined anchovies held with the Les Davis chartreuse green or red head-holders, the 4-inch WIDE model Buzz Bomb, the Zzinger metal jig, slip-bobber-and-herring, and herring using large,water-filled cigar-shaped slow-sinking clear plastic floats that have an inner rubber-band system that you twist to position on your line, which is a good slack-tide way to fish. Light sinkers like 1/2 to 1 ounce with a herring fillet strip cut into a long,triangular shape that look sort of like a plug-cut herring makes two baits per herring,and has a LOT of wiggle and works great as it simply drops thru the water column. "Falling bait catches more fish" is the moocher's motto. But a strike can come at any time,from the time the bait hits the surface, to being reeled in against the tide flow, so always be prepared.
A rod and reel that's 9 feet long is my preference, and using a large saltwater spinning reel that holds 280 yds of 14#, 240 yards of 17#, or 200 yards of 20# test monofilament. I specify this because THAT is the size of spinning reel that will cast far, cast easy,and will balance on most 9 foot graphite rods. It will also have a good,top drag, and will allow you to pick up slack very fast if you need to. For line, I like to have three spools with me: one with 35 pound test white braided line, and one with 20# test Big Game clear monofilament, and one with 17-20 pound test Stren Clear Blue Fluorescent which is a line that is VERY easy to SEE above water even on cloudy days,and which works good on a spinning reel. I prefer the Shimano Spheros 5000 cross-wrap spinning reel design because it will WORK well with braided line,due to the cross-wrapping that prevents digging in under heavy drag pressure. Use a good big swivel and about a 40 inch leader of 25 to 40 pound test mono when fishing with braided line. Braided line floats well when bobber fishing, but is very slender for its strength,so it will work with metal jigs too. It also has so little stretch it gives a lot of hooksetting power on long casts,and the most "feel" and "feedback" of fish and bottom.
Buzz-Bombing works best with the 4 inch models most of the time, but you need to tie a stopper knot 1/2 inch above the lure, to keep the hook and the jig together on longer,slack-line drops. Using sunglasses and the Stren line, you can SEE hits or "ticks" when a salmon grabs the lure on slack line. If your normal casting distance uptide takes 14 seconds to sink to bottom, but at the count of 6 the line stops sinking, REEL,reel,reel and STRIKE!
When jigging with metal jigs,you need to lift the rod tip slowly,not jerk it, and drop the tip FAST, so the lure falls on slack line,which is when fish will grab the lure most of the time. If you miss a strike, the stopper knot will be slid up the line above the Buzz Bomb, and the ONLY way that can happen is if a fish grabs the hook and shakes his head and thus slides the sliding jig up the line. The 3L size works best for shallow water and slow dropping. The 4W is the 4 inch WIDE model,which drops slower, making it fish better for chinook or higher in the water column. It's hard to find 4W in Oregon, where the normal 4 inch model is usually sold. The normal 4 inch bucks the tide very well. I prefer pearl white with faint pink, pearl with blue, and pearl with faint green,or silver metallic.
With a properly razor-sharpened hook and a stopper knot tied with rubber-band or dacron above a sliding jig, you can cast 60 yards quite easily with say a G. Loomis HSR 1021S 8'6" Mag-medium Ex-Fast action rated for 10-20 pound line and 1/4 to 1 and one-quarter ounce lures. This specific spinning rod is an excellent choice for Buzz Bombing with a spin reel of the size I specify above, and it has hook-setting power yet a soft enough tip that you can also cast herring, herring strip baits, 1/2 to 2 ounce hair jigs, or bobber-and-baitfish rigs using any weight from 1/2 to 3 ounces. It also is not too tiring. Have some good dacron stopper knot material for slip-bobbering.
For level-wind, I like the Ambassadeur 6001 reels and used them for many years, but one reason I prefer spinning reels is you can open the bail and get really FAST dropping of a jig thru the water column, and it's easy to cast delicate baits with light weights a long ways,especially for a beginner,even into the wind. PLUS, a saltwater spinning reel will crank in huge amounts of line when cranked fast, so when the bobber goes down, or you see the line move when jigging, just start reeling FAST till the rod loads up and then lift the rod tip up high and back in several hook set motions.
Another reason I prefer a large spin reel is I can have different line diameters to match my drift to the tide flow/depth. 35 pound braid sinks fast with heavy lures or weights,and in shallower areas or slack/soft tide times it might sink TOO fast,so you want to go to 20 to 25 pound monofilament,which will allow you to match your lure weight to the speed of the current. On a large level wind, Big Game 25# test is a very strong line,with a lot of stretch before it breaks, but can be hard to see over greenish water w/o sunglasses on. Jigging over saltwater is largely a VISUAL affair, hence the use of the Stren Clear Blue Fluourescent line which you can SEE very easily...with a jig 25 feet down and 40 yards out, you will see the line hesitate on the drop, or sometimes tighten or move just a bit,and you need to REEL FAST and set the hook, 'cause with chinook you will usually feel only the slightest "tick", if anything at all. Hooks must be sticky-sticky sharp so when a fish mouths the jig, the hook will stick and sink-in a bit against the weight of the jig and will alert you,visually. On tight line strikes, such as when retrieving,or right at the bottom of a drop, you'll feel the strike more. On schooling,aggressive coho, sometimes they will hit and you'll see the line literally zip a foot or two. If in doubt, crank fast and furious and strike!
You can catch silvers sometimes by simply bending the back end of a Buzz Bomb a small amount, and simply casting it out and reeling it back in quite fast so it weaves and darts side-to-side. Same thing with 1/2 to 3/4 ounce bucktail-and-mylar jigs simply casted out and retrieved, or using "tube flies" and 1 to 3 ounce crescent-shaped mooching sinkers. If you use a stopper knot above the Buzz Bomb or Zzzinger or other sliding jig, you will hook 99 percent of fish right in the mouth, but few Oregon fishermen actually know how to use metal jigs,and have only seen snaggers using these lures at Tillamook,etc. Canadians call this "drift fishing",and it works in the open saltwater as well as from piers and jetties.
FEEDING salmon are very susceptible to metal jigs, especially long,slender ones fished over sandy bottoms when sandlance (needlefish) bury themselves. In early summer, chinook will gorge on these skinny little dudes and longer, slender jigs like the Pt. Wilson Dart for example, work well fished very close to sandy bottom areas. Riper,more-mature salmon later in the season will often hit the popular bright green-and-yellow or glow-in-the-dark or black and white Buzz Bombs, or colors like the pink or bright red lures. Sometimes I think salmon strike out of curiosity or territorial anger.
At slack tide, it's very easy to fish from the top of the water column all the way to the bottom using jigs. Try and time your casts to cooperate with nearby fishermen,or move off from them a ways. Days with huge tide swings make it harder to fish than moderate tide exchanges.
One jig to check out is Charlie White's The Lure. It has a V-shaped spinner blade tail on a 1/2 inch metal shaft at the tail end,and will catch salmon fished on a tight line and simply allowed to dead-drift. When setting the hook down-tide after your gear has drifted well past your position, swing the rod "downriver" and in toward YOUR jetty, don't just jerk "back" or "up". Swinging the rod down-tide while cranking a big saltwater spin reel will hook more fish even on long floats. Wear good shoes, polarized sunglasses, and watch for waves. Have a cell phone in case you break a leg rock-hopping.
Last edited by Derrel; 08-15-2009 at 02:30 PM.