Jig Heads – The Most Versatile Artificial Lure

Fishing with a jig head is simply a time-tested, effective way to catch a variety of species. A jig head’s versatility allows this lure to be used in a variety of different ways to catch anything from trout in a stream to striped bass in the ocean. Whether you tip a jig head with bait, soft plastic or some skirt, jig head’s should be part of every anglers tackle box.

First, everyone should understand exactly what a jig head is. A jig head is a weighted hook. Near the eye of the hook (the eye is where the line is attached) a ball of weight has molded to the hook and painted. Often, eyespots are painted on as well to give the appearance of a head at the top of the hook. Jig heads come in various hook sizes, weights, and colors for all of the different fishing conditions one may encounter. Also, many jig heads now have a small barb near the head to help keep bait and lures in place.

I am sure we all understand that a weighted hook (a jig head) is not going to catch fish on its own, and that’s not what a jig head is designed for. A jig head is designed to be tipped with something else. Bait is the number one choice for most anglers and is easily the most effective way to catch fish. A jig head can also be tipped with soft plastic bait imitations. The soft plastics lures can last longer and cost you less in the long run than adding fresh bait to your jig after each fish. Finally, you could get a skirt to your jig head. Skirts are frilly plastic that can imitate anything from a squid to a shrimp and in general just look like food.

Properly tipping your jig head is essential to catching fish. A jig head is designed to give action to your bait or lure, so proper placement is a must. Let’s use a baitfish as an example of how to appropriately tip your jig head. First, you want to insert the hook point into the mouth of the fish and run the hook down the fish’s mouth. Then push the hook point through the back of the fish near the dorsal fin. Finally, push the entire baitfish up to the head of the jig. If your jig head has a barb near the top, make sure that you push the baitfish onto the barb. This same process would be repeated with any bait or artificial lure, simply slide the head of the bait of lure towards the head of the jig and the hook point through the back.

Now that your jig head is adequately tipped, it is time to fish it. Jig heads were designed to be jigged. Jigging is simply lifting and lowering your lure. Simply drop or cast your line out. Let the line go out until it hits the bottom of the body of water you are fishing. If you drop your line straight of the edge of a boat, lift the jig head off the bottom a couple of feet and then let it fall back to the base. Repeat this until you hook something. If you cast your jig head out lift it off the bottom and retrieve some line, let the jig head fall back to the bottom and keep lifting, recovering and dropping your jig head until you need to recast. You can jig in the middle of the water column, but unless you know that there are active fish in the water column fishing, the bottom will yield more fish.

Jig heads have been in most fishermen’s tackle for many decades and with good reason. Jig heads help to present a realistic bait to a fish, are easy to use, and are incredibly useful. Next time you plan on going out on the water make sure you are equipped with a good supply of jig heads.


Fishing Lures and Baits Intended for Sea Trout

Sea trout fishing is a favorite recreation along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the United States. The spotted sea trout or speckled trout (Cynoscion nebulosus) is found along the entire Gulf Coast, and north on the Atlantic to Massachusetts, though it is rare north of the Chesapeake Bay. The gray trout or weakfish (Cynoscion regalis) is found along most of the Atlantic, from Maine to Northern Florida. Both fish have similar feeding habits. Following are three of the best sea trout fishing lures and baits.

Offshoring fishing for sea troutGot-Cha Jigheads and Grubs, Top Lures for Sea Trout Fishing

Jigs for trout in saltwater (which are composed of a 3 or 4-inch curly tail grub, and a 1/4- to 1/2-ounce grub head, both by Got-Cha) are among the best baits for inshore fishing for sea trout, red drum, flounder, and bluefish. On bright, sunny days and in clear water, a root beer, smoke, or green colored grub with a white, orange, or yellow grub jighead will work very well. In stained water with lower visibility, white, chartreuse, or electric chicken grubs on chartreuse, pink, or redheads are better, as they are easier to see in the off-color water.

To fish Got-Cha grubs for sea trout, you need to cast out, targeting mainly deeper areas, such as holes and cuts, and bring them back with a jigging technique. Allow the grubs to sink, and then raise the rod tip up, and reel the slack, and repeat, so that reeling is constant and rod twitches occur every two or three seconds. The weight of the head should be adjusted according to water depth. Grub heads of at least 3/8 ounce are best for waters more than six feet in depth.

Saltwater Jerkbaits for Sea Trout Fishing Inshore

JerkbaitsJerkbaits, like Saltwater Assassin flukes, are great for speckled sea trout and weakfish. Dully colored or dark baits are best when water is clear, and brightly colored flukes are more productive in stained water.

In deeper areas, try using a jighead, and fish them like Got-Cha grubs. In the shallows, they may be caught without weight, and tugged and jerked across the surface, making them resemble struggling baitfish such as mullet, a common prey for big trout. The best times to fish the shallows with these baits are the early morning hours and the late afternoon within a few hours of sunset. Try to locate trout busting baitfish, and cast into the areas where fish are feeding.

MirrOlure, One of the Best Lures for Inshore Sea Trout Fishing

Using MirrOlureThe MirrOLure series III, a hard-bodied plastic bait is dynamite for trout in medium depth waters and the surf on calmer days. To fish this lure, steadily, and slowly reel the bait after casting it out. Work the same waters several times, as it can take a few casts for fish to locate the swimming baitfish imitation. In the shallows, a floating MirrOLure can work wonders, especially in backwater areas in the early morning and late afternoon. For deep holes, try the sinking twitch bait MirrOLure.

The above lures are all some of the best for inshore sea trout fishing. If heading out for a day on the water on the Atlantic or Gulf Coast, be sure to have some of these prime baits on board.


Minimizing Costs When Fly Tying

Tying your own flies can be quite a money saver. However, as many beginners have found, and old-timers know through experience, the supplies for tying flies can be very cost prohibitive. Still, there are ways to minimize the cost without sacrificing quality.

Begin saving money by buying hooks in bulk. Buying five packs of 20 hooks will nearly always be more expensive than purchasing a single pack of 100 hooks. It will be cheaper still, per hook, to get a pack of 500.

Resist the urge to buy assortment packs of hooks, too. They may be a little less expensive, but will usually include hook sizes you will seldom if ever use.

A thread doesn’t need to be made explicitly for fly-fishing. An excellent stout thread used in sewing is often just as good, and it costs much less since it isn’t a ‘specialty product.’

Clear varnishes and such can be replaced with clear fingernail polish. The polish is inexpensive compared to the type specifically made for fly tying, it is waterproof, and it exhibits the same traits as the ones you buy just for tying flies.

The fur and feathers is a major expense. A three-ounce, one square inch of fur can cost far more than it is worth, and can kill your pocketbook. Paying a few dollars for a half dozen to a dozen feathers is also crazy.

You can save there too, though. It is very common to find feathers when you are out fishing or even picnicking out in the woods. Collect the feathers for use in the fly tying. If you know someone who has chickens, have them save you feathers from their birds. If you know duck, goose, or pheasant hunters, express to them that you’d love to have the feathers. Most of these people will be happy to give you the feathers, which they would otherwise just throw away anyway.

The same is true of hunters. Most ‘bucktail’ doesn’t come from the tail, and it isn’t necessarily from a buck. Deer hunters are a great free resource for hair. Bear, sheep, goat, and antelope hunters are the same. Unless they have a specific use in mind for the fur, it is going to be discarded. Few will have a problem with giving you a lot of what is going into the garbage anyway. This can save a tremendous amount of money that would otherwise be spent to buy sometimes-common supplies.

Even zoos seldom have a problem with you collecting fur or feathers. They will toss them out in the trash, too. Just contact the curator and express your interest.

One source of cheap fur that is often ignored is your pets. Many dogs routinely need a haircut, and that is perfectly good fur to use when tying flies. Even in the case of cats or shorter haired dogs, removing a small amount of fur isn’t going to do any harm at all, and it costs nothing.

If you have the chance to save money, take it. You can minimize the cost of fly tying and find ways to make fly tying less expensive. At the same time, you can really expand the amounts, colors, and types of material you have to work with. Just use your imagination.


Why Channel Catfish is Worth the Catch

I believe channel catfish are indeed the best to catch. Bullhead catfish are bottom feeders, meaning they eat a lot of vegetation on the bottom of lakes. The channel catfish prefer fresh fish as a good meal. Bullhead catfish taste real muddy due to eating whatever they can eat as a quick snack giving them whats called a mudline in the fillets. This can be soaked out with a little extra preparation time but when you can catch channel catfish why bother.

Channel catfish in OklahomaFlakey, Hardy Meat

Channel catfish have flakey, hardy meat, which when cooked gives off a rich, hearty flavor when biting into the battered fillet. In my opinion, channel catfish taste much better than even cod when cooked right. Catch a bullhead catfish, as well as a channel catfish, prepare each one the same and I bet you the pick of the two will be channel catfish.

When I first caught a channel catfish and cooked the meat, I was in total taste bud heaven from the first bite. The flavor and texture of the meat, the richness of how the meat tasted was even better the walleye. Now, some walleye fisherman would argue, but it’s up there competing for the gold.

To prepare either bullhead catfish or channel catfish, I usually soak the fish fillets in buttermilk to give a little extra boost in taste, for about 3 hours before deep frying the fillets. I then mix 2 cups of cornmeal to a cup of flour, two eggs, a teaspoon of salt and a cup of beer, your favorite to set the batter. Mix in a large bowl until mixture is of a medium thickness.

Before dipping your fillets into the batter, airdry the fillets for about five minutes before battering them up. This allows the batter to stick to the fillets better thus keeping the batter from frying off the fillets while they cook.

Hushpuppies Done Right

Take your fillets and soak them like in a previous manner and set them aside. While they soak, take a teaspoon of salt, a pinch of pepper, some sweet corn from the can, anything you prefer and combine in a bowl. After your fillets have been soaked for three hours lay down some wax paper on your work surface and lay out the fillets in stips. Once laid out on the wax paper spoon out the mixture on the fillets spreading it out in a thin coating on the fillets.

Once done with spreading the mixture on the fillets, roll the fillets up lengthwise and add toothpicks to keep the fillets from spreading back out when deep fried. Once the toothpicks are placed every inch or so, cut the fillets into one-inch strips and dip into the batter. Deep fry and enjoy the best hushpuppies you have ever tasted!


Inshore Fishing in Charleston

At Safe Harbor Fishing, we also provide Charleston inshore fishing charters like inshore wreck fishing that includes fishing on the various reefs, wrecks, and underwater structures off the Charleston coast. If you aren’t an experienced angler you may be wondering why we fish around old sunken ships, rocks, reefs, or other old underwater structures that just sit on the bottom of the ocean.


The reefs, wrecks, and bottom structures naturally attract many types of fish. The wrecks and structures attract many different species of smaller fish or what anglers call baitfish that are looking for food or cover from the larger predators. On these Charleston wrecks the larger fish that are attracted to the wrecks by the various baitfish species include the many different species of grouper, amberjack, cobia, and other “bottom fish” that you may see in the list below.

Charleston inshore bottom fishing is perfect for small children and first time anglers. Young children can have just as much fun reeling in a small fish like a 1 pound or so yellowtail or a 4 or 5 pound red snapper. As for the adults of the crew you have the chance of hooking into a large grouper, snapper, or amberjack that will give you a fight you won’t soon forget. When you fight and boat these large fish you are creating memories to last a lifetime, plus you will have some true fishing stories to tell all your buddies when you arrive home from your Charleston inshore fishing trip. It is up to you whether you want to embellish a bit, after all it is a “fish story.”

Just like there are a variety of sportfish species available on a Charleston wreck fishing trip there is likewise quite a few different fishing techniques your charterboat Captain will employ to ensure you catch fish. Some of the different wreck fishing tactics include:

  • Drifting along structures when the tide and wind cooperate.
  • Anchoring up to a wreck.
  • Using lures and artificial baits
  • Fishing with live bait, a favorite among experienced anglers.
  • Chumming
  • And depending on water conditions your Captain will use a complete range of tactics from the type of leaders to type of hooks.

Charleston Wreck and Bottom Fishing Trips Can Often Yield:

A Few Charleston Bottom Fishing Species
Grouper: Caught throughout South Carolina including Charleston can easily reach over 50 pounds. Red Snapper: Common to about 6 or 8 pounds. But can also reach 30 or more pounds.

 

A Few Charleston Bottom Fishing Species
amberjack king mackerel
Amberjack: May average 30 to 60 pounds and is a strong, punishing fighter that powers deep and defies lifting. King mackerel: 5 to 20 pounds in schools. Over 50 pounds individually. Fast and strong fighters at any size.

 

A Few Charleston Bottom Fishing Species
yellowtail barracuda
Yellowtail: 1 to 3 pounds is common. The perfect fun fish for kids to catch. They will want to catch them over and over. Barracude: Average 15 to 30 pounds. Razor sharp teeth and strong fast fun fight on light tackle.

 

More Charleston Bottom Fishing Species
  • Amberjack
  • Barracuda
  • Cero
  • Cobia
  • Crevelle Jack
  • Dolphin
  • Grouper
  • King Mackerel
  • Sailfish
  • Shark
  • Snapper
  • Yellowtail

There are more species anglers are subject to catch while bottom fishing in Charleston waters but these are usually the most popular and abundant. In short there is a little something for everybody. Whether you are a pure land lover that has never set foot on a charter boat to a master angler with many years of fishing experience in South Carolina or other saltwater regions.

We take pride in putting your fish in the box and endeavor to give you the most enjoyable memories of a lifetime. Come spend a day of Charleston Fishing off the coast with us and find out why so many of our customers return to fish with us year after year.