Saturday, May 4, 2013

Casting Sinking Minnows (Jackson Pintails) for Mackerals (or Pelagics)

Casting sinking minnows for spanish mackerals (batang, tengerri, beh kah, ma jiao) or even pelagics has been a recent trend in jigging/luring that has been picking up in Malaysia fishing such as Rompin, Pekan and even Desaru. I remember the introduction of Jackson Pintail by lure haven some years back and now this trend is so popular that there are so many similar lures out there in the market like the Asari Pinktail, Senses Spymission, Duel Hardcore 110S and even the D Lures Submariner!

In this baktao gold article, I hope to roughly illustrate the basics of successfull execution of this rather new technique so that newbies can have an understanding of how it works. If one fishes with this method correctly, it is extremely effective on the fishes!

Anglers should take note that the application of this particular illustration is narrowed to mostly offshore boat fishing in which there is deep enough water, fish attracting devices (FADs) such as Unjams, ships or structures. Although application of such a sinking minnow can be adapted to freshwater environment (see my Soon Hock landed on Asari Pinktail) and even deep luring for Coral Trout (ang gao, hong shi ban) at the reefs, I shall generally talk about how to get the mackeral with this technique.

To understand how this technique works is actually very simple. Anglers just need to imagine fleeing baitfishes zipping about in the ocean - be it alone or cutting through confused schools of baitfish. For this to happen, it is best to have an FAD like an unjam in which you can cast your lure parallel to it and draw the predator fishes that are lurking below. This forms a very horizontal form of retrieving and this means the anglers NEEDS to get distance on the casting in order to be effective. Such sinking minnows are often in the range of 40g for Malaysia waters and 40g is considered the "De Facto" weight when casting for mackerals.

Method Part 1

The green stuff is the lure!
In this part, the lure is cast out from the boat and hits the water. The angler may want to apply a quick tightening of the line by reeling in some slack line and keeping line taut just when the lure falls. This is to straighten the lure head before it sinks. This works well with certain lures such as the Asari Pinktail because the lure tends to sink erratically and will result in snagged lines around the treble hooks! It is also interesting to note that the Duel Hardcore 110S sinks in a spiral motion while the Jackson pintial sinks on the tail. During the sinking, there is a VERY high chance that mackerals will take the lure. The angler should maintain a taut line by opening bail arm and using the fingers to manually release line if possible. If a twitch, tug or extremely loose line is felt, close the bail arm and strike immediatley! Failure to do so usually results in lost lures... it is tough to maintain this manual release of line for many casts and many anglers usually give up.... until murphy's law strikes!

Method Part 2
let it sink!
During this part, one must take note if the lure is being carried away by the current or the current is helping to push the lure in. If the lure is being pushed out, great! it means you will get more distance... but if it is pushing the lure in, you have minimal distance after waiting. Anglers usually wait around 10 - 20 seconds for the sinking and target only the middle to top water columns for mackerals. Those more adventurous can try to target the reef species such as grouper by letting it sink to just above the corals. Take note though, don't let it sink to the bottom as you may snag onto coral! The sinking depth differs from each spot and it is best to check with experienced anglers or the captain on the depth.

Method Part 3

In the final part, retrieving is usually done in a fast or extra fast manner which is certainly more effective for mackerals. However, this is limited to the quality of the lure which is namely the resistance of the lure and the diving action of the lure. Quality lures like the Jackson pintail face little resistance but great action in the water meaning you can zip it fast or slow! Certain cheaper lures like the Asari Pinktail tend to flip on its sides often and resistance in water is bad. This is a major concern for your reel as constant casting and retrieving against heavy resistance can wear out your reel fast! I have also noticed that Duel Hardcore 110S is extremely good when it comes to fast retrieve but if you change the stock hooks, the action diminishes.... I shall briefly comment on the different types of common sinking lures in the market later on in this post... The angler can also choose to complement the fast retrieve with erratic jerks or even letting it sink for a few seconds more and jerking it up like how you work a squid jig! It is really up to the angler to rely on his experience on how best to make the fishes go crazy. Generally, just retrieve at a fast speed will do the trick for most mackerals!

Well, after you got the fish to bite, you know the rest... hook up, fight and land it! If you are unsure, you can check out my post on correct fighting position techniques for boat fishing!

Types of sinking minnows out in the singapore fishing market

Jackson pintail($25 - $30) - One of the best go to lures and a lure that is well known for its application in mackeral casting! If you're a beginner and you know nuts, you should just get this and start casting them!

D Lures Submariner ($10) - A recent sinking lure to have entered the market, the lure seems to be very similar to the Jackson pintail but it differs in the weight balance system. The lure also tends to have good fast erratic action when cranked fast but poor action when reeled slowly. Value for money if you need a fast action presentation (more comparisons with jackson pintail below)

Senses Spymission ($16) - More similar to the Asari Pinktail then the Jackson Pintail. No comments as of yet

Asari Pinktail ($12) - One of the earlier sinking lures that are similar to the Jackson Pintail. It follows a sea bass lure design and it has been proven to work on several occasions! Quality control is not good though and every lures feels different. Possible turning is needed!

Rapala Xrap Sinking (unknown price) - No comments still in testing.

Duel Hardcore 110S ($17) - Also another famous pioneer mackeral casting lure, this baby has three hooks which makes for bad action if you change them to bigger hooks. Casting is great on this lure and retrieves are resistance free.

From top, Jackson pintail, D lures Submariner, Senses Spymission, Asari Pinktail, Rapala xrap sinking, duel hardcore 110s 
Can you spot the difference?
I won't be going through the terminals and hooks because there are many school of thoughts on certain combinations and beliefs. Just stick to the same principal - always change hooks/split rings if you think they are of sub standard quality and always note that using wire tracers will decrease lure movement and that will mean shy fish! For colours, go for blue, green or silver... anything that resembles saltwater baitfish!

Below are some catches on sinking minnow to end this article!
Asari Pinktail on slow erratic pauses!

Good size bonito on Duel hardcore 110s!

Chencaru on a Jackson Pintail 50g!!!
***Please note that lure prices are just an estimate and may change!


Unknown said...

Can I use a steel wire? What your recommendation?

Nigel said...

Hey mate, I recommend using soft metal wire or coated metal wire (like those coated red)... or kevlar with wire core...

Of course, without metal wire is awlays the best....

it's a trade off ;)

Unknown said...

Where to buy those Jackson pintails? Any recommendations in KL area?