Have you packed on a couple of pounds over winter? Feel like you need a workout? Well, forget expensive gym membership or the Ab-Buster, and pick yourself up a couple of deepwater jigs!
A day on the outer Great Barrier Reef with fishing guide Gavin Platz, I found Chaos jigs produce great success with pelagics, but also generate a massive sweat. We were targeting the mighty dogtooth tuna, a king-pin predator that likes to hang in front of drop-offs where the current is pushing against the reef and rushing over it.
Gav instructed me to work the jig with a sharp and aggressive retrieve to get the fish’s attention. We were dropping the Chaos to the bottom and, at times, to an arm buckling 30m. However, Gav used the sounder to the max, as you do not want to drop them all the way when your target is sitting higher.
It is all heart in the mouth stuff because you are constantly on the go. Anticipating an attack on the downward stroke, but never really sure when you are going to get hit. I was determined to stay on my guard, so I could be ready when I got belted. Apart from a tug-of-war with a shark, I am glad to say that every other fish made it on board.
Gav states that on occasion, dogtooth tuna will follow the lure all the way to the boat. Drop the lure near them and they will just maul it straight off the bat. He has seen doggies up to 90kg caught with this method. At that size it is usually the fish dictating the fight. Short, sharp pumps of the rod stop the fish getting into any sort of fight routine, but I will say it again – it is hard work!
Chaos claims that the difference with their jigs is that they have a slim profile and are non-symmetrical. This makes them easy to jig with an action that is enticing to fish. The hook rigs are all hand-made using Gamakatsu HD hooks.
I stuck mainly with the 300g model on 200lb leader and mixed up the colours. Most anglers I know use smaller sizes when they are fishing for Trout, Snapper and Pearl Perch. Gav recommends when targeting these species to vary your technique and not come all the way up. He suggests jigging to about 10m then drop it back again.
My short session produced pleasing results. I landed a good-sized coral trout and enough of the vicious little puppy dogs to give me dogtooth shoulder. Unfortunately, none matched up to the 90kg mark, but my best was a respectable 17kg.
The teeth on dogtooth tuna are terrifying, and their mouths are wider than their body. They have only one thing on their mind and that is to destroy that jig. Every time I called full-time, Gav would track down some more bait fish and get me back into the water. I think he got pleasure seeing me hurting.
As you might have seen on Creek to Coast, Big Scottie was barely standing by the end of it all. But what fantastic fun!Reads: 636