Lures like the standard metal jigs have been around for 50 years or so, but have been replaced in the angler's arsenal more recently by soft baits and slow jigs. But the metal versions still have their advantages, particularly when it comes to testing the water when arriving at a work-up.
They can be cast ahead of the direction of drift and will sink quickly. The deeper the water, the heavier the lures should be. It is all about getting to the bottom quickly and efficiently, without having too much line out.
A couple of sharp jerks of the rod, a pause to let the jig flutter down, then repeat the action and you will soon see if there are any fish interested. When targeting snapper, the lure can be fished with the reel in free-spool so a little line can be let out to keep the jig on the seabed. Then, when a fish strikes, the rod can be lifted sharply and the reel flicked into gear - all the while maintaining pressure on the line.
The tackle should match the weight of the jig and a handy rule of thumb is 40g jigs for 4kg line, 60g for 6kg line, 80g for 8kg line, 100g for 10kg line and so on. That was in the days of monofilament line, but the same principle applies to braid.
The rod should match the weight of lure, but there is more leeway. Obviously, a 100g metal jig is not going to be matched with a light soft-bait rod as the rod will fold over and the jig won't perform properly.
Jigs usually come armed with a treble hook and some people like to change these for a single hook, as the treble can get caught up in the mesh of a net and a single is easier to twist out of a snapper's jaws, which is important if the fish is to be released.
Then there are the slow jigs, and the key word is slow. The same tackle is used - a light, fast-action graphite rod, small reel and thin braid line with a short trace. A longer rod for these lures is recommended for absorbing pressure on the small hooks, but that is the only difference.
The standard technique is to let the slow jig down to the bottom behind the boat. The action then is to wind line back in very slowly, then let it back down again. The snapper take the lure gently as the line simply tightens. The angler just continues winding until the fish is hooked. There is no sudden strike, perhaps because that would pull the lure away from the quarry. Some anglers have found they work well with the rod just left in a holder until a fish is hooked.
Apparently kingfish like these lures, which can also be trolled, and other species such as gurnard and john dory will also take them. With their bright-coloured skirts, slow jigs are designed to imitate members of the cephalopod family, which includes squid and octopus.
The fishing tackle industry is always coming up with something new to offer fishermen, and the latest are the range of lures called bottom ship jigs and waxwing lures.
Bottom ships appear to be the result of a metal jig getting together with a slow jig. They have a metal body connected by a swivel to a skirted hook and are fished with a slightly different action.
They are dropped to the required depth, which may be the bottom or mid-water if there is a lot of sign showing on the fish finder, then with the reel in gear the rod is raised with a steady lift then dropped down. The resulting fluttering climb and dive by the lure imitates a wounded baitfish, which triggers a response from any predatory fish in the vicinity. This could be snapper, kahawai, john dory or kingfish.
Waxwings are different again and the latest on the scene. They are designed to be cast out and, as they sink slowly, can be fished under the surface. When retrieved slowly, they wiggle from side to side, just like a swimming pilchard or anchovy. They will catch snapper by casting ahead of the boat and allowing the lure to sink to the bottom. Then a steady retrieve interspersed with pauses and twitches of the rod will soon attract the attention of any snapper.
Like all lures, these come in a range of sizes and colours. One thing about fishing lures, whether they are soft baits or jigs, they do catch larger snapper on average than when fishing with regular baits. This may be due to the wider area of seabed covered by a drifting boat compared to one at anchor.
The competition created by the numbers of fish attracted to the smell of bait is also a factor, and the aggressive small fish beat the larger, shy individuals when it comes to attacking the bait. This is why the biggest snapper are caught on baits cast well away from the boat and smaller fish are more often hooked right under the boat. The big fish will hang back, away from the noise of the boat.
But all the different type of lures will catch fish. It is just a question of getting them into the water and fishing them with confidence.
More fishing action can be found on Rheem Outdoors with Geoff, 5pm tonight, and on the internet television channel www.FishnHunt.Tv