The bucktail jig, a simple and effective lure found in many surf-caster’s tackle box. Evolved from the basic jig of lead molded to a O’shaughnessy hook, bucktail jigs simply have the addition of a skirt (made of fur from a buck’s tail) tied to the rear of the mold to simulate a bait fish’s body. The shape of the mold varies from round, torpedo, bullet, flathead to even detailed fish head shapes. Colors are as varied as the head shapes, however the most commonly used are white or yellow. When shopping for bucktail jigs, despite the numerous choices, you should primarily concern yourself with what’s appropriate for your tackle. I find that in the surf, when I choose to use a bucktail jig, I like to work it with lighter tackle (at least by surf fishing standards). I like my jigs to be in the 1 to 2 ounce range. I usually stick with a white bullet shaped jighead with the skirt tied on with red thread, unless through conversations with other fishermen and bait shop owners that indicate a lot of local success with different colors.
Fishing bucktail jigs in the surf can be effective for a wide range of fish. You can add a little extra enticement to the jig by adding a scented plastic tail or other bait on the hook. I like to add a strip of mullet to the hook (this works great for flounder). I’ve also used pork rinds attached to the hook with some success. While fishing a bucktail jig, vary your retrieve technique, try slow retrieve and fast retrieves. I like to use a whip retrieve, reel in a couple of feet of line, whip the rod and let the jig slowly sink back to the bottom. This retrieve will give the appearance of a wounded or struggling bait fish. One technique that can lead to a lot of success in the surf, is to use a bucktail jig and Clouser minnow combination. This can be easily be put together on the spot. Take a three way swivel, tie one end to your shock leader, next take a two to three foot piece of 40lb test fluorocarbon, attach your Clouser minnow to one end and tie to your swivel. The last step is to take another piece of 40 lb test fluorocarbon, this time use a piece up to 1 foot long, tie your jighead to one end of the fluorocarbon and the other end to the remaining open swivel.
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Hopkins 3.5BW No Equal Treble Bucket – a classic example of the weight being the bait. – I keep these in my tackle box! My go to lure for bluefish. Click on image for more information.