We spent 15 minutes on the phone with Marty Mood to discuss jigging softbaits for red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico with the 10-inch Hogy Original. Here's what we learned..
Location: Gulf of Mexico 1/2 to 15 miles off Pensacola, FL.
Tides: As long as there is current movement.
Approach: This is a very simple technique, but it all revolves around finding the offshore structure. Just about any offshore structure is holding fish right now from small rock piles and natural bottom to the larger areas with well-known public numbers. We were targeting structure from 30′ to 50′ anywhere from 1/2 to 10 miles out. Use your electronics to determine if there are fish holding on any particular piece of structure and then position the boat up-current to set up a drift over it. Alternately, if there is a very large concentration of fish holding tight to the cover you can anchor up current and position the boat directly over the structure for a more pinpoint presentation.
Rigging Selection: Hogy 3 or 4oz Barbarian Jig Heads. Jig head weight is dependent on water depth and amount of current. In deeper water or stronger current you may need to use a Hogy drop-shot rig to add extra weight, but typically one of the larger Barbarian jig heads are all you need.
Bait Selection: The Hogy 10inch Original Series
Why This Bait? I like the larger presentation offered by the 10″ Hogy because it helps to weed out a lot of the smaller fish and that means only keepers coming to the boat!
Colors: The water off the FL panhandle is usually very clean and clear so I start with natural colors such as Bally Smoke, Silver or White. If the water is a little stained or I’m not getting action on the natural colors, I’m never hesitant to try Bubble Gum as well.
Retrieve: This is usually very simple. Drop the bait all the way to the bottom, making sure you can maintain good bottom contact and start bouncing it around the structure as you drift. I like to let the jig free-fall to the bottom as I think the commotion of it banging on structure or kicking up sand helps to draw attention. I say this is most of my strikes have occurred on the upswing and I think the fish are coming over to investigate the disturbance and then when the jig jumps off the bottom again I get a reaction strike. That being said, if you don’t feel it hit bottom when it should have something has probably grabbed it on the drop. Set the hook!!
Rod: 7′ MH St. Croix Legend Salt Conventional.
Reel: Diawa Saltiga 30 Lever Drag
Line: 65lb Power Pro Braid
Leader: 80lb Flouro leader using the “Crazy Alberto” modified Albright knot connection.