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September 23, 2008

Masters of Metal

Sport Fishing convenes an international jigging symposium - and takes notes!

The 62-year-old enthusiast has made the sport his life for the past 30 years. While few Americans have heard his name, in the Japanese angling community, Yuki's fame is well established. Though he made his name initially as a fly-fisherman, in the 1980s he turned to conventional gear and was the first angler to really establish "popping" (fishing large topwater plugs) in Japan when he began fishing Pili Poppers that came from Hawaii - and demonstrating their effectiveness. He also helped establish B.A.S.S. (Bass Anglers Sportsman Society)  in Japan. In recent years, he's concentrated on jigging.

Through a combination of observation and interview (thanks to his fishing-fanatic friend and translator Setsuo Hamanaka), Yuki offers this specific advice:

  • Don't put too much time/effort into just one jig (size/type/color). A jig that works well one day or in one situation will not necessarily be the best choice next time around. If a jig doesn't seem to be working, keep trying others. Also, don't become too systematic in your choice of jigs.
  • "Feel the bottom and find the nature of the soil" to determine how to fish the depths.
  • Don't use jigs larger than necessary. A jig needs to be heavy enough to descend to the depth where the fish are, but beyond that, Yuki generally opts for the smaller, lighter jigs from his substantial arsenal.
  • When working a jig, make it imitate a wounded baitfish.

How? Yuki uses a varied cadence as he jigs upward, lifting twice and occasionally three times, then pausing, but never really stopping or letting the jig simply fall. The pause, he says, is important since a wounded baitfish doesn't simply keep swimming but moves erratically, stopping often.