Catching Skipjacks

Discussion in 'Skipjack Herring' started by john catfish young, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    State:
    Kentucky
    Most everyone realizes what a great bait skipjacks are. They are generally easy to catch using a sabaki rig. I have been catching skipjacks since the early 80's and have learned a few secrets that work sometimes when the skipjacks are hard to catch.

    I prefer to make my own skipjack rigs using the hairy crappie jigs. I start out with a piece of 15-20# mono, about 5' long. The first jig I tie on is usually a 1/4 oz jig w/ a 2" white curly tail. Then I follow that up with a 1/8 oz hairy crappie jig. I run this jig down to about 12" of the first one and tie it with a double loop that hangs down about 2". I then follow this jig with a 1/16 oz jig spaced the same distance between each jig. I then tie on the fourth jig which is a 1/32 jig. Followed by a small barrell swivel. These can be made up in advance and stored in a sandwich baggie, whenever you need a new one...you just have to tie on the barrell swivel to your line. This saves much time on the water and I usually have 3 or 4 at all times ready for use.
    I have found that white is a good color most of the time. However, when the water color is dingy or dirty....yellow, chartruese, even pink has worked great.
    There have been times when trying to catch skipjacks that they seem to be no where around. After 100's of casts and still no skipjacks. I sometimes will take a 1" piece of a red rubber-band and attach it to the hook of the jigs. This will sometimes trigger a response from the lock-jawed skippies. Do you have any secrets for catching skippies? If you do please share with others....thanks:wink:
     
  2. catfishjohn

    catfishjohn New Member

    Messages:
    10,217
    State:
    Greenup Co. KY
    No additional info but Thanks for posting that. Katfish Ken has made up some deadly rigs for the skippies. They work really good. Myself, I usually use the good ole store bought Sabiki rigs. They usually work but if i'm with Ken I usually have to try out one he's made.:wink:
     

  3. noj77

    noj77 Member

    Messages:
    457
    State:
    Saint Peters, M
    I use a Kastmaster spoon on the end of my Sabaki rigs instead of a weight. It give a little flash off and carries a treble hook to give me an extra hook out there. It also has enough weight to allow the rig to sink.
     
  4. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    State:
    Kentucky
    Also sometimes a fast retrieve will hook'em up and sometimes a very slow retrieve will work great...bouncing the bottom. :wink:
     
  5. catfishjohn

    catfishjohn New Member

    Messages:
    10,217
    State:
    Greenup Co. KY

    Thats also very true. Earlier this year I was doing a slow retrieve and stopped for a second, long enough for the bait to hit bottom. I started reeling and thought I was hung up...A couple minutes later I brought in a 3# carp! It was hooked on the bottom hook on the Sabiki rig. Ken was with me, we both got a good laugh out of that. I brought it home and put it in the freezer for bait.
     
  6. Cathooker

    Cathooker New Member

    Messages:
    299
    State:
    Ga
    We mostly use small spoons to catch the skippies. We have tried everything from sabiki to crappie jigs and have caught skippies on all of them. Most of the skippies we cacth are magnum size and we have found that we do better using the small spoons. We rig them with a weight above them carolina rig style. The best spoon we have used is called a Foley spoon. It is small with only one hook. It is made similar to a Johnson's silver minnow. I don't like treble hooks for skippies cause I get stabbed too many times and sabiki rigs just eat me alive.
     
  7. stumpjumper

    stumpjumper New Member

    Messages:
    1,492
    State:
    Dallas, GA
    John, very informative post! Thanks for sharing your ideas.
     
  8. cdog

    cdog New Member

    Messages:
    43
    State:
    ohio
    thanks for the info.i have always just used waxworms on a panfish bobber set-up about two foot deep. i will have to try some of these rigs to see if i can catch them any faster.
     
  9. ateamfisherman

    ateamfisherman New Member

    Messages:
    297
    State:
    Texas
    I have not herd of skippies here butI mite catch some other kind of bait fish if I knew what one of these rigs was. I have never herd of this. Could you draw me a picture of one of the rigs and tell me how to use it would appreat it verry much. Thanks Sam Davis
     
  10. Mickey

    Mickey New Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    14,592
    State:
    Illinois
    Thanks John for sharing. I always use the same white curlytail jigs. Same weight. I like your idea better and will give it a try. Reps.
     
  11. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    State:
    Kentucky
    Sam....sorry for the crude drawing. This should help you get an idea of what I'm talking about though. You just cast out and give a little time for the rig to sink. You can retreive with a slow and steady retrieve or do like I do, and give 2 cranks and a jerk...2 cranks and a jerk...ect..ect...usually if the skipjacks are around, they cant resist this rig. By placing the heaviest jig on the bottom and stepping up in size....it helps to keep it from tangling up every cast. You can also catch shad on this rig by casting through a school and giving a little jerk when you feel the shad . We have caught literally 1000's of skipjacks and shad this way. I hope this helps you Brother. What I like about tieing my own....is that I can pick the colors I use and the heavier leader line keeps from breaking you off when you catch multiple big skipjacks. Good Luck to you!:wink:
     

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  12. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    State:
    Kentucky
    Here is a picture of a couple skipjacks we caught at the Lake where we catfish at on Lake Barkley, Dec 30,2008. It wasn't at a dam or a steamplant....but just at the lake, where a shallow flat point runs into deeper water. The skipjacks will run up on the rocky point in search of shad which like the more shallow water that warms quickly in the sunshine. So no traveling for miles and miles to catch bait.
     

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  13. Kansas Tree Rat

    Kansas Tree Rat New Member

    Messages:
    486
    State:
    Waverly, Kansas
    Thanks John
    No Skips around here but I have thought about taking a roadtrip over your way to catch some for the freezer. If I do now I know how to catch em.
     
  14. catfishjohn

    catfishjohn New Member

    Messages:
    10,217
    State:
    Greenup Co. KY
    Here is a pic of a load Me and Ken brought home from the Greenup Dam on 9-11-2008. I think we ended up with 170 some, only about a dozen or so 12-15"ers and the rest 4-7". It was a Very HOT day, I got burnt and was red as a lobster! We had a blast though!!!:cool2:

    SkipJack Trip 9-11-2008 009rrr.jpg
     
  15. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    State:
    Kentucky
    Good catch John and thanks for the picture!:wink:
     
  16. catfishjohn

    catfishjohn New Member

    Messages:
    10,217
    State:
    Greenup Co. KY

    Thanks! I can't wait to go do it again. They were biting pretty good that day but not as good as we were hoping. The only bad thing was with our 2 bad backs it took us about a half hour to get all that packed up that hill and into the truck. Note to self: Make several trips next time...:smile2:
     
  17. lbaker3

    lbaker3 New Member

    Messages:
    275
    State:
    Topeka, Kansas
    Have any of you guys ever used crappie nibbles on your hooks for
    skipjack??
    Seems like they would work, but I have never fished for skipjack before. This year will be the first time.
     
  18. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    State:
    Kentucky
     
  19. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    Normally, shad colored jigs with just enough weight for easy casting and a rapid, jerky retrieve works for me, but when it doesn't. I start changing colors, speed of retrieve, & weight. On one occasion, I had to cast, then count to 20 before starting a slow retrieve in order to catch them. Less than an hour later, a regular retrieve was working again. Also, it's not unusual for them to run in huge schools, making big circles, so that you'll have 5 or 10 minutes of fish on every cast, then hardly anything for 15-20 minutes.
     
  20. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    State:
    Kentucky
    I've often done the count down to 5-10 seconds...then start to reel. Depends on how deep the water is to how long I let it sink. Most of the time I cant let it sink that long because I will be snagged up. I have seen times when ripping it across the top of the water would catch them and even sometimes it would cause the white bass to start jumping out of the water and we would be catching 2 or 3 on every cast. Isn't fishing great?:smile2: