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Lure Review

himano Butterfly Jigs are more than just “lures,” they are part of a complete system

Date: 9/4/06
Tackle type: Lures
Manufacturer: Shimano
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.33

When most anglers think Shimano they think reels and rods, but lures? That’s right Shimano dives head-on into the lure game with their unique Butterfly Jigs. But the Butterfly Jigs are so much more than just another lure, its part of a whole system now being introduced to anglers here in the US.

Shimano Butterfly Jig Specifications

Type Metal Jig
Colors/Patterns 62 available
Lengths 3 1/2" - 9"
Sizes(weight) 2oz - 7oz
Styles(design) 2 (Regular, Long)
MSRP $14.99 - $24.99

So just what are Butterfly Jigs, and the technique “Butterfly Jigging?” These are called Butterfly jigs because of their butterfly-like fluttering action. “From its start in the early ’90’s, where anglers in Japan fished depths down to 500 feet for bluefin tuna with the first generation of super lines coupled with fluorocarbon shock leaders, Shimano’s product development staff has closely watched this revolutionary change in deep water jigging,” said Ben Secrest with Shimano. “Our counterparts at Shimano Japan created a new lure design we call the Butterfly jig, and combined with the right tackle, the complete system - rod, reel, line, leader and jig – increases sensitivity to detect bites and offers anglers an exciting new way to catch finicky fish.”


Meet Shimano's new lure...the appropriately named "Butterfly Jig"


Secrest adds that from field testing in U.S. waters, from amberjack, snapper, grouper and kingfish off the Florida Keys and Gulf Coast waters, tuna and stripers in the northeast, or off the West Coast for yellowtail, tuna, calico bass or rock fish, the Butterfly Jigging System has proven to have a better fish catching percentages than those anglers using live bait. “Even fishing heavily-pressured area such as close in wrecks found off the Florida Keys, we’ve been able to hook and land numerous big amberjacks, groupers and cobia, “said Secrest, “while those drifting live bait near us struggled to get a bite.”


Butterfly Jigs are sold in protective bags and retail for $14.99 to $24.99 each depending on size and style


Design: The system makes us of shorter, more powerful rods, high speed and power reels, aggressive action jigs – and the use of braided line, fluorocarbon leaders and free-swinging hooks, all designed to be manageable and light enough for all-day fishing.


Butterfly jigs are best fished with a super responsive rod like Shimano's own Trevala rods


The system includes Shimano’s new Trevala jigging rods, eight conventional and three spinning rods with actions designed so anglers are acutely aware of the irregular action of the Butterfly jigs. This is not just another vertical jigging setup, and being able to detect exactly what the lure is doing each and every time you pull up on the rod is key to successfully fishing this technique.


Complete Rig for Butterfly Jig Tests

Rod Trevala TV66M
Reel(s) Calcutta 300TE, Trinidad TN20. Curado 300DSV
Line 40 lb. P-Line Spectrex

Shimano is currently offering 62 Butterfly jigs in the system, two styles in various colors and sizes. For jigging combinations, anglers can pair the Trevala rods up with Shimano’s new Torsa 16N or Trinidad 16N and 40N narrow-spool conventional reels, or larger size Stella and Sustain spinning reels. All these reels have high-speed retrieves needed to work the jigs properly, comfortable handles, and the power to move big fish. Of course if these reels are overkill for your application a Calcutta TE or even the brand new Curado 300 DSV will also fit the bill nicely for an ultralight salt combo.


Start by casting downwind


So what about hooks? Unlike traditional jigs that sport a treble hook at the base of the jig the Butterflys jigs are designed to use stinger hooks at the top of the lure. This allows the lure to flutter naturally and has the added benefit of not hanging up when jigging heavy structure. Exclusively designed and developed for Shimano’s Butterfly Jig System, Owner Hooks offers its Dancing Stinger hooks in 1/0 up to 7/0 with Technora fabric loops, and 3/0 and 5/0 for wire loops.


Notice the 3-D shaped design which creates a spiral darting action on the retrieve


Completing the system is Shimano’s new Butterfly Jig Storage Bag, with slots to store up to 40 jigs, Baysteel saltwater fishing multi-tools with features including a unique two-step split-ring opener, and Shimano’s new Leader Wheel Dispensers to organize the fluorocarbon leaders needed.


The regular jigging action is a tight circular motion


Real World Test: To test the Butterfly Jigs we decided to target the more aggressive Rockfish species inhabiting our coastline. We rigged up with a Trevala rod and a Calcutta 300TE spooled with PowerPro. We used genuine Owner Stinger hooks throughout the tests.


The top of the jig features a long ring for the stinger hooks


The Hardware: The Butterfly jigs actually feature a patented design that is different from anything else out there. The jigs are available in two distinct styles - regular and long. The regular jig provided a vertical ‘walking the dog’ presentation, while the long jig, with its patented 3-D shape, provides a lure that is able move horizontally at depths never before possible.


The long jigging action requires anglers to bring the rod up to the 11:00 position


There are eight regular size jigs – from 3 1/2-inches to 6 1/2-inches and in two-ounce (55 grams) to nine-ounce (270 grams) weights. Colors offered included blue sardine/silver, green mackerel/silver, aji/silver, pink/silver, squid/silver and chartreuse/white. “Through a 3-D shape design, the regular Butterfly jigs provide a spiral, darting action vertically through the water column,” said Ted Sakai, product manager for Shimano’s Gear category.  


The finishes on these jigs are top notch, and offer up plenty of flash as the jig darts back and forth

The longer skinnier jigs are designed to move side by side aggressively when retrieved and roll and wobble on the fall. The center of gravity on the jigs design makes them move side by side a great distance, almost like an underwater lure performing like a topwater spook. This horizontal action is designed to incite fish into a bite frenzy mode.


Owner's Dancing Stinger hooks are sold in packs of 2


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