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ICAST 2019 Update Coverage

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Lure Review

Shimano Lucanus Jigs: Deadly and Just Plain Fun to Fish (continued)

Rigging cont'd: There are basically three ways to fish the Lucanus jig and when you look at the back of the jig you will find two eyelets in which to tie to. With a normal rigging method simply tie directly to the top of the jig and allow the jig to fall right to the bottom. This technique is good for slower currents and shallow water fishing up to 200 feet. With this basic rigging you can fish with any size jig. When the current is very fast moving or you want to target fish deeper than 200 feet you will want to use both loops and rig the Lucanus jig above an additional weight (it needs to be heavier than the jig you are fishing to it casts and drops properly), basically it is a saltwater drop shot rig. Just like with a freshwater drop shot you will want to use a smaller bait so the 60-80g jigs are the right choice here. A third hybrid method uses a combination of two Lucanus jigs, a larger one on the bottom and a smaller one seven or eight feet up the line is also possible. It is important to check local regulations for the number of hooks allowed. For example it is not legal to use this third method in California where only two hooks are allowed. The two hooks on a single Lucanus jig eat up that quota so no other teaser or second jig can be rigged on the same line.

There are many colors available to mimic different prey ranging from baitfish to squid

Casting: Before casting anglers will need to make a choice of what color and size to use. We found that in most shallow water situations the smallest 60g jig was just fine, and this jig was able to catch just as good quality fish as the larger lures. The only time we would upsize would be in fast current or deeper water. In terms of color we found all the colors pretty effective but picking certain colors like chart/white and brown/chart seemed to be particularly good at targeting certain species like Cabazon, this was probably because they more resembled the squid or other prey the fish were targeting. Some experimentation will be necessary in every different location but there are plenty of colors to pick from to imitate varying baitfish, shellfish or squid.

The Tescata rod and the Lucanus Jig are a match made in tackle heaven... no need to set hard when fish take the Lucanus jig, you will see the Tescata tip load up and the fish are on!

Casting the Lucanus Jig is easy and with 3 to 7oz. in weight depending on lure size this bait is easy to cast overhand or underhand. In most cases off the boat casting distance isnít the biggest issue and placing the lure away from the boat in the right direction is easily done with an underhanded lob cast. It is good to learn to cast underhanded in tight quarters since this is a lure that you are likely to use on a party boat.

We targeted Cabazon holding right on the bottom in areas that normally are snag heaven for traditional jigs

Retrieving: Once the Lucanus jig hits rock bottom (sorry I had to do work it in) you will want to start winding slowly, and I mean slooooow. The slower you fish the Lucanus jig the more fish you will land, not necessarily because you will get more strikes but because you will hook more fish that do strike. Give the fish an opportunity to hook themselves with the small hooks. At first it was hard to resist cranking up once I felt the first few ticks at the end of the line but I found many fish were just testing the skirts, when a fish does become hooked you will see and feel the Tescata rod load up. If no fish hits the Lucanus jig for a while move the lures up the water column about ten feet and drop it back down again, this will usually draw enough attention to garner a few strikes. It is important that no matter which way you fish you want to keep the lure moving, this keeps the skirt moving and entices fish to come in for a closer look and strike.

The Tescata has a hook hanger integrated right into the grip which is designed to hold both hooks safely

Throughout our tests the Lucanus jigs performed as well or better than traditional tackle, probably because it was something fish hadnít seen before and also because we spent more time working the jig and less time snagged up. Because the Lucanus jig hooks are so small and somewhat protected within the skirts the lure snagged up significantly less than traditional bars and diamonds with treble hooks on the bottom.

The Lucanus jig has a slot in which to change out hooks should they become damaged

Durability: Even though the Lucanus jig snags up less it does come in contact with structure, and some of it is very nasty if youíre fishing in good spots, so the jig does take a lot of punishment. Just after one trip the Lucanus jigs look like they have been through a battle and will often shows scars in the form of lost paint, roughed up edges that can expose the lead core underneath and torn skirts. When the body becomes damaged the Lucanus jigs do not seem to lose much effectiveness, and even lures that had lost all of their paint completely continued to still perform as long as the skirts were mainly intact. When the skirts got ripped up we did notice the jigs would start drawing less strikes. It is a good thing that Shimano sells the skirts in packs of ten for $19.99, this not only allows anglers to replace the skirts but mix up color combinations as well.

One of our test lures showing battle scars. Though damaged the lure continued to produce well until the skirt was ripped to shreds. Shimano also sells replacement skirts

Price: The Shimano Lucanus jigs are significantly more expensive than the average rock cod jig and range in price from $14.99 to $17.99 depending on size and weight. The lures are more detailed in design than traditional lures and can justify some of that cost because they last longer than traditional lures. They are not any more durable, in fact they take the same level of damage as painted spoons and diamonds, but they definitely snag up less and we ended up losing a lot fewer lures to game ending snags.

A pair of cookie cutter Cabazon courtesy of the Lucanus System

Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

Shimano Lucanus Jig ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The Lucanus jigs are built with high quality material and the finish and skirts are top notch. The finish isn't the most durable and will take damage after just a few trips to the rocky bottom however 8
Performance Unfortunately the finish of the jigs takes a beating and paint and even the lead body will take damage... but the good news is the lures continue to perform beautifully. Though shrimp flies caught more fish these jigs caught many more quality fish and when fishing was tough these jigs were money! 9
Price Retailing for $14.99-$17.99 these jigs are expensive but because of the small hooks we lost a lot fewer jigs to nasty snags 7
Features The Lucanus jig has a number of interesting features from the changeable hooks to the unique design which moves through the water well and changeable skirts. This lure also can be fished a variety of ways thanks to dual eyelets 8
Design (Ergonomics) By itself the Lucanus jig is a very interesting product, paired with a Tescata rod it is a downright deadly (and fun) way to fish and anglers can work the lure slowly in the strike zone without snagging up every few seconds like with normal jigs 8.5
Application The Lucanus jig and the system is very good for fishing for bottom fish in cold water and can be used in both shallow and deep water applications through multiple rigging techniques 9

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Excellent design that expands on a proven commercial technique L More expensive than traditional jigs
J A whole system supports the lure offering L Lure takes noticeable damage from contact with rocky bottoms
J Outstanding when paired with a Shimano Tescata rod  
J Ability to target certain species more effectively  
J Makes rockfish fishing a lot more fun  

Conclusion: Introduced over a year ago the Shimano Lucanus jigs provided US anglers with a new twist on an old technique. The beauty of the design was that Shimano was able to launch not just a lure but an entire system which included the rod, reel and lure itself. In our tests we found that shrimp flies continued to be the number one producer of fish in quantity but Lucanus Jigs and lifelike detailed spoons delivered the most quality fish. When fishing was slow the Lucanus jigs could outfish traditional methods, probably because they snag up less and were able to be worked slower right on the nastiest fish holding structure. The Lucanus jigs also have the added benefit of making rockcod fishing a little less of a crapshoot, and by changing out colors and sizes and fishing at different speeds we found we could better target specific species by staying in strike zones where certain species were normally less active and required extra coaxing to strike. A Tescata rod is highly recommended for this technique and paired together the Lucanus system is not only deadly effective but more fun than traditional heavy tackle to fish as well.


Looking for Lucanus Jigs? Try Hi's Tackle Box.









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