Battle of The Jigs
Squid ﬁshing is booming as the crafty cephalopods appear in ever greater numbers
around the UK coast and UK sea anglers get in on the action. Chris Kennedy tests two brands of lures in a head-to-head comparison to see which comes out as king of the jigs.
A common thing in sea angling media is to see reviews of tackle tests on a specific producer but rarely do we see a side-by-side comparison looking at products of two rival brands.
With squid, or ‘eging’, season well underway, I thought I’d take a look at the performance of the world’s most dominant squid jig brand, Yamashita, from Japan, versus Fiiish, from France, who are well renowned for soft and hard plastic lures and have recently entered the squid fishing market with an innovative new design called the “Power Tail Squid”.
To provide some context and background, I have been a die-hard user of Yamashita Warm Jacket jigs, either in the 3.00 or 3.5 size. For those of you who know the range, I particularly love the 490 glow. These lures (jigs) from Yamashita resemble prawns or perhaps a little sea horse moving through the water column. They come in all sorts of colours and sizes, some with and without rattles. In contrast, what Fiiish have done is design a squid jig which, in my opinion, is more like a juvenile fish in some ways but a world apart from the mainstay of squid or cuttlefish jig designs on the market today.
We know the Yamashita jigs work; they have a longstanding pedigree and reputation. The burning question is: does the Power Tail Squid from Fiiish compete, and what are the results? It’s all very well designed and makes something attractive to the buyer aesthetically, but do the squid actually love them? It was my job to do the experiment and find out.
I had some reservations and biases to start with. I am a guy who would ordinarily stick with what is tried and tested. My fi shing time can be limited, and I don’t like to waste time. When looking at the Fiiish jigs, I questioned whether prongs that didn’t do a full 360 degrees around the lure would be as eﬃcient. I wondered how fast they would sink, and what their movement would be like in water. I also wondered whether the clear paddle tail would create a distressed signal in the water, as the Yamashita rattle does.
My first impression is they are more aerodynamic. On my 8-20g Daiwa HRD rod, I could cast the Fiiish Power Tail Squid jigs much further than the Yamashita counterparts, despite also being 15g. Not only was I achieving greater distances in the cast, which is particularly helpful in windier conditions, but the Fiiish jigs were sinking just that bit faster than the Yamashita Warm Jackets. Some of you fishing very shallow venues like Weymouth may regard that as a disadvantage. Those fishing deeper water will probably prefer this as you can cover more ground, more quickly. To be honest, I would happily fish with the Fiiish lures in shallow ground, and just work the rod more. Squid are not slow movers, they are quick enough to catch my Sabiki feathers and metal jigs when they want to.
The action works two ways effectively: you can either use a slow retrieve after it has hit the bottom, which is what Fiiish recommends. Or you can jig, creating a distressed motion, and the cephalopods will often take them while moving up and down. I would always do that periodically creating distressed signals underwater.
One added advantage of the Power Tail Squid is the incredibly solid construction of the lures. I do get snagged at times, sometimes on thick kelp. Other times on-line snags on the bottom, or other obstructions. I have destroyed a few conventional jigs using my 28lb J-Braid by trying to pull free, which either bends the prongs straight or pulls the whole prologue unit off. The Fiiish jig is so solidly built that I pulled out of a very tough snag the other night, where the pressure was somewhere up around the line capacity. I was so surprised when it came free and still had someone else’s thick mono wrapped around it, but the jig was totally unscathed. In a world where things are often cheap, flimsy and not made to last, I was very impressed with how the Power Tail Squid lures have been made. It’s certainly an edge they have on their competitors.
AND THE WINNER IS…
I have previously sung the praises of the Yamashita Warm Jacket / 490 glow jigs as my first choice. I think Fiiish have done an amazing job in coming to a very competitive market with their own innovative options that really work sensationally well. The genius behind this style of design is that we always assume that the prawn-style jig from brands likes of Yamashita and Yo Zuri are the best. However, squid are so often hunting small fish; they are opportunist hunters, and we should hardly be surprised that a design like the Power Tail Squid is so effective at catching these delicious, tentacled predators. Based on my experience this autumn, in terms of performance, if I had to choose just one jig to take with me when chasing squid, ultimately I would have most confidence in the Fiiish Power Tail
Where to find them and costs
Fiiish Power Tail Squid
Yamashita Warm Jackets:
RRP : £13.99
Both can be found at www.veals.co.uk