2016 saw the release of XP Baits Butterfly jigs into Australia. Designed in Russia, they are an ice jig with a difference and Australian wholesaler Juro Ozpro Tackle jumped at the opportunity to be the Aussie distributor. They were confident that fish like golden perch, bass, estuary perch, redfin and trout would find the unique fluttering action that the lures have, irresistible. Most people agreed after seeing them in a tank at the 2016 AFTR trade show.
Late winter and early spring is prime time for big bass in some of our SE Queensland impoundments and a key lure to have in your arsenal is an ice jig. A quick call to Rick Massie from Juro saw some Butterfly jigs arrive at the office and plans made to get out on the water to use them. We decided to head to Somerset Dam, where the bass school up in large numbers throughout the lake. Schools can be easy to find, but getting them to bite can be one of those truly frustrating things in fishing. Fishing schooled up bass in deep water doesn’t fall into my wheelhouse of fishing experience, so I recruited the boss man himself Steve Morgan to show me how it’s done.
Before opening the packet there is no obvious difference between a XP Baits Butterfly Jig and a standard ice jig. All is revealed however when you open the packet. The body of the jig has wings. They open once the jig is in the water and begins to descend. It slows the sink rate of the jig and creates an enticing fluttering action. It takes very little for wings to flick out, and not only do they provide a different action, but plenty of flash and a clicking sound as they drop.
Can it be fished like a traditional jig?
Once at your desired depth the Butterfly Jig certainly fishes like any other ice jig I have fished. A flick of the rod tip see’s the jig dart and weave as you would expect from an ice jig, it is just the fluttering motion as it drops that is completely different. Getting it to the desired depth without the fluttering slow decent would certainly be the key at times and XP Baits has a solution for this too. A line clip is in place at the tail of the jig. You clip your line into it. The jig then hangs weight down, place it in the water and drop it to your desired depth. To release the line give the rod tip a quick flick and you’re fishing.
Butterfly Jigs vs traditional methods and lures
There are many ways to target the schooled fish of Somerset Dam, from rolling plastics through them to flyfishing, but the most successful method in recent years during this spring period has been using metal slugs, which more traditionally would be used to cast for tailor or salmon.
The technique is simple – find the fish, cast your slug as far from the boat as possible, let it sink to the bottom, burn the lure back 10 winds or so, stop, feed the lure back and repeat. Steve used this method while I was using the XP Butterfly Jigs. I used a 60mm jig (weighs 10g) in the violet orange speck colour. Although similar, the method I was using was also at the opposite end of the spectrum to what Steve was doing.
We described it as finesse at the time, because the bites were heavily reliant on the action of the jig. I made long casts from the boat and then let the lure flutter down to the fish. I did add the odd twitch of the rod tip in case a bass was watching the jig as it dropped (a number of fish smashed it after the twitch). Once on the bottom, it was a matter of working the jig back to under the boat with a series of jigs and lifts. It definitely paid to work the jig directly under the boat for a while before winding in. The fish could only resist the fluttering jig for so long. I was having one retrieve to four of Steve’s.
Between these two methods we caught 23 fish. The XP Jigs well and truly held their own, bagging 11 of those fish. Size wise, Steve did pip me and it was great to see a genuine 50cm bass in the net. What impressed me was the hook up rate of the jig. I missed one bite on the day, with the majority of the fish caught in the corner of the jaw on the treble hook. I don’t think you can ask for too much more than that.
Try them for yourself
XP Baits Butterfly Jigs are readily available through most good tackle stores. They come in two sizes, 60mm weighing 10g and 50mm weighing 5.5g. There are 10 colours in each size and retail price from $19.95.
To find out more about XP Baits Butterfly Jigs and the other products that Juro OZpro Tackle do, you can go to www.jurofishing.com. – Peter Jung