For offshore casting, a 'must-have' lure in recent years has been the Jackson Pintail. In this region, it is known as a favorite for casting for Mackerel, and the countless catch reports showing a Pintail hanging off the jaws of these fish can attest to that. The pintail is also deadly on other species, and we hope that this post provides some insight on how to get the most out of the Pintail.
The Jackson Pintail is a heavy sinking lure that performs optimally using a high speed retrieve to target pelagic fish such as mackerel, tuna, GTs and dorado. Casting the Pintail into schools of baitfish and ripping it back at high speed produced heaps of mackerel and an assortment of trevally species that love to shadow baitfish schools.
When casting for mackerel with the pintail, we recommend employing a fast, constant retrieve. Refrain from twitching the lure as this increases the chances of bite-offs to these toothy predators. When the macks are around in numbers, it is also important that you do not stop cranking once you start your retrieve.
Due to its fast sinking nature, we discovered that there was more to this versitile lure than just the conventional retrieve. Letting the lure sink to the seabed and twitching it near the bottom produced an assortment of other species of fish. For one, big bottom dwellers like the coral trout just love a big bait and the Pintail never fails to fool these prized table fish. If there was nothing lurking at the bottom, flat cranking it back from the deep may also produce a mackerel along the way. Essentially, this is an extremely versatile lure for searching different columns of water.
The Pintail comes in 2 models. The shorter and heavier Pintail 20 and 35 are best for bottom fish. They sink as fast as a jig and have a wild, erratic action when retrieved. Twitch it along the bottom and you can expect to catch almost anything. We recommend using single hooks with both hooks facing upwards. This is to prevent snagging the bottom. The longer, slim models Pintail 27, 40 and 50 are arguably the greatest mackerel lures in the market.
The Pintail 27 is a downsized cousin of the highly effective on juvenile pelagic fish. Daniel's catches below show some juvenile GTs that have taken a fancy to the smaller Pintail.
Recommended tackle for Pintail luring would be a good offshore casting rod about 7-8 feet. The Evergreen Poseidon Ocean Hunter POHS 77 is a wonderful weapon of choice. We usually match this with a Shimano 6000 reel, 20 lb braided line or P.E 2.5-3 line. We find that using flourocarbon leader of about 40-50 lbs is ideal. To connect the lures to our leader, we use size 2-4 swivels and size 4 split rings. We prefer to avoid snaps as they have the tendency to 'open up', and they also impede the lure's swimming action.