CYPRESS – Daiwa released an intriguing new bottom fishing jig family to the U.S. market for the Fred Hall Long Beach Show, the Rock Rover, along with the Elev8 series of rods with actions custom designed for use with the new jig. Originating in Japan where it is known as an Inchiku jig, this metal blade with a tethered squid rigged with dual hooks has been around for years according to Bobby Martinez, a friend of the company. Martinez was lucky to be one of the product testers.
“My friend Brian Yamane works at Daiwa,” Martinez said. “He brought one back from Japan and wanted to try it out, so we took it rockfishing and he did very well. Eighteen months later he told me ‘I think we’re going to bring it in (to the U.S.).’ It was a fun thing. The trailer dances around the jig. It looks so natural.”
Martinez was part of the team that researched how to incorporate the Rock Rover into the west coast style of rockfishing. “It works amazingly,” he said. “It’s a 3 in 1 jig, with three attachment points which all do different things with the jig.” A look at the accompanying photo illustrates what he was talking about.
Martinez is partial to tying the main line to the pointy end of the metal blade, and then rigging the tethered squid on the central attachment point. This configuration is best with a slow retrieve. It usually gets bit on the sink. “I bring it up in big sweeps and let it shimmy down,” he said.
It can also be reeled up 10 to 20 feet from the bottom on a slow wind. Smaller rockfish tend to nip at the squid, eliciting a predatory response from larger models such as vermillions and lingcod. “When the smaller fish come to eat it, just keep slowing winding through it and then you’ll feel a bigger bite,” Martinez said.
For the most erratic action, Martinez ties the main line to the central attachment point and attaches the squid to the wider end of the metal jig. That’s best for slow short pumping. With so many pelagic tuna crabs around, Martinez has been killing it on the red Rock Rover jig. “That red one was dynamite, it shimmies just like a red crab,” he said.
For extra appeal, Martinez said he likes to squirt a scent product into the squid.
The jigs are available in four colors: bright red, sardine, glow and gold, and retail for $12.99 to $14.99 depending on their weight. They come as light as 2.8 ounces to as heavy as 7. “I like the 3.5 and 4.5,” Martinez said. “If you think it would take 8 ounces to get to the bottom, I use a 4.5 Rock Rover. They drop down pretty fast.”
Martinez prefers to work the Rock Rover jigs on a baitcaster spooled with 40-pound braid, but you could go up to 50. He said a Lexa 300 or 400 heavy duty saltwater baitcaster is ideal. “With 40-pound braid you have enough line to fish 300 feet,” he pointed out.
The Elev8 rod series designed for the Rock Rover jigs comes in medium, medium heavy and heavy weights. “All 3 only bend about 12 inches from the tip,” Martinez said. “They are fast action but have parabolic tips.”
The soft tips help keep fish pinned on the hook during the retrieve and through head shakes. The rods retail for $169 each. “Using an Elev8 really helps, but if you don’t get one you want something with a parabolic tip that shuts down around 12 inches,” he said.
Martinez said the Rock Rover / Elev8 system will always be great to keep on the boat. He called it a trip saver or skunk slayer for those times the gamefish don’t bite. “You don’t need messy squid on board to take home some table fare,” he added.