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Lure Review

himano Butterfly Jigs are more than just “lures,” they are part of a complete system (continued)

The Technique: Within the first five minutes of fishing the Butterfly Jigs I already could discern noticeable differences between these jigs and traditional. When retrieving this jigs they wouldn’t jump straight up and down like a traditional jig, instead the line would go semi-slack for a minute. After retrieving the jig several yards off the bottom its possible to let line back out generously and let the jig slowly “flutter” back to the bottom.


These hooks are sold in varying lengths to match jigs and come with Technora loops and a flashy titanium gold finished hook

This can be done at any depth, allowing the jig to be effective throughout the water column. After half an hour I was starting to get a real feel for the jig, and the importance of a light sensitive rod really started to become apparent. If you use an oversized stick you won’t be able to feel what is going on with this type of jig. The Trevala rod was absolutely perfect for this application, and the molded EVA foam helped anchor the rod perfectly for the two different jigging techniques that are recommended for fishing these jigs. These two techniques are the “Regular Jigging Action,” and the “Long Jigging Action.”


Insert the loop into the jig


The regular action requires a precise motion and can be used with both conventional and spinning tackle. After the jig has been dropped to the target zone point the rod tip down and raise the rod with a circular motion. Lift on the upswing of the reel handle and lower the rod on the downstroke of the rotation. Your arm is held close to your body and the rod is loosely positioned right in your armpit. The total distance in which the rod moves is between 10 to 20 inches depending on how aggressive you want to be. I tried both fast and slow retrieves, and found that with this jigging action the faster retrieve seemed to work better. The more aggressive and willing to chase the species are, the faster you will want to retrieve. The Butterfly seems to work not because fish are necessarily in the mood to feed, but because they are on a reaction bite.


Pull the loop closed over the ring


The long action technique will also work with both conventional and spinning tackle. The main difference here is that the rod is brought all the way to the 11:00 position. Once up there wind down bringing up the slack line until it is totally tight, which will lower your rod into the starting position. Simply repeat this process and vary your retrieve speed depending on how aggressive the fish are. In our tests we got into some serious schools of blue rockfish that were more than 40 feet off the bottom. In this situation the long action allowed me to work the jig in and out of the hovering school, and not only did the fish chase it but there were times when a fish was on the hook and another blue would still chase the jig as I was reeling the hooked fish all the way up to visible range near the surface! Because the Butterfly Jig uses free swinging hooks the straight pull of the main line keeps the hook inline with the fish, versus a normal jig where the weight of jig can act as a level to pry the hooks away from the fish. Using two hooks simply increases the chances of double hooking a single fish.


You can use one or two dancing stingers
(wire versions are also available for toothy game)


Applications: Shimano claims that these jigs will work when other lures do not, and fish are finicky. For the most part this statement is true, but I think a more accurate statement is this jig will allow you to get into fish that you might not normally with other jigs. I caught a completely different assortment of fish when using only the Butterfly jigs. You get species that are aggressive, willing to chase, and the Butterfly jigs are deadly effective when worked through schools of fish.


A close up if the 3D gill design

Fighting fish with a Butterfly Jig is also different than a normal jig. With a normal jig its is more like winching up weight, where as with a Butterfly jig the fish feels much more connected to your main line and you can really get into some serious battles. At first I used ball bearing snap so I could switch out Butterfly jigs easily, but I recommend tying the jig on to your main line with a fluorocarbon leader. This will give you the most connected feel, hide your main line from shy fish, as well as prevent the stinger hook from hanging up on the swivel.

Once you get the jigging technique down you can catch a wider variety of fish...and have a lot of fun doing it


Price: The Butterfly Jigs are an absolute blast to fish with, and will work in certain situations where normal jigs don’t perform. Now here’s the downside…the price. These Jigs by themselves are pretty darn expensive, retailing for $14.99-$24.99. That’s the jig alone…adding the stinger hooks will cost you another six dollars for a set of two. The only part of the entire jigging combo that is considered cheap is the very reasonably priced Trevala jigging rods. Imagine 4 jigs and hooks costing as much as the rod itself! The quality on these jigs are top notch, and the precision manufacturing shows through, but the cost is still a concern, as they retail for triple conventional jigs. The one plus is that while these jigs cost more anglers will not need as many of them as they would normally stock when using conventional jigs. The reason why? Because they do not have treble hooks on the bottom and are fished throughout the water column they simply don’t snag up much. In fact in our test we didn’t lose a single Butterfly Jig.


Shimano Butterfly Jig Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality These jigs are designed and built extremely well. The cuts and angles on these jigs are unique and well implemented. The finishes are exceptional as well, and they have a pattern for just about every species 9
Performance Performance of these jigs is just as good as any other jig, but when paired with the right rod and fished aggressively these jigs really come to life. It is possible to catch a much wider range of species and even bigger fish with these jigs once you learn to fish the jigs. The key to success is being active on that rod! 9.5
Price At $14.99 to $24.99 these jigs are much more expensive than most jigs out there. In fact four Long jigs cost as much as a Trevala rod! Add in the additional cost of the stinger hooks and these jigs really do cost a lot. The good news is you wont be losing these jigs to snags like normal jigs since the hooks are not on the base of the jig 6.5
Features Features...not something we normally examine with something as simple as a jig...but Shimano's Butterflys are not normal jigs. The entire design revolves around a new system and new way to fish 8
Design (Ergonomics) The Butterfly jigs are easy to fish and Shimano actually has designed bags and even a tool to help anglers transport and rig these jigs 8
Application If you like to simply vertically jig your lure than this bait is not for you. Anglers really have to get aggressive when jigging these lures. Get active on that rod with a short or long stroke and work the jig all the way up. Species that chase will hit the Butterfly on a reaction bite. Fished properly these jigs can outfish live bait, and they can be used on a wide range of applications 9

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Unique action L Expensive per jig
J Complete system available L Hooks sold separately...and aren't cheap either
J Ability to target new species  
J Easy system to travel with  
J Very exciting to fish with  

The Butterfly Jigs are all about “Action & Reaction.” The “action” of the jig that incites the “reaction” of the fish. The faster the current and the deeper you are fishing the larger jigs and tackle system you will need. There are four main parts to the system, the rod, reel, line/leader, and jig itself. You can catch big fish with these jigs, but not just because the jig itself imparts unique action. The rod is critical to the butterfly jigging system. You need to keep the jig moving so a consistent lifting and reeling puts a lot of stress on both your rod and reel. The Trevala paired with a larger Calcutta is good enough for Lings, but pursuing Red Snapper or Amberjacks requires a larger high speed reel like the Trinidad or even the Torsa. It is hard to rate the Butterfly Jigs alone, since they are part of a well thought out system. The Trevala rods are specifically designed to pair up with these jigs, and they feel extremely light and crisp, yet have plenty of power to bring the fish up, all the while being responsive enough to let you know exactly what’s going on at the end of the line. All in all the Butterfly Jigs are pretty exciting by themselves, but paired up with the right reel and rod and you have a exciting new way to fish, and a thrilling new way to target a much wider variety of species since you are targeting fish on a reaction versus a hunger bite, and can effectively fish the entire water column not just the bottom. Shimano may have brought the system to the mainstream angler but were pretty positive that other lure manufacturers will follow suit with their own version of the "Butterfly Jig." Hopefully this will allow more anglers to get into fishing "Butterfly" style...as it is the most compelling new technique for saltwater anglers to come up...for as long as we can remember.












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