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Z-man HeroZ - Kicking butt!
April 6 2020
April 6 2020
These big bad boys have been knocking over some big snapper and ripper kings in recent times; you can either fish them the standard Ocean Angler way for trophy snapper on soft-bait gear, adding them to our long-shank Lightbulbs (or to our competitor's 7/0 version), or fish them for kingfish on our 60 or 120g OA Cyclops 7/0 rigs using 15-24kg tackle.
We've talked about the Lightbulbs many times before, so I won't keep banging on about them except to say they punch well above their weight, especially considering their price. They keep their point, resist rust and will keep their shape on the biggest fish when used with soft-bait gear!
The Cyclops offer a whole heap of interesting options. These slide along the line when simply dropped down on jigging gear, same as a Slider, leaving the HeroZ to weave its way down afterwards, alone and apparently vulnerable. Many are taken well short of reaching the bottom - sometimes these predators are kingfish, at other times snapper.
Once on the bottom though, just jiggle them around seductively, keeping in mind how injured baitfish move. Stay alert for mainline that stays slack for two long; chances are a fish is chewing on it, so lift the rod tip a bit to feel for pressure, and if it starts to bend, lift hard!
It also pays to mechanically jig the HeroZ if specifically after kingfish; concentrate on the bottom 10-25 metres in deep water, as that's where you'll find most of them tend to be when near bottom structure - or target the depths where your fish-finder indicates baitfish are holding.
Otherwise you can lob/cast your Z-Man out on medium (15-24kg) stick-bait gear past navigation buoys and posts, or over surface schooling baitfish, allowing the rig to sink down to the desired depth before jiggling erratically back. Kings often sit below schools of baitfish, or on the edges, waiting for a chance to pick of stragglers.
Due to the hook size and likely fish attracted, you'll need the power of the heavier line to control and slow the hooked kingfish. whatever you do though, don't rip and jerk the rod around violently, as this panics the fish and makes breaking off on the bottom or the navigational device far more likely. Instead, keep rod pumps nice and smooth - you'll find the kings much less aggravated and more controllable. In fact, if in a shallow, reefy area, simply maintain modest, smooth pressure while slowly motoring out into safer/deeper water; the kingfish will often simply trail along after you.
One thing I would recommend if casting any distance; look at Supagluing the HeroZ onto the shank. Yes, there is a ribbed section on the hook shank, but it's not really enough to survive the force involved when explosive casts suddenly meet the water on a regular basis!
Or try trolling. We generally do this whenever fast-moving baitfish activity is encountered. you don't need to go very fast - just 3-4 knots - but keeping the rod tip down and regularly pulsing the Z-man forward will make a huge difference to your success. Again, the 7/0 Cyclops rig works well in this scenario.