Tackle Test: Black Magic Flipper Jigs (2018)

The Maori Fishing Calendar said, ‘Stay in bed,’ so what better opportunity to truly test the capabilities of new terminal tackle?

Launching from Marsden Cove just after 6.00am, we headed for some deep foul off Bream Head in around 50 metres of water. There wasn’t much sign showing on the main brick, but the smaller bits of foul a hundred or so metres away showed more promise. A quick dummy drift got the angle right, with the next drift seeing us line up the fish sign perfectly. There was good snapper sign hard on the bottom, with some solid marks half-way up too, and we were soon into fish.

The Flipper jigs are an interesting piece of kit, being quite long and light. The heaviest, at 200g, is 193mm in length. The ones we were predominantly fishing – 80, 100 and 150g models – were 145mm up to 185mm long respectively. They are an unusual shape, their unique design producing a fluttering zig-zig drop and an erratic retrieve that worked well for us on the primary target, snapper.

Front and back views of the Flipper jigs, showing the shape and colour options.

Flippers are available in five weights, 60g up to 200g, so there’s a model suitable for most circumstances. Their colouration and finish are big features; they include: Pink and Lumo; Silver-Orange-Lumo; Blue-Lumo; and Black-Silver-Lumo. The pink, blue and silver jigs have an almost reflective scale on their ‘spoon’ side that catches the light while descending. All have lumo stripes or spots.

As you would expect from Black Magic Tackle, a company that started out by selling hooks, the assist hooks and Kevlar traces are good quality. Not even the attention of the razor gang and a few decent sets of snapper gnashers made much impact on them. The assists come in hook sizes of 1-5, depending on the jig’s size.

Steve used a Black Magic UV charger – the electronic version of Secret Sauce – to ‘fire up’ the lumo stripes and spots, which must have helped given the depth we were fishing. Whatever the reason, a wide variety of species fell to the Flippers’ charms over the course of the day, including: sea perch, blue cod, pigfish, granddaddy hapuku and, unfortunately, ‘couta.

Not to be outdone, Steve Newland enjoyed good success on his company’s Flipper jigs, too.

Even flasher than before

While the Flipper lures provided the heavy artillery, the Black Magic boys also had other tricks up their sleeves - ones the fish hadn’t seen before.

Black Magic flasher rigs have been often copied, but never beaten. For this summer there are some fresh options, and my favourite is the super-lumo colour available in four hook sizes – 4/0, 5/0, 6/0 and 8/0. It was the best performer of the flasher rigs on the day.

Flasher rigs are great for inexperienced anglers especially. Quite often the crew will include ‘part-time’ anglers over the holiday period. It’s a simple matter to set them up with well-weighted BM flasher rigs so they stay in contact with the bottom - and then catch fish. The rigs’ recurve style hooks see the fish attach themselves, without the need for a big strike – just lift and wind.

Included in the latest flasher rigs line-up are some new sizes for the Saury, Pinky, Original and Sunset Snatcher series, while in the Whacker range – rigged on suicide-style hooks – there are additional sizes for the Original, Candy, Firefly and Blinky.

The extended hook range gives anglers a greater choice. If fishing waters that can produce big fish, there are bigger hook options, such as the 8/0. However, if you’re after ‘pannies’, there are smaller options, too. All are hand-tied in New Zealand to a high standard using quality components.

A Black Magic product that has not really caught on in New Zealand yet, but is very popular across the ditch, is the Squidly rigs. (Apparently, these rigs are considered ‘deadly’ on flathead, so perhaps they might be a good option for our gurnard?) We caught quite a few snapper on them, and there is a new 9cm size available, as well as a new colour called Candy.

While the Flippers’ unusual appearance initially made me wonder how effective they might be, by the session’s end my fears had been allayed. Although we did not enjoy a red-hot bite, the Flippers provided steadily over the day, and when the bite was on, they certainly maximised the opportunities. I will certainly be adding some Flipper jigs to my lure collection – they made ‘getting out of bed’ more than worthwhile! 

January 2018 - Grant Dixon
New Zealand Fishing News Magazine.
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