Words & Images: Colby Lesko
Tai Kabura jigs are a Japanese design that’s over 200 years old. Tai means snapper and these jigs were designed to target Japanese pink snapper, which are very similar to our southern snapper here in Australia.
This style of jig is highly effective at catching a range of demersal species right across the country. The lead ball head acts as a weight and an attractant while the rubber skirt entices the fish. The jigs are fitted with two small dangling hooks attached via Kevlar assist cord and these are highly effective at hooking snapper, which often take small nibbles of a lure.
Tai Kabura mimic a small octopus or squid as the skirt waves around like tentacles. This style of bottom jig is not new to the market and over recent years has taken off in popularity as they certainly catch fish. Black Magic has recently developed its version of the Tai Kabura with the Sunakku Jig and I was keen to test them out over wrecks and reef here in Queensland, so I was stoked when Hooked Up’s Kosta said he had a bunch to send to me.
What separates the Sunakku from other Tai Kabura jigs on the market is that it has been designed to cater for Australia and New Zealand’s various and large demersal species and the heavy lines and drag pressures needed to extract these fish from wrecks and reef. Black Magic is a company known for its outstanding quality when it comes to pre-made rigs, and its Japanese hooks and terminal tackle. The Sunakku is available in five weights of 60g, 80g, 100g, 130g and 200g, and comes in six great colours that suit various depths and water conditions, ranging from bright pinks through to Black Lumo.
My favourite aspects of the Sunakku jigs are the strong luminescent colours and the large reflective eyes that work well to attract demersal species even at great depths. The Sunakku jig heads and skirts are both luminescent and ultraviolet to provide great visibility and strike triggers, even in deep water.
Importantly, these jigs feature high-quality Japanese hooks that are sharp, strong and feature a PTFE coating, much like Black Magic’s DX range, which gives them great durability. The jig threads onto your leader so the hooks are in no way attached to the weight, preventing the fish from using this weight as leverage as they try to shake the hooks. I really like this free-sliding weight but you also have to thread on a bead and the skirt before you tie to the solid ring that holds the hooks. Threading on these three items before you tie the hooks on can be a bit fiddly (especially in rough seas) and heavy leaders only just fit through the lure. However, it’s worth the effort to provide a finesse presentation and to prevent the fish using the weight to throw the hooks.
Once tied on the Sunakku does work well and doesn’t tangle too much at all. The skirts are a little light-on, with only a few skirt stands and no curly tails, but this doesn’t seem to stop fish from eating them.
Most reef fish had no problem eating the Sunakku jigs and they are a great option for species such as tuskfish, nannygai and snapper. Any of the slower-moving reef fish that eat a lot of squid and octopus love these jigs. You don’t have to work them much, I just do small hops off the bottom then every few hops jig it up 3 or 4 metres off the bottom then drop it back down. Many bites come on the drop, so keep connected when the bait is free-falling to the bottom. You can even drop one of these jigs to the bottom as you drift and put the rod in the rod holder, letting the waves and rolling action of the boat impart action on the jig. It’s surprising how many extra fish you will catch doing this as these jigs require little action – they just need small hops and water movement to get the skirt moving.
The jigs stood up well to the challenges of Aussie reef fishing and at a price of just under $20 they are one of the least expensive Tai Kabura jigs on the market, offering excellent bang for buck. They sure have a place in the Aussie saltwater angler’s tackle box, whether you’re fishing up north or down south. They are an effective option for jigging offshore reef fish that isn’t physically taxing and are a heap of fun to use. If you have never tried this technique, the Sunakku jigs with their moderate price tag and quality build are a great place to start.