How To Pick Out The Best Bucktail Jig In A Store (For Any Type Of Fishing)


It’s Bucktail time!

Bucktail jigs are some of the oldest and most popular ways to catch fish of all species.

You can cast them to a two-foot deep sandy pothole in the flats for snook or vertical jig them in 200 feet of water for snapper and grouper.

But there are tons of different sizes and styles of bucktail jigs.

How do you figure out which ones to use?

In this video, we’ve got Capt. Mark “Hollywood” Johnson of to help us figure it out.

He’ll go over:

  • How to pick bucktail jigs for inshore, nearshore, and offshore fishing
  • The best bucktail jigs for Spanish mackerel
  • Which colors are best
  • And much more

Watch the video or read the post below to learn how to pick the best bucktail jigs for each type of fishing.


How To Pick Out The Best Bucktail Jigs [VIDEO]

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Bucktail jigs can catch nearly every species of fish, but typically the same bucktail jig won’t catch both a Spanish mackerel and a grouper.

Below are some tips for choosing which bucktail jigs to use when fishing inshore, nearshore, or offshore, as well as some information about other types of bucktail jigs.

Inshore Fishing Bucktail Jigs

Inshore bucktail jigs are mostly used when fishing the flats and around mangroves.

The ones Capt. Johnson uses are called flats, or skimmer jigs and their heads are flat and shaped like an arrowhead.

They’re light, usually between 1/8-1/4 oz, and they usually come in white or chartreuse.

It’s best if they have weed guards because of all the seagrass, weeds, and other structure in the flats.

The brand mentioned in this video is Capt. Hank Brown’s Hookup Lures

You can get them on Amazon here.

Nearshore Fishing Bucktail Jigs

Nearshore fishing bucktail jigs are heavier, have a boxing glove head, and don’t have weed guards.

The size you choose (usually 1/2 oz to a couple of ounces) depends on the depth and current, and fish love the chartreuse and hot pink colors.

Pompano Jigs

Pompano jigs are similar to nearshore bucktail jigs in that they’re a little heavier than inshore jigs, but the difference is the hair is a little shorter than other types of bucktail jigs.

In addition to catching pompano, these jigs are great for Spanish mackerel.

Offshore Bucktail Jigs

luke simonds gag grouper

Offshore bucktail jigs are much heavier than other types of bucktail jigs.

The one mentioned in this video is 6 oz and is good for depths up to about 200 feet.

You can tip them with cut bait or rubber worms and are great for snapper and grouper, or even tuna and mackerel.

They typically have shiny, reflective eyes and lots of flash on the body and in the hair to catch the eyes of large predator fish.

Another difference between offshore bucktail jigs and other styles is that the hook eye is on top of the jig head, which allows the lure to stay horizontal while vertical jigging.

Like the other bucktail jigs, hot pink and chartreuse work very well.

The brand mentioned in this video is Spro and you can get it from Amazon here.

Other Bucktail Jigs

In this video, Capt. Johnson also mentioned some off-style bucktail jigs.

The one here is a long, thin jig with lots of flashy mylar that can be cast really far.

It’s great for mackerel fishing and is inexpensive (which is important because Spanish mackerel tear them up!).


spanish mackerel in the florida keys

Although bucktail jigs can catch nearly any species of fish in any environment, it’s important that you choose the right jig for the conditions you’re fishing in.

The deeper the water and stronger the current, the heavier the bucktail jig will have to be.

And although nearly everyone’s favorite color is chartreuse, white and hot pink do well, too.

If you’re in the Keys and want to book a trip with Capt. Johnson’s company you can do so at

Have any questions about bucktail jigs?

Let me know in the comments below.

And if you know someone who wants to get better at catching fish with bucktail jigs, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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4 years ago

Definitely a great overview. Have never used bucktails, mainly fish out of Yankeetown/crystal river area – mostly yankeetown. I am interested in giving them a try, but have no clue on how to retrieve or present them. Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks for all of the helpful info you guys put out.

Raleigh Thomas
4 years ago

Great overview on bucktails, and especially on the different head shapes and their use. One thing to add, when he got into the ‘specialty’ jigs, note that when he showed the thin, flashy jigs that are good for mackerel, notice how very long the hook shank is, compared to the others. That long hook let’s you use mono or floro leaders instead of wire and get many more times strikes, without getting cut off nearly as much as shorter shank.

Sam Craparo
4 years ago

Us old guys remember fishing before al these soft plastics

Raleigh Thomas
4 years ago
Reply to  Sam Craparo

Yeah I hear ya Sam! Our grandfathers would be absolutely dumbfounded at the vast array of plastics out there today, and their realism!

Shaun McBride
4 years ago

Every time I go to the bait shop I think I should try buck tails. Any tips on retrieval’s would be awesome.

bob bbot
2 years ago
Reply to  Shaun McBride

just jig it, you will be fine. And will catch a lot of fish.

Isaac Lee
4 years ago

Wonderful article. Answered questions I didn’t even know I had!

Thom Ray
4 years ago

Good overview. I need to work buck tails into my rotation. Would love to see some inshore / flats fishing videos w how to and where to throw inshore jigs for the “slam”


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