So I wanted to add a little to last Tuesday’s post about soft plastics. I spent quite some time discussing the actual rigging process and how meticulous you should be with the hook placement in the bait, but I didn’t mention anything about the jig heads. Jig heads are very important, especially when using Z-Man soft plastics. I basically use two different styles of regular jig heads. For trout, flounder, and puppy drum in shallow water, I use the Z-Man Trout Eye jig heads in 3/16 ounce. I don’t think it really matters a whole lot, but I do prefer the clear-colored translucent eyes. They come in red, yellow, white, and clear. I like the clear because they seem to flash a bit more in the water as the sun shines down on them and as the bait rolls from side to side. Does it really help? The truth is I don’t know for sure, but it gives me more confidence in my bait, which is very important in my opinion.
Having a good quality hook kinda goes without saying, but Z-Man uses black Mustad Ultra-Point hooks, which I find to be great hooks. Some people prefer hooks with a wire that is thin enough to bend out if you get hung. While that does save you a jig head or two when you get it hung, you run the risk of the hook bending or breaking when you hook an exceptional fish. If you get it hung and bend it out and rebend it back and use it again, it definitely has a higher probability of bending out again or breaking on a fish. I know this from personal experience.
3/16 ounce is the perfect weight. Z-Man nailed it in this regard by offering a mainstream jig head in this weight. Some may disagree, but I think in most cases 1/8 ounce is just a tad too light and 1/4 ounce is just a tad too heavy. If the fish are being finicky and there’s no wind, 1/8 ounce is fine, but I like that little bit of feel and distance you get from a slightly heavier head.
For striper fishing in rivers with current, I like a 1/2 ounce. I have a nice client named Paul who pours jig heads for me. The name of his outfit is “Big Head Jig Heads”. He doesn’t really have a head bigger than anyone else, but it’s a good name. He can pour whatever you want. Email me if you want to get in contact with him. The jig heads he pours for me have a double barb (one on each side of the shank facing opposite directions like the Trout Eye). This barb style is essential for the Z-Mans because they hold the bait on there without it slipping. Many people use super glue. I have tried it and honestly find it to be a mess and just one extra unnecessary step in getting rigged up. Use the right jig heads, seat your plastic well up on the barbs, and you won’t have any trouble with the bait sliding down when you get a bite.
Z-Man has a wide array of quality jig heads on the market today…..18 different offerings for just about every different type of fishing out there. The Trout Eye series alone is available in 1/8, 3/16, and 1/4. They have the Redfish Eye (larger hook) available in 1/8-1/2 ounce, and the Striper Eye available in 1/2-1 ounce. They also have a great weedless offering in the Weedless Eye, available in 1/8-1/4 ounce. This can be a good one for fishing heavy structure such as stump beds in shallow water.
So the bottom line is pick a good quality jig head with a good hook that can hold your bait on without it slipping down. A lot of these things I’ve discussed about soft plastics in this post and the last one are kinda common sense; however, these are just many of the small details that if you can incorporate as a regular part of your fishing program, you will be upping your game and really doing all that you can do on your end to maximize your opportunities.