By Neil Taylor
Originally posted to b3fishing.com
As a reader at Pro Anglers Journal: The pursuit of big gamefish is your objective. As the saying goes: “A tradesman is only as good as their tools”. The serious anglers are practicing a craft. To achieve success, as it is with other skilled professions, one needs “the right tool for the right job.” Without the right tools, desired results are tougher to achieve and frustration sets in quickly. With all the tools necessary, the only thing that remains is knowing the right time to use each one.
Almost every angler is introduced to the sport in the artificial lure realm with one of two items: A treble hook style lure or a single hook jighead lure. This might work for a large percentage of the fishing they’ll do in their careers but they will learn at some point that they need another vital option or they may as well just go on home. Fishing the shallowest grassflats, this lesson can be learned the hard way. A few situations arise that make the standard style lures a nightmare for trying to keep a “clean” lure presented to the gamefish they’re targeting:
1) Loose, floating weeds are floating on the surface or laying on the bottom.
2) Shallow water thick-bladed turtle grass extend high up off the bottom
3) Very thin, easy-to-uproot and get on a hook eel grasses
Using the other lures, the frustration is instantaneous as anglers see feeding fish but their lures are immediately stuck in the seagrass. It is where the phrase “this is weediculous!” comes from. Anglers can give up or they can make the adjustment to a weedless jighead or lure. That simple adjustment could lead to instant success in those situations.
Ultimately, there is no truly “weedless” lure. But there are some available options that are a “must have” for those situations. The contrast between the treble hook lures and “exposed” jighead hooks to the weedless options is the ability for weeds to get on those hooks. Weedless jigheads minimize this from happening. The soft plastic baits that are so popular for fishing for trout, redfish, snook and almost every other fish species have jighead options that hide those hooks in such a way that weeds will not be able to get picked up by those hooks.
Another added advantage is retrieve speed. Weedless rigging allows for the ability to let a lure slide across shallow grassy areas or even allow it to stop and rest on the bottom without snagging on anything or picking up debris. This is particularly critical when the artificial lure angler is vying for tailing or otherwise extremely skinny water redfish. The other lure options with exposed hooks? They are simply not an option in those situations. The ability to slow the lure down is part of the advantage of the weedless offering but ultimately, keeping it clean is paramount. Weeds on the lure means the anglers are out of contention. It is not just the diminished action of the lure: Do you ever see a baitfish swimming around with weeds stuck to it?
There are other applications and uses for this style jighead. Weedless jigheads are also “Treeless and oysterproof.” Without an exposed hook, the lure is less likely to get hung up on rocks and oysters. It also allows for more aggressive casting toward the trees. Over-aggressive casts that make it to the tree limbs are often an easy solution: The hook point buried in plastic, a simple lift of the rod tip and the lure will usually pop right out of the tree.
There are many options for this kind of rigging.
This is the 12 Fathom SlamR rigged on the Edje jighead. The screw lock jigheads are great for the plastic tails that have body grooves designed into the lure molds. When a fish bites down on this lure, the plastic clears away from the hook allowing the angler to get the hook set on the fish.
This is the 12 Fathom Fat Sam Mullet on the Mission Fishin’ weedless jighead. If you look at this option, there is a standard jighead with a metal weed guard. When a fish bites down on this lure the weed guard bounces out of the way and the fish’ mouth is exposed to the jighead hook.
Put them in your tackle supplies and put them to work when you feel you’re losing the battle with the weeds!