The Jig Head Rig is the most famous and most used rig in the softbait fishing world.
Jig heads are very popular among fishermen, for many reasons:
_They are part of a very simple rig, it's enough in fact to
tie them directly on the line, without additional weights or knots,
and we are ready to cast.
_They are easily available everywhere; every single fishing
shop has some jig heads in stock.
_ They are more versatile and adaptable than the other
rigs, that are very specific and situational (e.g. the
Dropshot Rig and the Wacky Rig). Jig heads can be used at any
depth and with any retrieve speed.
_There are a lot of different jig heads, with different
head shapes and different hooks. This allows us to cover a lot of
Even if it is a simple rig, it's not always easy to use jig heads
in the proper way.
It's not simple to choose the right jig head, thinking about the
fishing spot, the lure we will use and the kind of fish we are
Substantially, the differences among jig heads are connected
to the head shape, the weight and the hook (size
Head Shape: I will speak about the most
common head shapes, but there are much more shapes.
_Round: the Round Jig Head is the most common one and the
easiest to find. It's suitable to all applications, but it doesn't
give its best with mid water retrieves and fast retrieves, because it's less
hydrodynamic than the others and because the round shape does not
give a particular movement while we are jerking to animate it. So
it's better to use it in vertical fishing or when we need slow
_Bullet (Darter): these bullet shape heads, or fish-head
shape heads have a very hydrodynamic profile, and, like the round
ones, they are very famous and easy to find. This hydrodynamics leads
to a reduced water resistance and is perfect with fast retrieves. So
they are the best choice with all the softbaits that imitate small
fish, like Soft Jerkbaits, Shadtail Worms, ecc.
_Stand Up: these jig heads have a flat base and a facing up
hook so that they can stay on the bottom in perfect balance. They are
mainly used with baits that work very close to the bottom, like craws
and small creatures, possibly with features that help to have the
lure standing up even better, like floating pincers or appendages.
_Football: these jig heads have a head shape that resemble
a football ball. They are usually quite heavy and have two main
features: in mid water game with Soft Swimbaits they will swim in a
very linear way, while for bottom fishing they can stand in a
perfectly stable way, guaranteeing to our softbait a correct position
on the bottom, and this is the reason why this head shape is widely
used as bass jigs base.
_Slider: these jig heads don't have normal hooks, but
offset hooks. They are substitutes of the normal Texas Rig. They are
not so common but they can be used when you want to use a Texas Rig
but with a very low weight.
Weight: there are jig heads of any weight, from 0,3g.
to beyond 250 g. The choice of the weight must be done following some
_Fishing depth: this is the most important parameter,
because a very lightweight jig head takes too much time to sink in a
very deep spot, and you will have a lot of troubles in having good
contact and sensitivity with the jig head itself. So, the first
choice must be done thinking about the depth and I can say that 2 or
3 grams for every 5 meters of depth can be a good choice in a calm
_Current (stream): the
current power is very important for some of the reasons I
explained in the paragraph above; with a strong current a light jig
head will have a lot of troubles to sink and to stay active because
it will be carried in a very fast way. This is important for the
current of rivers but also with the currents that you can find in the
sea, caused by the waves.
_Softbait weight: there
are floating and sinking softbaits. The sinking ones are usually
heavier and among the sinking ones there are some of them heavier
than the others; this depends on the rubber compound. So the jig head
weight choice must be done thinking about the softbait weight.
obviously the cast of heavier jig heads will be longer, so if we need
long casts it's better to choose heavy jig heads.
_Head material: there are lead jig heads and
tungsten jig heads. The lead ones are the most common
and the less expensive, but the tungsten ones have a double
advantage: a higher specific weight that allows us to have heavier
heads for the same volume, and a lower environmental impact, being
tungsten less polluting than lead.
Hook size and shape: the hook size must be chosen in
relation to the softbait we are going to use and to the fish we are
going to catch. On the other hand, the hook shape is connected to
three different features:
_Short Shank: the jig heads with short shank hooks are
generally the most resistant and tough ones and they are made for
seabreams and all the other fish with small mouth and hard palate. We
will use them with short and fat softbaits.
_Long Shank: the jig heads with long shank hooks are the
most common and they are suitable for every kind of fish and almost
every kind of softbait, particularly with shads, straight worms and
other long-shaped softbaits
_Offset: the jig heads with offset hooks are not so common
and they are called “Slider Jig Heads”.
In my opinion, the
best combination Jig Head-Softbait is the one that allows us to stay
in the strike zone while retrieving in the slower way possible.
This thing doesn't mean that you must always choose lightweight
jig heads, but the lightest possible in that particular situation.
This because a too heavy bait will loose a lot in movement
Thank you for the attention!