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Who Let the Jigs Out?
Joe Rummelt of Laketown - that's who

By Russ Bassdozer

Some say a dog is man's best friend or diamonds are a girl's  best friend. I say jigheads are my best friend. Here's a review a few of my most productive soft plastic jig combinations featuring Laketown jig and Yamamoto soft plastic combos.

Weedless Hula Grub Jig

There are over 136 models and sizes of Laketowns; all made exclusively with Gamakatsu jig hooks. On open bottom, I like the productivity of the Hula Grub Jig so much that I asked Laketown to make a weedless model with a two-prong wireguard for sparse cover and rocks. The wide flat head tends to stand up on bottom, which is key to keep it snagless when slow-crawling crawdad-imitating baits.  If it does tip over, the spread wireguard still helps deflect snags off both sides of the hook point.

The 4/0 60 EWG hook is super for the 99-series and 97-series double tail hula grubs on medium/heavy gear with line over 12 to 16 lb test. The jumbo 99-series will take a better grade of bass. I am not aware of another company, only Yamamoto that makes a jumbo size hula grub.

This jig can also be gotten with a smaller 3/0 90 hook. It matches with the small profile 3S-series Baby Crawdad and the smallest 93-series double tail hula grub on medium tackle below 12 to 8 lb test. This hypodermic-sharp 3/0 Gamakatsu hook will set easily when a bass bites it, even on light line with a wireguard.

Weedless Grub Jig

In thick weeds and brush, the pointy nose of the streamlined Weedless Grub Jig slips in and out of dense cover better than the wide flat head of the Hula Grub Jig above. Fan the wireguard far out to the sides so that it guards the hook from snags all around rather than just in front.

I'll still use the 99-series and 97-series double tail hula grubs with the 4/0 60 EWG hook, except use it more like a dropbait right in the thickest part of the cover with heavy fishing line.

With thinner line and medium tackle, again I opt for the 3/0 90 hook using pint-sized 3S-series crawdads and small 40-series single tail grub on lightweight 1/8 or 3/16 oz heads. If you learn to master the skill of setting the hook properly, the wireguard will not cause you to lose fish - even on line as light as 8 lb test. Here's how.

As the grub swims along, a fish may pick it up and keep moving towards you and off to one side. Just continue to reel in deliberately and at the same time move the rod tip down and extend your rod arm down in front of you. It is definitely not good to let the line go slack or come too tight when you do this. It is usually okay if you find that you are putting slightly extra steady tension on the line. This all needs to happen in the space of a few seconds, Then start to bring your rod up towards your shoulder as you reel faster and sweep the rod tip back overhead. This stretches the line and starts to pull the jig out of the fish's mouth. At that instant, the fish will clamp down hard on the bait, depress the wireguard and help the hook point stick in a spot. When the fish makes its initial run against a tight line, you must follow through with a couple of short tugs to set the hook into the fish's mouth past the barb.

If you do not get a pick-up as the grub swims along, just wait until it bumps into anything in its path, including weeds, rocks or wood. The streamlined shape of the head and the wireguard make this lure highly snag-resistant. When it hits something, snap the jig crisply to excite any fish that may be nearby and also to shake off any debris that it may have picked up on impact. Key to keep it snagless is that there is no crevice where weeds can lodge between the eye of the hook and the nose of the jig. If it feels like something has fouled the bait, keep snapping the rod tip sharply until the grub feels clean as it falls. Let the lure flutter down to the bottom and lie there. If you snapped the rod tip right, the line will be floating high and loose on the surface and you will be holding the rod tip at two o'clock. Just squint at the line intently where it enters the water and anticipate that at any moment the line is going to jump and then streak across the surface as a bass picks up your offering and runs off with it. This is the most intense moment in fishing. A bass is hustling off with your bait yet you must hold back and lower your rod tip down to the water. As the fish starts to pull the line tight, set the hook as described in the preceding paragraph. Follow through with a few tugs to pull the barb home as the fish runs.

If you do not get a pick-up while line-watching, then shake n' bake next. Raise the rod tip high enough overhead to bring all the floating line up off the surface of the water and into mid-air except where the line enters into the water. Now reel in excess slack so that when you lower the rod tip back to about two o'clock there is a loose belly in the line. Start to shake the rod tip fast from noon to two o'clock. Shake up and shake down. Faster. You need to have that little slack belly of the line rapidly oscillating up and down, cutting an arc in mid-air. The jig should not move forward along the bottom when you do this. Really shake it up good for five or more seconds. Then stop shaking and let the line fall to float loosely on the surface again. This is the "bake" part - and also when to expect to get bit! You should repeat the shake n' bake sequence several times before moving the jig forward. When you are finally ready to crawl the jig forward, do so only after letting the lure bake for a long while. Often fish will just sit motionless and watch the grub shake n' bake in front of them for a long time before inhaling it. If you move the grub through the fish's location too fast, they usually do not follow it and may even move away.

Stand Up Jig

As an angler, there's nothing special I can see about the 2-series single tail grub, except I notice that bass can be terribly fond of it. I particularly like to fish it on an open hook Stand Up Jig. I tend to keep an open hook jig moving more quickly than a wireguard jig. I use a stiff rod and whenever the Stand Up jig hits bottom debris, I'll instantly snap the rod tip to jig it up and over the debris, which can be rocks, weeds, brush or wood. As the jig recovers its composure from being shocked over the debris, I'll get a reaction bite right then. I call this snap-jigging. It's cool. I use the open hook Stand Up Jig to do it.

Bullet Jig

The Bullet Jig wins best of show when it is darting barely above ledges and cracks where bass hide, darting through the upper crowns of flooded brush and over laydown logs, using soft plastic jerkbaits like the 9J-series and 9S-series Senko and the 7L-series Cut Tail.

In shallow water around visible cover, keep the rod tip at ten o'clock and reel in slow and straight. Flick the wrist to produce an alluring dart and hesitation every so often. As the jerkbait clears the outside edge of ledges, cracks, rocks, weeds, brush or laydowns, quickly flick the rod tip to make the lure dart and hesitate. Then abruptly drop the rod tip to mend some slack into the line so the jerkbait spirals down toward bottom. If you haven't gotten bit yet, catch it just before it falls all the way. If you let the open hook jig hit bottom near shallow cover, you'll risk snagging it.

Above deep structure or over suspended bass, begin with long casts that let the darter jig pendulum swing down through the water column on a long horizontally-arcing fall. If there is a bottom contour, you'll want the pendulum fall of the darter jig to loosely follow it down to deeper water. That will usually work, and a bite is often signaled by the line suddenly becoming quite slack, slowing down, or moving off faster than before. But if that doesn't work, go the other way - from deep to shallow. Get right over the high spot on the point or on top of the ledge shelf, but cast towards the deep side and let the jig pendulum into you, keeping it barely touching bottom until it is right under the boat. This is a minnow imitation here. It is a long fluid baitfish that darts down to reach the shady safety of the bottom, trying to get under the shelf only to get hammered by a watchful bass that rises up off bottom to engulf it.

90 Rattle Tube Jig

This model highlights a baitfish-shaped head inside the 33-series tube bait, and it has a pronounced rattle. On several occasions, I do notice this rattling model to produce a few more bites than its non-rattling counterparts, Not always, but often enough that I always will try it and see if it makes a difference. Sometimes it does.

Pro Model Tapered Tube Jig

Tube jigs have always caught bass and always will. If you aren't adept with tube jigs, you are missing out. Laketown makes more models of tube jigs than you can easily count, but the Pro Model Tapered Tube Jig from 1/16 to 3/8 oz with regular Gamakatsu hooks is one of my most productive. There are actually two models  with the same name, Pro Model Tapered Tube Jig (one regular sizes, one heavy sizes) and I use both in the 33-series tube bait.

A Trio of Heavy Tube Jigs

There is also another heavier model of Pro Model Tapered Tube Jig from 1/2 to 1 oz with heavy wire Gamakatsu hooks; also Laketown's Heavy Tube Jig and Heavy Rattling Tube Jig up to one ounce. I  have details about this trio of heavy tube jigs in another article, One Ton Torpedo Tubing.

I'd say them's some of my personal best friends above. I am sure there are several more good jigheads waiting for you to befriend them...at Laketown.

 
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