Let's Dance the Rock Hop
are all kinds of hoopla high performance weight loss systems out
there. The Hollywood Diet, Jennie Craig, Dr. Atkins, Carbo Be
Gone and so on. Every day one can pick up a journal, click on the
TV or radio, and get whipwhacked with some crack diet product,
pill or patch to take the pounds off. Honestly, to avoid getting
fat, you should simply fish harder, longer and more often. Eating
the catch is optional, but low-fat and high in omega-3. Now that's
a diet plan to put yourself on - the Dr. Dozer Diet.
Quite the opposite from these others, Mojo has a high
performance weight system for those who definitely do not want to
lose any weight. It's called the Rockhopper and quite
snagless. With it, you'll keep your weight on as you add
pounds to your livewell.
Now snagless doesn't mean you will never get snagged.
Just like stainless steel doesn't mean it never stains.
But you will snag far less with a Rockhopper than an
Before the Rockhopper got invented, I believed the original
Mojo sinker was the most snagless shape in rocks. True, the
original Mojo is still most snagless in vegetated areas, but I am
now certain the Rockhopper is better in rock.
The convincing proof came one day as I forgot I was
trailing a Rockhopper rig on a rod I had laid down on the deck
for a moment. A fish splashed! I quickly picked up a topwater
rod. Pop, pop, KaPOW! Fish on! I trolling-motored down a
rock-littered shoreline, pop-pop-kapowing bass like that for over
an hour. I had to be constantly careful not to troll into far too
many jagged reefs, emergent rubble piles and van-sized rocks that
rose and fell suddenly in 7-10 feet of the most rock-bottomed
water imaginable. I had forgotten all about the dragging
Rockhopper rig. It never reminded me either, since it never got
snagged. Every few casts, I would hear some soft scratching on
the boat behind me. It sounded like a field mouse that may have
stowed away on the boat. Yet every time I took my foot off the
pedal to look back, the sound stopped. Finally I pulled the
trolling motor up to make another pass through the area, and
discovered the Rockhopper rig was still down there. I realized it
was the Rockhopper rod tip that had been making the scratching
sound against the deck. It dragged over an hour in that extremely
hostile environment! Incredibly, it never snagged! That unplanned
demonstration convinced me of the heretofore unmatched
snaglessness of the Rockhopper.
never doubted the Rockhopper's ability after that day. Use a
Rockhopper or the original Mojo sinker? Well, the Rockhopper and
the original Mojo are both quite snagless on a rugged bottom.
Before that day, the choice of which one came down to whichever I
grabbed first when I went to tie a rig. I rig either the
Rockhopper or the original Mojo the same as the venerable
Carolina rig. I lace either sinker style loose on the main line,
with a bead, a swivel, a length of leader line and hook. The only
difference now is I use the original Mojo to come through weedy
environments better, and use the Rockhopper exclusively in rocks.
Swivels. To me, there are no finer than SPRO Power
Swivels. They are stronger than standard barrel swivels despite
their tiny appearance. A standard rigging size of SPRO Power
Swivel is incredibly 130 lb. test.
Beads. I tend to rig religiously with a bead because:
- It makes small clicking noises when the sinker strikes the
- bait-sized small-fries are always pecking at the bead like
barnyard hens on a June bug.
These small bead peckers attract larger predators like bass
over to the scene. As the bead peckers scurry to exit stage
right, your bait is the last man left standing on the dance floor
to attract the interest or ire of a larger fish.
favor plastic beads, which have less chance than glass to ever
chip and cut the line. Glass has done that to me too many times
in a rocky environment. Some say glass makes a louder click than
plastic. I find the plastic clicks more than loud enough for me
and my bass, and plastic has more vibrant colors. There are also
plastic hollow beads with sand or buckshot in them. I like the
sound of that too. I can't swear it helps, but I do swear it
doesn't hamper the fish-attracting confidence such beads can give
Speaking of confidence, I have it in MegaStrike attractant.
I swear I smear the whole Rockhopper rig, the bead, sinker,
swivel, leader line and bait in MegaStrike gel. I use the tube
nozzle to apply MegaStrike to the entire rig. The MegaStrike
melts slowly, releasing encapsulated pungent amino acids onto the
scene that fish nostrils and facial receptors are receptive to,
lots of aminos when the entire rig is smeared in it.
Ready? Let's dance. Picture a cluster of
small fry pecking away at your bead (which can be sensed via line
feel). That's step one. This brings an ornery big guy over to the
scene, who's got his fins all huffed up over the small fry
commotion. That's step two. He positions his ugly green mug up
behind the bait and waits, just staring the bait down for what
seems like forever. Step three. Meanwhile, all those aminos from
the MegaStrike you smeared on the rig are bombarding the big
guy's facial receptors. Step four. The music gets faster. It's
the B-52's song, Rock Lobster. It's too much to
stand for either you or the green guy... it's time to dance! Not
the Texas Two-Step or the Tango. This new dance step is called
the Rock Hop, and it's destined to become very popular!
The rod and line I favor for the Rockhopper rig are stout. A
heavy action stick such as Yamamoto's backboned Mod IV baitcaster
and 16 to 20 lb Sugoi fluorocarbon line. Due to the strength of
this specific set-up, you can cast a heavy Rockhopper rig far and
using low-stretch Sugoi fluorocarbon, solidly set the hook from
afar. Whatever you hook with this heavy grade of gear will almost
certainly not be making an early escape. Especially in a
tournament or just in a friendly Saturday afternoon brag-athon,
you are likely to land any lunkers you lure on a Rockhopper rig.
I often hold the rod tip high (ten to eleven o'clock) but
sighted straight down the line, like an up-pointed rifle. Holding
the rod down, sideways, or not sighted down the line, I feel that
lays the sinker more on its side, prone to snag more. The high
tip helps me hold the Rockhopper sinker more upright for it to
rock-hop the rig through snags. The line holds the sinker in a
straight up, near vertical position while dragging the rig
through the worst rubble. The cross bore angled line hole is
computer-designed to let the hanging sinker pivot and adjust its
degree of camber angle for ultimate snag-avoidance while it is
pulled through various obstructions. With the rod up, upon bite
detection, I reel down to nine, confirm the bite, then lay into
the rod with a powerset.
Since it tends to stand up vertically when being dragged
properly, if it does snag, you have a real good chance to free
it. You can try shaking your fishing rod vigorously with slack
line. But most of the time, I find shocking the sinker shoots it
straight up out of the snag like a NASA Cape Canaveral missile
launch. I tighten up on the snag, with my hand holding the reel
and reel seat, I slam the heel of my other hand on the end of the
butt - with force! Since it's mounted vertically instead of
horizontally (inline) like most other sinkers, the Rockhopper is
shocked straight up out of the snag, instead of forced into
the snag as with an inline sinker.
The hook must provide the penetrating power to match the
rest of the gear. I favor sturdy Gamakatsu of Daiichi offset
round bend worm hooks with larger baits like Yamamoto Laminate
Lizards or Core Shot Senkos. A 4/0 arms and readies them. Since
not only the Rockhopper sinker but the bait's head will also be
dragged through jagged-edged rock beds, it's so important to rig
the hook eye farther back in the bait's head than usual. Rigging
the hook eye further back makes it less able for the snags to
pull the bait's head down the hook and ball it up on the bend. If
that happens, the hook is bound to get snagged. Equally
important, the round bend of this style hook let's you bury the
point fully in thick plastic. With the hook point buried deep in
the plastic, the point is less prone to come out and snag as it
would using a tex-exposed hook style which lays on top of the
bait only under the skin, ready for rocks to pop the point out
Wider-bodied baits like lizards are better for the
conditions where a Rockhopper operates. The squat body trunk,
front and rear side legs serve as bumper points that deflect the
protected hook away from snags before they happen. Compared to
all the bumper points on a lizard, you can see where a
featureless slender bait like a Senko is unprotected and going to
get itself pulled into more snags but... many times they crave
the Senko so I rock hop it to them. The Senko's still more
snagless on the Rockhopper rig than most other sinker rigging
That's the full skinny on the new Mojo Rockhopper rig for
2004. For additional information, how it was computer-designed,
field-tested and more, visit http://www.mojolures.com.
Now go dance!