Tackle Tip: Those Humble Jig Heads - The Fisherman

Tackle Tip: Those Humble Jig Heads

These simple, non-descript leadheads lend themselves to a wide range of inshore fishing applications.

They come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colors, can be fished in a variety of ways and paired with bait or artificials, and are vital tools in the arsenal of many inshore anglers and surfcasters. We are talking about those mostly non-descript fixed hook leadheads commonly used to present a wide assortment of soft plastics. While that is their primary place in life, there are numerous other applications in which they can be brought into play, and a lot of reasons to include a variety of weights and hook sizes in your tackle bag.

It took but a few short years for blackfish fans to adopt using “blackfish jigs” on light tackle for feeding crab baits to their favorite species. These modified leadheads are available in a wide range of sizes and colors to meet the needs of tog anglers, but they are also being used to deliver baits to other structure loving species like porgies and sea bass. Some anglers are using very basic leadheads for these other species with a lot of success. The smaller hooks on some of these jigs are often better suited for porgies than the typically larger hooks fitted to blackfish jigs. The jigs can be baited with pieces of clam, squid or shrimp, and fished on light spinning gear. adding another option to the boring techniques (sinker and hook rig) normally associated with most bottom species.

Tackle Tip Jig Head
An assortment of leadheads that can be applied to a wide range of inshore fishing situations.

While bucktails remain popular with fluke fans for delivering soft plastics like Gulp and FishBites, or baits like spearing, squid and various strip baits, many inshore anglers are discovering that a plain, even unfinished leadhead can sometimes be equally effective as a bucktail. Florida anglers have been using small leadhead jigs tipped with shrimp for as long as I can remember for catching just about every species in the alphabet, including snappers, grouper, snook, pompano, sheepshead, permit and even bonefish. Capt. Hank Brown’s Hookup Jigs dominate the leadhead scene in the Sunshine State and I’ve had great success fishing live killies on these  naked jig heads for fluke in our home waters.

Some surf fishermen have rediscovered the effectiveness of mole crabs (sand fleas) for striped bass, especially during the summer months. This another opportunity to bring light tackle into play, especially when the surf is relatively calm. While some casters will present the crabs on a plain hook with their line tethered to a small slip sinker, baiting a jig head with these crabs is not only more efficient, but often more productive. Basic leadheads will serve the purpose, but blackfish jigs are even better suited for this type of fishing.

Jig heads are relatively inexpensive making it easy to arm yourself with a good selection of weights and various designs. I would include a mixture of blackfish, flathead and ball style jigs ranging from ½ ounce to 1-1/2 ounces. Color is less important than weight and hook size, and I have done very well using unpainted jigs fitted with soft plastics and a variety of baits.

One of the nicest features of fishing with these leadheads is they are best delivered on light spinning tackle and lend themselves to many light tackle applications for species like fluke, weakfish, sea bass, porgies, triggerfish and striped bass. Arm yourself with a basic assortment of jig heads and give some of the applications mentioned here a try. Sometimes the best answer is the simplest.

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