Choosing The Right Jig Head
A little info I'd like to pass along that might enlighten some people in their search for the right type of jig head for use with their soft plastics and help someone catch a few more fish. This is a mixture of information that I have gathered during my time fishing,making jigs and reading about how they work.... Hopefully, it will also answer some of the many questions that I get about lead jigs.
How To Choose The Right Jig Head
The two key things to determine when selecting the head shape of your jig are the desired wobbling action on the up-lift along with the action and rate of speed on the fall.
The first thing to recognise is that the head is more than just a sinker to get the soft bodied lure into the strike zone. Different shaped heads sink at different rates and some heads impart a unique action to the lure when it is either dropping through the water column, lifted up through it or is simply sitting on the bottom. The head profile should also need to match the body of the prey that it is imitating so whether it is thin and deep (easily visible from side on) or broad and thin (visible from above and below) can be important. It is best to always try to make the lure look as natural as possible.
FACTS: How the lure sits in the water and how the water flows around it will depend on where the line is attached to the hook eye (which is referred to as the tow-point). So, your type of knot and placement of that knot will give you different actions on the jig and affect it’s rate of fall as well.
The sink rate of the jig head is determined largely by its shape. Of all of the shapes available spherical “ball shaped” jig heads sink the fastest. The most interesting thing that I found in my research of this subject was that a 1/16 oz round jig head dropped to the bottom in the same time as other shaped jig heads that were almost twice the weight. This clearly shows that if you want to get a soft plastic to the bottom quickly then it makes sense to use a spherical (round) shaped jig head. The flatter the shape becomes the slower it sinks. This is actually confirmed by the physical laws of particle settling. Doubling the radius of the spherical jig head will increase the sink rate four times in still water with little to no current and by 1.4 times in turbulent water.
Round Ball Heads-The symmetrical head allows it to cut through the water quickly, sinking fast with minimal action on the fall.
Tube Jig Heads-Come in straight or clylindrical shapes that fit inside a tube jig's hollow body. The hook shank is longer than average to properly position the hook point close to the bait's tail end.
Bullet Heads: Bullethead's streamlined profiles let the cut through water quickly.
Stand-Up Heads & Ned Heads: The bottom design the lies on the bottom when stationary. The hook sits at a 45 or 90 degree angle. The flat bottom causes water resistance slowing the bait's fall.
Football Heads: Football jigheads resemble a football shape, with the hook eye in the center and the end points to the left and right sides. The jig's wide and curved head prevents it from tipping over on bottom, and the rounded design allows it to climb over rocks when slowly retrieved.
Darter Heads: Darter jigheads are cone or bullet-shaped. The jig's streamline profile lets it easily cut through water, making it good for fishing currents. These jigs can be bounced off bottom or brought in on a straight retrieve.
Shaky Heads: Shaky jigheads are an ever-increasing category of jigs. Most feature a wire, spring or another style of keeper to hold finesse soft-baits, such as worms. Jig head shape is designed to keep the hook and bait up on bottom.
Pill or Aspirin Heads: Feature flattened sides on the jig head and resemble the profile of a pill. These flat sides allow the jig to quickly cut through water, making it a favorite for bottom jigging in fast current.
Glider or Slider Heads: Finesse jigs. Their flat, lightweight heads cause the jigs to fall very slowly. Hooks are often an offset hook shank so baits can be Texas-rigged.
Mushroom or Worm Nose Heads: These jigheads are like round heads but have a flat back before a barbed or wire collar. This design holds soft-plastic worms or grubs flush against the head for a natural look.
Chopper or Prop Heads: Have a small propeller at the end of the jig colllar. As the jig is retrieved the blade spins emmitting flash and vibrations.
Underspin Heads: Designed to hold swivels and spinner blades. Blades are positioned opposite the hook eye. These features allow the bait to be worked over rocks and stumps, making it somewhat snag resistant.
Swimheads: Somewhat flat in design with a large surface area that causes them to wobble as they sink towards the bottom.
Shad Heads & Minnow Heads: Used for rigging shad shaped bodies and have molded keepers for holding the baits. Triangular shape makes them cut through the water easily and can be effective for swimming the bait on a straight retrieve.
Live Bait Heads: Cylindrical shaped. Usually made with short shank hooks for attaching live baits. Can have underspins on for added flash and vibrations.
Flat Head: This jig overcomes the upswell currents and gets down where the "Big Ones" play. River fishermen find the Flat Head Jig ideal for reaching fish below locks and dams. Can be used for attaching live baits or plastic. A common practice is to attach a stinger hook to eliminate short bites.
JIG HOOKS: The next point to consider in selecting a jig head is the size and wire gauge (diameter) of the hook. My preference is always to select the smallest hooks with thinnest gauge wire practicable. The main reason being that it takes less force to set thinner gauge wire hooks. Less force equals better hook up rates. Obviously thin hooks are not as strong as heavier gauge wire hooks so there is a trade-off between hook up rates and making sure the hook does not bend during the fight. So, choose your hook size according to what you are targeting, your plastics size/type and the types of structure you fish. It is a good idea to check your set-up before you hit the water to ensure the lure is providing the action you want. When your soft plastic is threaded on the hook it should not sit further than halfway back the length of the tail or it will restrict the movement of the tail.
The final point that I want to make about jig heads is the collar that the soft plastic is threaded over to keep it on the hook. Many collars are too large for small lures and split the bodies which affects how well the soft bodied lure tracks when retrieved. Bear this in mind when selecting jig heads. Many times I personally prefer collarless jig heads with a drop of some sort of super glue at the tip of the plastic to secure it to the jig head.
JIG COLORS: Choosing the right color jig head has as much to do with the fishing conditions as it does with angler confidence. Many anglers use two-tone jigs to increase their odds of presenting the right color to finicky fish. Natural, primary, fluorescent, metallic, and glow colored finishes are all available.
Conclusion: Jig it, swim it, shake it, pitch it, flip it, and dart it...there are so many ways to effectively fish jigheads. Versatility is the key with these simple yet very valuable elements of tackle, and not carrying at least a few styles would be a mistake. So many anglers make the mistake by thinking jigheads are only good for bottom fishing. It is possible to catch fish all day just with various jigheads and switching up trailers, so “Get Jiggy With It” and start hammering those fish with the right jig head the next time you hit the water. As always, give us a shout if you have any questions about what is the right jig for you.
Get Jiggy With It (Ninja)
Last edited by Ninja; 02-06-2019 at 07:23 AM.