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Midwest Finesse

Super Glue, barb-wire collars and more

by Ned Kehde   |  July 26th, 2012 5

The July 15 blog featured several ways that Midwest finesse anglers prevent soft-plastic baits from sliding off the collar of a jig and down the shank of the hook.

One of the methods revolved around using Loctite Super Glue Gel to affix a 2 ½-inch Z-Man ZinkerZ to the jig.  Another one was Gord Pyzer’s barb-wire bait keeper.

Stacey King used to glue his  ZinkerZs and other soft-plastic finesse baits to his jigs. But after he saw Gord Pyzer’s handiwork of removing the lead collar from the hook shank of a mushroom-style jig and replacing it with a barb-wire bait keeper, King followed suit.

King hails from Reeds Spring, Missouri. He is a veteran tournament angler who toured on the Bassmaster circuits from 1986 through 2005, and since 2005, he has competed on the FLW and Professional Anglers Association circuits. Besides being a talented power angler, King is also a skillful finesse angler, and during the past several of years, he has spent a considerable amount time wielding a ZinkerZ-and-jig combo, as well as other soft-plastic and jig combinations, when he is fishing recreationally, and occasionally he even uses it in some tournament situations.

King attaches a barb-wire bait keeper to the shank of the jig hook two different ways.

Here is how he does it:

One way is similar to Pyzer’s application.  Thus, King affixes the barb-wire bait keeper to the hook by using thread and a fly-tying bobbin to thoroughly wrap the straight section of the bait keeper to the shank. Then he coats the thread wrappings with super glue instead of the paint that Pyzer employs.

The second way is accomplished by using a short piece of 3/64-inch shrink tubing. He worms or threads the shrink tubing over the point and barb of the hook of the jig and pushes so one end is flush to the head of the jig. Once the shrink tubing is in place, he slips the straight-segment of the barb-wire bait keeper under the shrink tubing. Then he uses a heat gun to shrink the tubing around the hook shank and the bait keeper. Then he coats the tubing with a thin layer of super glue.

King has added another component to his finesse jigs, and it’s a brush guard.

The soft-plastic-and-jig combo that Midwest finesse anglers employ features an exposed hook, which can be a problematic combo to use in the brush-filled waterways, such as Table Rock Lake, Missouri, that King often fishes. Therefore, he adds a brush guard to his  jig combo. He does it by placing the jig in a fly tying vice. Then he uses a 1/16-inch drill bit to bore a hole in the head of the jig between the eye of the hook and its shank. The depth of the hole that he drills is seldom deeper than a 1/16 of an inch. After the hole is drilled, he fills it with super glue and quickly inserts six strands of fiber guard. He also puts a touch of super glue around the circumference of the hole and fiber guards.  As soon as the glue dries and the fiber guard is solidly in place, King the cuts the length of the fiber guard so that they barely tip the point of the hook. When King fishes with this jig, he fans the fiber guard and creates a Y guard with three strands of fiber guard on the left side of the jig and three on the right side.

  • DTR

    Making the little rig even slightly weedless drastically changes where and how you can present it. We (myself, Dwight Keefer, and a few others) have been using button heads with a single wire guard, about 45# braided leader wire, molded into the head with good results. That wire is uncoated, quite soft, and so far has not had a negatve impact on our ability to hook fish.

    • nkehde

      Thanks for posting your insights about the single-wire weed guard on your finesse jigs.
      We never use a weed guard on our finesse jigs in the flatland reservoirs that we fish in northeastern Kansas. One reason why we don’t use them is that we have never found a place or reason to use them. And from our experiences, there is no better finesse jig than Gopher Tackle’s Original Mushroom Head Jig for the kind of finesse bass fishing that we do day in and day out.
      You and Stacey King, however, have found that a weed guard is essential at most locales at Table Rock Lake. Missouri. Dwight Keefer of Phoenix reports that he has found a need for them in some of the Arizona waterways that he plies. He also reported that he has enjoyed working with your jigs and talking with you about different jig applications and other piscatorial matters.
      What’s more, several times last week, while we were in Minnesota with several of our kids and grandchildren, they worked with Shin Fukae’s new Wacky Head jig that is embellished with two titanium wire weed guards. And we were impressed with the effectiveness of the 1/16- and 3/32-ounce renditions of Fukae’s jigs. It is made by Gamakatsu. They were used around laydowns and lily pads. This was the first time that any of us have used a weed guard for about five years.
      We posted a blog about Fukae’s jig. Here’s a link to that blog:
      Please keep sending more of your and Dwight Keefer’s findings.
      Best wishes.

  • DTR

    Twin wires may be the most weedless design for a finesse head. Molds we are working with simply do not have enough material to be cut for the second guard in the smallest head sizes. We are working with some small arky type heads with twin wires, sizes from 3/16oz down to 1/16oz. Bottom line is any guard is great for kids, as you point out from your recent trip, increases the overall efficiency, and opens new areas to finesse. It may hinder the inital learning curve on the rig slightly, but once that is completed, it should be considered an option, especially for anglers who are otherwise reluctant to throw the little rig out of concerns of being constantly attached to the cover.

    In dubbing some old Bassmaster VHS tapes from the 80's and 90's I ran across a few with the Hibdons using tubes rigged with a finesse head that featured a sparse fiber guard. They were fishing shallow cover in lakes like Fork, Toho, and Rayburn. Fishing in places an open hook finesse head simply could not go, but where fish did not regularly see small baits presented patiently. Not surprisingly, they also scored on big fish.

    Keep the good info rolling out,

    • nkehde

      Thanks again for contributing your astute perspectives about finesse jigs.
      In regard to your Hibdon observations, Gete and Dion used to rig their tubes with the head of the jig exposed, and the head of their jigs sported about eight strands of white fiber guard. This was back in the 1990s. At times, they used a permanent ink marker to change the color of the strands of the fiber guard. The Hibdons preferred to use a tube with an external head rather than with the head inserted inside the tube; they found the external head created a seductive spiral as the tube fell towards the bottom.
      Perhaps we should see what the Hibdons are doing nowadays.
      Some folks suspect that we are due for a tube renaissance.
      Please keep posting your insights, including the ones that you are finding from the archives of bass fishing.

      • DTR

        That is the head they were using. I am sure they made some themselves, but do you remember Luck E Strike selling one, the G2 head. Sort of a larger hook weedless version of the old gitzit finesse head.

        You are spot on regarding the spiral. The old 1/16oz finesse head is still a fantastic way to fish a tube.

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