July 15, 2012
By Ned Kehde
Steve Quinn's article in the June issue of In-Fisherman magazine entitled "Rigging Wrinkles for Bass" noted that anglers are readily frustrated with soft-plastic baits that slide down hook shanks.
Likewise, we noted in a blog on Sept. 9, 2011, that most anglers are a fastidious lot when it comes to affixing a soft-plastic bait to a hook, jig or spinnerbait. They want it to be perfectly straight. This is the link to that blog: http://www.in-fisherman.com/2011/09/11/of-the-kinky-worm-and-other-cock-eyed-finesse-presentations
Thus, it is not surprising that a goodly number of Midwest finesse anglers are nitpickers about keeping a Z-Man's Fishing Products' 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ rigged firmly and straight as an arrow upon a Gopher Tackle Mushroom Head Jig. One of the dilemmas with the ZinkerZ is that the older and more tattered it becomes the more alluring it becomes to the bass. But at the same time, it becomes more and more difficult for an angler to keep it rigged perfectly straight on a jig.
Thus, there is a minor debate among practitioners of Midwest finesse tactics about the best method for keeping a 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ properly affixed to the collar of a Gopher Tackle Mushroom Head Jig or similar jigs.
Here's Bill Richert's perspective:
On July 3, Richert of Lincolnshire, Illinois, posted a comment below the blog entitled "Update to Midwest finesse lures: 2 ½-inch ZinkerZ. (This is the link to that blog: http://www.in-fisherman.com/2012/05/16/update-to-midwest-finesse-lures-2-12-inch-zinkerz/ )
Richert wrote about an experiment that he and his son conducted while wielding a 2 ½-inch-ZinkerZ-and-Gopher-jig combo for smallmouth bass across boulder-strewn flats at one of their favorite smallmouth lakes inVilas County, Wisconsin.
The first step of their experiment focused using identical 1/16-ounce pink Gopher jigs paired with a 2 ½-inch PBJ ZinkerZ. One ZinkerZ was glued to the jig, and the other wasn't glued. After they fished for 90 minutes, they tallied the catch rate of both combos, and he reported that "they were relatively equal." And that convinced them the glue would not repel the smallmouth bass.
After the first step, they both used glued ZinkerZs, and they began testing various brands of super glue. He wrote: "Loctite Super Glue Gel has become our choice for this task. [Its] thicker viscosity allows for very precise placement even during rough [weather] conditions. Besides allowing for accurate fastening, this attribute also minimizes unwanted contact with skin. This is something we expected when purchasing the product. An unanticipated benefit is that it seems to hold the bait in place much longer than low viscosity competitors."
He also noted that because the glued ZinkerZ doesn't slide down the shank of the jig hook, there are fewer wasted casts, and anglers do not have to waste time between casts adjusting and reaffixing the ZinkerZ back onto the collar of the jig. Richert wrote, "One can't help but conclude that over the long run these benefits will increase catch rates."
Clyde Holscher of Topeka, Kansas, and Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas, are veteran Midwest finesse anglers and frequent users of a 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ on a jig, and they agree with Richert.
Tim DeMarais and Gord Pyze, however, have found alternative methods for affixing their soft plastics to jigs that don't involve the use of glue
DeMararis of St. Francis, Minnesota, is proprietor of Victory Bait and creator of the Hitch Series Trailer Keepers. Pyzer is an In-Fisherman field editor from Kenora, Ontario.
In the June issue of In-Fisherman magazine, Quinn quoted DeMarais, who said: "Like many anglers, I have tried glues, but changing baits leaves a ball of hard glue on the [hook] shank that prevents proper rigging. Cleaning it off takes time." To eliminate the use of glue, DeMarais devised a device that might appeal to some Midwest finesse anglers who struggle to keep a well-worn 2 1/2-inch ZinkerZ or other soft-plastic ElaZtech snugly affixed to the collar of a Gopher Tackle Mushroom Head Jig. It is called the Bait Hitch, and it can bee seen and acquired at: http://www.hitchseries.com/#!__the-bait-hitch
Some of Northland Fishing Tackle's jigs have a "BarbWire " collar, which are designed to secure a soft-plastic bait to the jig and prevent it from sliding down the shank of the jig's hook. The problem with Northland and other jig makers with similar wire collars is that their jigs are too big for Midwest finesse anglers to employ. Midwest finesse anglers are fond of using 1/32-, 1/16- and 3/32-ounce jigs with small hooks.
Pyzer, however, has remedied the problem that confounds a goodly number of Midwest finesse anglers who are searching for a small jig with a barb-wire collar or bait-keeper. He accomplishes this feat by removing the lead collars on all of his 1/32-, 1/16-ounce and 3/32-ounce homemade mushroom-style jigs, which makes them slightly lighter. Then he mounts each jig in a fly-tying vice, cuts a short piece of 125-pound-test stainless-steel-leader material or wire, uses a pair of pliers to turn up one end of the leader to make a barb and affixes it to the shank of jig hook by using a fly-tying bobbin to thoroughly wrap the short segment of barbed wire to the shank of the jig hook. He coats the thread wrappings with one coat of touch-up paint. (A few other anglers use super glue rather than paint to coat the thread wrappings.)
Here is another solution to snugly affixing a well-worn ZinkerZ to a Gopher Tackle Mushroom Head Jig. It features a spool of thread and a fly-tying bobbin. An angler uses the bobbin to make two rotations of the thread around the head on the ZinkerZ and above the collar's two barbs. Then the angler ties the two ends of the thread together with two half hitch knots. (By the way, the ZinkerZ in the photograph below is well used, and this knot will normally keep it affixed to the jig for an entire four-hour outing.) When an angler wants to remove the ZinkerZ from the jig, the angler can cut the thread or knot, take the ZinkerZ off the jig and replace it with another bait.
But as we noted in the Sept. 9, 2011, blog, there is a significant place in Midwest finesse fishing for kinky and other cockeyed finesse presentations. And across the years, we have bewitched untold numbers of largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass with soft-plastics bait that slide down the shank of the jig's hook. Thus, we think there are many times when anglers should not be too fastidious about keeping the ZinkerZ or other soft-plastic baits rigged perfectly straight and flush to the head of the jig.