April 27, 2020
By Ned Kehde
Across the years, we have experimented with Carolina rigs, drop-shot rigs, neko rigs, split-shot rigs, mojo rigs, and jika rigs. But we have never found a rig that is as effective as the various jig rigs that we have used to catch largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass in the Midwest waterways that we have fished for decades on end.
For many of those years, we were wedded to a mushroom-style jig, which Conrad Peterson of Cuyuna, Minnesota, and proprietor of Gopher Tackle created in the mid-1970s. We were especially enchanted with Peterson’s 1/16-ounce Mushroom Head Jig, but to our dismay, Gopher Tackle went out of business a few years ago.
During the winter of 2019-20, Mike Czaplinski of Branchville, New Jersey, who is the proprietor of KeitechUSA, began enlightening us about several of Keitech’s finesse jigs. In an email, he wrote that the Keitech’s “jig heads are formed using pure tungsten powder with 3 % polymer as an adhesive to hold the finished head together. The key to the exceptional weight to size ratio is using the smallest particles possible in the molding process.”
To bolster his tutelage of us, he mailed us a Keitech’s 1/8-ounce Guard Spin Jig, a 1/16-ounce Mono Spin Jig, and a package of 1/16-ounce Tungsten Super Round Jig Heads.
At first sight, the 1/16-ounce Tungsten Super Round Jig Head caught our attention, and as we examined it, we were provoked to publish a gear guide it.
Here is what we discovered about it.
The 1/16-ounce Tungsten Super Round Jig Head is manufactured with six different hook sizes. The smallest is a number three. The biggest is a 3/0. We prefer small hooks, and the 1/16-ounce Tungsten Super Round Jig Head that Czaplinski sent us is fitted onto a number-three Katsuichi Decoy jig hook. In an email, Czaplinski told us that this jig with a number three hook works exceptionally with Keitech’s two-inch Easy Shiner and two-inch Swing Impact.
The head is ball shaped with a diameter of a quarter of an inch. The jig’s collar and the shank of the hook does not extend from the center of the ball-shaped head. Instead, it emerges about three-sixteenths of an inch above the bottom of the ball and about one-sixteenth of an inch below the top of the ball.
The hook’s eye shank possesses a 90-degree bend. The eye of the hook extends one-eighth of an inch above the top of its ball-shaped head. It is also situated one-eighth of an inch from the front of the ball-shaped head.
The jig’s collar, which is affixed to the shank of the hook, is about five-sixteenths of an inch long and one-sixteenth of an inch thick or wide. It is tipped with a small cone-shaped bait keeper that is one-sixteenth of an inch long and about one-eighth of an inch wide at its widest spot.
The distance from the apex of the hook’s bend to the tip of the jig’s ball-shaped head is one inch.
Midwest finesse anglers can affix it to a variety of finesse-size soft-plastic creature baits, worms, stick-style baits, grubs, and swimbaits. And they will employ those rigs with all six of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves or slight variations of those retrieves.
It is manufactured in a matte-gray hue. Of course, this color can easily be changed, and across the years, we have changed the color of jig heads by using red, orange, chartreuse, and blue fingernail polish.
A package of four costs $4.99.
- Here is a KeitechUSA’s website: https://www.keitechusa.com/catalog/super-round-tungsten-jig-heads.html.
- Here is a link to our Midwest Finesse column about how to employ the six Midwest finesse retrieves with a 1/16-ounce Tungsten Super Round Jig Head that is affixed to a finesse-size soft-plastic bait: https://www.in-fisherman.com/editorial/six-midwest-finesse-retrieves/153946. See endnote number three for more insights about Midwest finesse retrieves.
- Small hooks lie at the heart of our Midwest finesse tactics. One reason why we prefer small hooks focuses on the fact that we have a lofty goal to catch and release 101 black bass in four hours. We must confess, however, that we rarely achieve that goal. But on most of our outings on our heavily fished flat-land reservoirs in northeastern Kansas, we catch and release an average of about 10 black bass an hour. And by catching and releasing significant numbers of black bass, we have learned across the years that small hooks do not injury black bass as readily as big hooks do. What’s more, we always remove the barb on the jig’s hook, and we found this creates less damage to the black bass, and it also allows us to unhook them quickly, which allows us to make more casts and retrieves and catch more black bass per hour. Years ago, we lightheartedly called this bass fishing 101.
Small jigs and small hooks, such as a 1/16-ounce Tungsten Super Round Jig with a number three hook, allows us to execute a no-feel retrieve, which is a critical element in the way we employ the six standard Midwest finesse retrieves. A small jig and hook affixed to a finesse-size soft-plastic bait will glide, undulate, and quiver more readily and seductively than can be achieved with a heavier jig and bigger hook.
Our fly-fishing brethren have shown us time and time again that they can inveigle and land scores of hefty trout on dainty flies and hooks that are much smaller than the number-three Katsuichi hook that adorns a 1/16-ounce Tungsten Super Round Jig.
Some anglers suspect that largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass can more easily liberate themselves from jig with a small hook than they can liberate themselves from a jig with a big hook. We do not have an answer to that suspicion. But we know that there will be outings when we will land every black bass that we hook. But there will be outings when we land between 80 and 90 percent of the black bass that we hook. Then there have been a few outings when scores and score of largemouth bass and smallmouth bass have liberated themselves from our small jigs and small hooks. For instance, several years ago Steve Desch of Topeka, Kansas, and I fished at one of northeastern Kansas’ state reservoirs for four hours, and we hooked 179 largemouth bass, but we landed only 104 of them. It might be true that largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass can more easily liberate themselves from a small hook than they can liberate themselves from a big hook, but by using a small jig and a small hook, we can hook more black bass per hour than most anglers can with a big-hook rig.
Another one of the great virtues of small jigs and small hooks revolves around the fact that they do not become snagged on underwater objects as readily as big jigs and big hooks do.
- In some Midwest finesse circles, it is fashionable to insert the head of the jig inside a soft-plastic stick-style bait and other styles of soft-plastic finesse baits. We found that it is an easy task to insert the head of a 1/16-ounce Tungsten Super Round Jig inside a soft-plastic stick-style bait. This is a photograph of a 2 ¼-inch stick-style bait with a 1/16-ounce Tungsten Super Round inserted inside of it.
- In the future, we hope to publish gear guides about Keitech’s Tungsten Mono Spin Jig and Tungsten Guard Spin Jig.