June 19, 2015
A number of the newcomers to the world of Midwest finesse fishing say that it is difficult for them to use a Gopher Tackle's Mushroom Head Jig or Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ jig because these jigs don't have a weed or hook guard.
To remedy that problem, Dave Reeves of Prescription Plastics of Lansing, Kansas, is manufacturing a 1/16-ounce and 1/8-ounce mushroom-style jig with a hook guard. He calls his jigs Ozark Finesse Heads, noting that they are made to answer the specific underwater-water challenges that confront the Midwest finesse anglers who ply U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' reservoirs in the Ozarks, such as Beaver, Table Rock, and Stockton lakes, which are littered with flooded trees and snaggy elements.
Reeves' jigs do not have a bait-keeper collar like Gopher Tackle's jig or a bait-keeper barb like Z-Man's jig has on the shank of the hook. Thus when anglers affix a soft-plastic Midwest finesse bait, such as a Z-Man's Finesse T.R.D. or a 2 1/2-inch Z-Man's ZinkerZ, to the jig, they use a drop or two of Locktite Super Glue Squeeze Gel. They do this by threading a soft-plastic bait onto the shank of the hook, and when its head is about a third of an inch from the lead head of the jig, they apply a tad of glue to the head of the soft-plastic bait, hook shank, and back of the lead head. Once the glue is applied, the soft-plastic bait is pushed flush to the back of the head of the jig. When the glue dries, the soft-plastic bait will adhere tightly to the jig.
Some Midwest finesse anglers, however, do not like to use super glue. Therefore, to keep a soft-plastic finesse bait snugly attached to an Ozark Finesse Head, these anglers use a fly-tying vice, a spool of fly-tying thread on a fly-tying bobbin, brush-on head cement, and a thin, short piece of wire. They create a bait-keeper barb on the shank of the hook by wrapping the fly-tying thread around the shank of the hook and around the short piece of wire. Once this wire barb is affixed to the shank of the hook, they brush a tad of head cement (some anglers use fingernail polish) onto the thread that is wrapped around the piece of wire and shank of the hook. The entire process takes about three minutes, and the end product is similar to the bait keeper on the Z-Man's Finesse ShroomZ.
The Ozark Finesse Heads are poured around a No. 2 Mustad hook, and Reeves described it as a 2x heavy-wire salmon-jig hook. For special requests, he will also pour them around a No. 1 Gamakatsu hook.
A package of five painted 1/16- or 1/8-ounce ones cost $5.75, and a package of five unpainted 1/16- or 1/8-ounce ones cost $4.25. Anglers can order them by sending an email to Reeves at email@example.com.
(1) Anglers can read about the effectiveness and popularity of Reeves' Ozark Finesse Head by examining many of the posts and comments on the Table Rock Lake forum on Ozark Anglers. com. Here is the link to that forum: http://forums.ozarkanglers.com/forum/5-table-rock-lake/. Here's is a link to one of many forums about Reeve's jigs: http://forums.ozarkanglers.com/topic/47107-best-varmit-heads-wguard/.
(2) Bill Ward of Warsaw, Missouri, and Drew Reese of Rantoul, Kansas, introduced Midwest finesse anglers to the art of affixing a bait keeper to the shank of the hook on a jig. Here is a link to a story about Ward and his jigs: https://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/finesse-news-networks-gear-guide-bill-wards-midwest-finesse-jigs/.
(3) For more information about Reeves' Ozark Finesse Head, please see Don Baldridge's YouTube entitled "Ozark Finesse Jig Heads for Great Springtime Bass Fishing on Table Rock Lake" at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9n10fO6R4tk&list=FL_btkJrwfYzxYVQ-547dNQw&index=1. Baldridge has several other Winkiedoodle videos that feature Reeves' jigs.