A small mushroom-style jig lies at the heart of Midwest finesse fishing. This is not to say that anglers cannot catch an impressive array of black bass by employing a 2 1/2-inch soft-plastic stick-style bait affixed to a ball-style jig, or a football-style jig, or a stand-up jig, or a wobble-style jig. But from our many years of affixing a soft-plastic stick-style bait on a jig, we have concluded that a mushroom-style jig has no peer.
There are several kinds of mushroom-style jigs, and Z-Man Fishing Products introduced a new one to the angling world at the 2017 International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show in Orlando, Florida, on July 12.
It is called TT Lures NedlockZ HD Jighead. TT Lures is an Australian tackle company, and they have been distributing Z-Man's products in Australia since 2010. Z-Man has been distributing TT Lures' jig in the United States since 2015.
The folks at Z-Man's headquarters in Ladson, South Carolina, said that they designed this jig specifically for Midwest finesse anglers who are uncomfortable using the small and light-wire jig hooks that have been part of the Midwest finesse repertoire for years on end. Z-Man says that the extra-heavy-duty Mustad UltraPoint hook will allow anglers to handily subdue hefty and feisty black bass that abide around lairs that are endowed with heavy current or embellished with terrestrial vegetation or littered with man-made clutter. By the way, the HD abbreviation stands for heavy duty.
It is manufactured in four sizes: 1/15-, 1/10-, 1/6-, and 1/5-ounce.
Day in and day out, the Midwest finesse anglers who ply the relatively stained flatland reservoirs of northeastern Kansas prefer to use the lightest one of the four. A light-weight jig plays a critical role in their desire to employ a no-feel retrieve, which is difficult to execute with a 1/10-, 1/6-, and 1/5-ounce jig. (See endnote No. 2)
The circumference of the 1/15-ouncer's head is 15/16 of an inch. Its width is a 1/4 of an inch. It is 3/16 of an inch thick or long.
There is a split bait keeper on the shank of the hook, and it is situated 3/16 of an inch from the back of the head. The bait keeper is called the HeadlockZ, which is designed to keep a soft-plastic bait, such as a Z-Man's Finesse ShadZ, or Finesse T.R.D., or Finesse WormZ, locked in place. It is made from lead, and it is 5/16 of an inch long.
The 1/15-ounce jig sports a No. 2 hook. The 1/10-, 1/6-, and 1/5-ounce jigs sport a No. 1 hook. (See endnote No. 3)
It is available in two colors: black and green pumpkin. (See endnote No. 4)
A package of five costs $6.99.
(1) Here is a link to Z-Man's website: https://zmanfishing.com/store/categories/jigsspinners/nedlockz.
(2) Jigs bigger than 1/15-ouncers are for anglers who ply deep-water lairs, or wind-blown locales, or waterways that are afflicted with a heavy current. They are also for anglers who are not devotees of the no-feel presentation. A lot of anglers become discombobulated when they fail to feel their baits, and therefore, they never use light-weight ones. Thus, the 1/10-, 1/6-, and 1/5-ounce TT Lures NedlockZ HD Jighead are what these anglers will use. (For insights about using the bigger TT Lures NedlockZ HD Jighead, please see this Midwest finesse column: https://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/z-man-goes-to-the-susquehanna-river/.)
(3) For a variety of reasons, we have found that small jig hooks are more effective than big ones, and a No. 2 jig hook is the biggest one that we use. But the vast majority of black bass anglers think bigger hooks are better. Therefore, it is financially unsound for jig manufacturers to make mushroom-style jigs with a small hook. In short, we are pleased that the 1/15-ounce Z-Man's TT Lures NedlockZ HD Jighead has a No. 2 hook, and it should play a significant role in our repertoire in the months and years to come.
(4) There are a goodly number of anglers who contend that the color of a small mushroom-style jig is immaterial. But there are a few anglers who have found that the color of the head of a jig does make a difference, and some Midwest finesse anglers are members of this school of thought. These Midwest finesse anglers often prefer to use mushroom-style jigs that are painted blue, chartreuse, orange, or red, and when these anglers use TT Lures NedlockZ HD Jigheads, they will use fingernail polish to paint them, which is a tactic that Shin Fukae of Osaka, Japan, and Palestine,Texas, taught us on April 1, 2006. (It is important to note that there is a prominent myth throughout the angling world that finesse tactics should be relegated to plying clear-water lakes and reservoirs when the black bass fishing is problematic. But Midwest finesse anglers who ply the stained waterways that stipple the countryside of northeastern Kansas have found that finesse tactics are as effective in murky waters as they are in clear waters. And these Kansas anglers have found that either a blue or a chartreuse jig is very helpful in stained and murky waters.)