Is This the Best Finesse Jig of All Time?

Jigs in their many forms are used by bass, walleye, trout and panfish anglers all over the world. They are among the most versatile lures ever made and can be fished with a wide variety of live and artificial baits. They also come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, weights and colors to accommodate just about every angler’s needs. This includes an incredible array of tail dressings, from hair to feathers to soft plastics, as well as a wide selection of synthetic materials.

In its naked form, the jig is basically a weighted hook. It’s a good bet that many years ago, someone–either by accident or on purpose–slid a split-shot up against a plain hook and the jig was essentially born. Since that time, hundreds of jigs have been designed for various species and specific applications that span from catching huge saltwater fish in vast ocean depths to hand-sized panfish in ultra-shallow water. So, in essence, the jig is a weighted hook. Yet, the hook size and angle, along with the lead head (jig) configuration suggests where it is most effective. This is where angler innovations have taken the simple split-shot and hook to a whole new level.

Joe Bucher with a monster smallmouth that fell for a well-presented wacky jig.
Joe Bucher with a monster smallmouth that fell for a well-presented wacky jig.

Admittedly, I’ve been a huge fan of jigs in their many forms since I was a youngster, and have a collection of them that honestly numbers in the thousands. Of course, this is not unusual. Many of you are sure to chuckle over this statement as you ponder what’s sitting on the shelves in your garage.

With all the options available, I come to say that the jig I’m about to tell you about has literally been a game-changer for me since its introduction a few years back. It has a very small overall profile that contains an easy-to-trip weed guard as well as an ultra-sharp hook. It has been labeled a wacky jig, but it honestly has far more applications than simply being used for fishing bass wacky style (rigging a jig or plain single hook in the middle of a straight-tailed plastic worm or pork product). These new wacky jig designs are superb for all sorts of finesse applications that go far beyond rigging a worm wacky-style.

Wacky jigs feature a short-shank hook that is usually very thin and extra sharp, but the hook itself has a superior temper so it won’t bend out easily. This short-shank hook design makes it the perfect choice for casting small minnows, live leeches, and ‘crawler pieces for walleyes, bass, trout and panfish. It also lends itself perfectly for rigging up with tiny soft plastic grubs, as well as my personal favorite, an Uncle Josh-style pork leech in the 3- to 5-inch range. In a nutshell, the wacky jig is the ultimate spinning tackle finesse jig, bar none.

The wacky jig designs I like best also feature a small cable weed guard. The cable guard allows you to fish this jig with whatever you tip it with, inside and around literally any cover. The cable guard can be adjusted to suit your tackle, the cover you’re fishing, and hooksetting power load. The weed guard option enables you to get your finesse offerings up inside cover, instead of having to fish around the perimeter of snags. Being able to sneak a small panfish-sized bait into cover without snag-ups immediately improves your chances of tricking pressured fish as well as fish that are in a negative mood after a cold front.

Wacky jigs are Bucher’s go-to option in many situations, and he adorns them with live and artificial baits.
Wacky jigs are Bucher’s go-to option in many situations, and he adorns them with live and artificial baits.

You might have seen me fishing this jig with a variety of artificial baits on one TV episode after another. It has literally revolutionized my finesse fishing with the most subtle soft plastics and pork. In the past, I would have opted for a Texas-rigged worm, craw or lizard for cover. While these rigs are sure to work in a wide range of conditions, dropping down to an ultra-finesse-sized wacky jig rigged up with a pork leech or a pork ‘crawler enables me to trigger fish that simply would ignore the latter. I am certain those of you who prefer to fish live bait would marvel at how well this jig fishes a small minnow or live leech in weeds or brush piles. It is sure to improve your ability to catch walleyes, bass, and panfish out of weed clumps, brush piles, and fish cribs. It is also great in snaggy, jagged rocks.

There are not a wide range of weights available yet on most wacky jigs, but I’m hoping this will change. Most companies are offering a 1/16- and 1/8-ounce version, but a few do stretch it to 3/16- and even 1/4-ounce. Finding a weedless model in these heavier weights can be a challenge, but worth the effort for windy days, current, or deeper cover. I probably use the 3/16-ounce version more than any other right now, although the 1/8-ouncer is probably a better choice for real shallow situations.

In a nutshell, I can honestly say adding this unique jig design to your arsenal is sure to improve your fishing success, and I highly recommend you stock up on them. At the very least, check out this cool little jig. I think you will be impressed.