During a time of reflection I’ve realized that I haven’t done a product review in quite some time. Resulting from a number of reasons, the only excuse I’ll offer is it’s winter in South Texas and the trout are chewing. The last few months have not only been spectacular for me, but many others from North Carolina to the Lower Laguna. Nearly 60 trout have been registered in the State Trophy Trout citation program to include one that I entered on 11 November. Resting at nearly 27 ½” this beautiful fish fell for a 6” Egret Sand Eel paired with one of my new favorite tools in the toolbox, a DeathGrip Jighead.
Jigheads come in a myriad of shapes, sizes and colors, but one aspect I think we often overlook is function. On this cold, rainy and windy day a good friend and I found the right class of fish layed up in thigh deep water postured over a shell/mud mix. Although bites didn’t come easy, they came often which leads me to the review in this article. Being observant, the first fish (a healthy 25 ½”) caught by my buddy, gave us an indication that despite not being in “deep” water they were resting on the bottom - indicated by pink agitated lesions on the chin. Now with a general understanding of fish posture, I quickly loop knotted a 1/16oz Death Grip with a larger profile soft plastic and shortly thereafter, a subtle tick and a ferocious headshake validated my decision.
In reality, it’s the tandem that led to success but personally I think the jighead was the key component. Aside from exceptional hook quality, it has a super unique keeper that not only adds longevity to your soft plastic but extends the glidepath of larger darter style baits. Traditional jigheads frontload all of the weight on the front of your lure, but these disperse the weight evenly from the front through the shank of the hook. When threaded with a soft plastic, especially longer profiles (5-6”) it offers more of a horizontal descent versus straight up and down. In shallow water situations with an abundance of shell and rock this can help you fish the column more efficiently. By having that extended glide path, your offering won’t dig into the jagged substrate, but instead let you focus your efforts on each part of the water column.
As previously mentioned, these jigheads are super nice. Made by Capt Lane Zimmer, a full time charter captain from South Louisiana, he recognized the need for a quality jig head to use with his clients. Now packaged and sold in stores, he offers 5 sizes, 1/16oz, 1/8oz, 1/4oz, 3/8oz and 1/2oz.
Poured on stout 2/0 black nickle hooks, they are sold in packs of 5 for $4.99 which is comparable to other brands of equal or lesser quality.
In Deathgrips defense, the most unique quality can also be it’s down side depending on your viewpoint. Since the keeper extends throughout the body, a threaded softplastic can and has lasted upwards of 50+ trout. However, if trout aren’t responding to that plastic color or profile, a change can be cumbersome and once a plastic is removed its simply unusable. To counteract that issue, I do a few things. First, I simply retie a fresh jighead threaded with a new color or softplastic brand. While wading, I typically have a pack of 1/16oz or 1/8oz in my wading jacket along with a few packs of softplatic brands I feel will be productive that day. This makes for quick accessibility and allows me to be more efficient. While on a boat, I pre-rig a few colors on various sizes, and retie as appropriate. I know this is an extreme case, but unthreading a plastic from these heads is pretty cumbersome….trust me!
As mentioned in my opening story, these jigs, especially the 1/16oz really do offer unique fishability. They’ve quickly become my all purpose light jighead while fishing skinny water with big tails. I strongly encourage you to take a look at Capt Lane’s products and consider adding them to your arsenal.
As we progress to a season with longer days and milder temps, I can’t express enough the need to stay versatile during this time dictated by old man winter. So until then, keep grinding and good fishing!
Tight lines and God Bless.