Today most professional anglers will have at least one rod and reel combination in their boat rigged with a shaky head jig. They know as do many weekend anglers that the shaky head jig can catch largemouth bass at times when the fish do not seem to be in a biting mood.
This finesse fishing technique is especially good when a lake has a lot of fishing pressure or often after weather front passes and we have a blue sky situation. The shaky head jig has often been thought of as a technique for catching smaller fish but big fish are often caught on a variety of finesse plastic baits that are attached to the jig head.
Even though it is thought to be a finesse fishing style, many anglers go with larger jig heads and bigger plastic baits and have amazing results. In the infancy of the shaky head jig, anglers were using 6-8 pound line on very light action spinning reels with very small 4-5 inch plastic worms. Now it is not uncommon to see anglers using baitcasting equipment with 10-14 pound line and jig heads rigged with 6-10 inch worms, lizards, floating worms, Senkos and creature baits.
Actually the first small finesse jig application was developed by Charlie Brewer in the 1970s when he introduced the Slider Head which consisted of a small four inch worm and a small flat sided jig. The slider jig was usually rigged with the hook exposed since you were not fishing the rig on the bottom. Anglers would simply cast out the slider worm rig and slowly reel it or swim it back to the boat.
Today’s version of the Slider Head jig is the shaky head jig which most anglers now rig Texas style with the hook embedded in the plastic bait. However, the plastic bait can be rigged on the shaky head jig with the hook exposed or even whacky style where the jig’s hook is placed in the center of the worm and is exposed.
When fishing the smallest shaky head jigs, the presentation tends to be extremely slow and if you are a power angler who is accustomed to fishing big crankbaits and plastics, it will take some patience and some getting use to when using the shaky head jig. Basically you cast the small jig and worm out and just let it sit on the bottom with only an occasional shaking of the rod tip.
If no bite occurs, just move it a few inches or a couple feet and repeat the process until you have worked it back to the boat. Then cast out and repeat the process again and again. Like I said, it is slow and takes patience but the shaky head catches fish. I have used larger jig heads and have worked them pretty much like I would a regular Texas rigged worm and have had good success.
I have also fished the larger jig heads in deeper water whereas the small shaky head jig is meant for relatively shallow water. The small shaky head jig is ideal around boat docks, grass and brush piles but the larger jig head can be used on deeper points, ledges and humps with success. The smaller shaky head jigs run from 1/16 to ? ounces but the larger jig heads run up to ? ounces or more.
Zoom Bait Company makes both a standard 5 inch shaky head worm and a larger 7 inch magnum shaky head worm and both work well on a shaky head jig. Berkley Powerbait also has both a 5 and 7 inch shaky head worm that is very good. Gary Yamamoto makes some good plastic baits for the small shaky head jig including the 4 and 5 inch Senko and the 5 inch Kut Tail worm. Another good plastic worm is the 4 and 5 inch Yum Dinger. I would just suggest you buy a few different jigs and plastic worms and experiment on your own.
A newer technique now being used by shaky head jig anglers is swimming the shaky head jig and soft plastic manufactures like Gary Yamamoto are making special plastic swim baits for the shaky head jig. In that application, the anglers fish the shaky head jig slightly off the bottom and swim and shake the jig back to the boat instead of fishing the jig directly on the bottom.
Like any other fishing application, anglers are constantly trying new things with the shaky head jig and most likely newer applications for the shaky head jig will be developed through a process of trial and error by inquisitive anglers. In reality, the shaky head can be used anywhere in the water column including the lake bottom, mid-depth or even near or on the surface.
If you like to fish plastic baits but you may be looking for something different from the standard Texas rig or the Carolina rig, buy you a few shaky head jigs, a handful of plastic finesse baits and give it a try. Just remember the smaller shaky head jig requires some patience due to the slow nature of the presentation. Good fishing and see you next week.