Jig Modifications – Increase Your Hookup Ratio
A mistake I see a lot of anglers make when fishing a jig is they don’t modify their jig. The stock weed guard and skirt that come standard on jigs tend to be too big for most applications. Their large size makes the jig far less natural and can hurt your ability to get a good hookset.
Jig manufacturers use a large stock weed guard and skirt in order to appeal to as many consumers as possible. Using longer stock options allows anglers to make modifications to meet their individual needs while appealing to the masses. Because of this, I always make modifications to my jigs.
I typically modify both the weed guard and the skirt of my jigs.
Benefits of Trimming a Jig’s Weed Guard
When modifying a jig’s weed guard you are looking for the perfect mix between getting through cover without getting hung up, while also not getting in the way of a good hookset.
There are two types of modifications you can make to a jig’s weed guard. The first is shortening the guard by cutting off the end with scissors. I try and leave the guard about 1/8 of an inch longer than the hook. I also try and make my cut parallel to the hook point.
After I have my weed guard at the proper length I adjust the number of bristles on the guard based on the cover I am fishing. In super thick bushes or grass, you may need to keep most of the bristles to remain weedless. On the other extreme if you are fishing open water you may be able to remove the weed guard completely without risking getting hung up.
The majority of your jig fishing will fall somewhere in between these two extremes. Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple answer for these in-between situations but a good starting point removing 10-30% of the bristles and testing it on the water. If you aren’t getting hung up very often then you can thin the weed guard further. If you are constantly getting hung up you need a beefier weed guard.
Once you find that perfect balance you will see a big difference in the number of fish you land.
How to Trim a Jig’s Weed Guard
- Cut the weed guard parallel to the hook about 1/8 of an inch above the hook point.
- Next, thin the weed guard by cutting off some of the bristles on the underside of the jig at the base. A good starting point is 10-30% of the total bristles depending on the cover you will be fishing.
Avoid pulling bristles out of the weed guard in order to thin. Pulling out bristles will cause a gap that will eventually cause the entire weed guard to fall out.
Benefits of Trimming a Jig’s Skirt
Just like its weed guard, a jig’s skirt tends to come longer and thicker than you want in most situations. The longer and thicker stock skirt will reduce the action of your trailer and clump up which can look unnatural.
I do three quick modifications to all my jig skirts. The first thing is to cut the length of the skirt so it doesn’t reach any appendages on my trailer to allow full movement.
After cutting to the length I messy up the cut by cutting strains to varying lengths trying to get an erratic look. Once I get a non-uniformed look I thin the underside.
These three adjustments remove a lot of bulk from a jig making it look and act much more natural.
How to Trim a Jig’s Skirt
- Start by trimming the skirt about 1/2 of an inch past the hook. You want the skirt to be short enough that it doesn’t interfere with your trailer’s appendages action.
- Next, messy up the skirt by cutting strains at different lengths. You want a tapered look that isn’t uniform.
- Finally cut out some of the inner strains that are below the jig collar. You want a thin underlayer to allow for maximum movement.
Thinning a jig skirt will make it sink faster.
A jig will work straight out of the pack but if you spend some time and modify them you can increase make them more realistic, have better action, and easier to get a good hookset. These three things can greatly increase the number of fish you catch a day. To learn more about jig fishing read our complete guide.