A soft plastic body attached to a jighead spinner has been a longtime hit combo for panfish anglers, but the concept has never caught on among the bass pro ranks.
However, a Bassmaster touring pro has discovered a jighead spinner that is turning the heads of bass wherever he fishes it. Small soft plastic bodies fit well on Blakemore Road Runners and other horsehead jigs, but Alton Jones had never used a jighead spinner that could properly accommodate a bass-sized soft plastic until last summer when he found out about the Sworming Hornet Lures Original Fish Head Spin.
A variety of soft plastics will fit well on the Fish Head Spin. "You can change the total profile of the lure just by changing the piece of plastic," suggests Jones. "It is a good imitator of the baitfish that bass are eating." Three soft plastics Jones uses most frequently on a Fish Head Spin are the 5-inch Yum Houdini Shad, a Yum Boogee Tail spinnerbait trailer and a Yum Wooly Hawgtail. The four-time BASS winner tries to match shad hues with his spinner combo, so he selects Fish Heads in Arkansas Shiner color and pearl white soft plastics.
The Fish Head combo imparts a more realistic action than crankbaits that produce a lot of wobble and vibration.
"If you ever watch a shad swim through the water, you'll see there is not a lot of that; it kind of glides like it is not moving at all, and that is what this bait does."
The spinner and its soft plastic trailer have the right size and look to whet the appetite of a hungry bass or even a finicky lunker. "It's a little/big thing," claims Jones, who caught a 10-pounder on the lure in November. "It has a smaller blade on it than a traditional spinnerbait, and the blade is in a different location. The tiny blade gives it a finesse look so it attracts a lot of strikes, but it also is a big bait, so it catches big ones."
The Texas pro fishes his finesse spinnerbait in certain open water situations, such as when bass are busting baitfish on the surface or if schools of suspended bass show up on his electronics.
Anytime I see fish schooling on the surface it is now my bait of choice because I can throw it a mile and it gets down under what sometimes are the smaller fish on top," discloses Jones. "A lot of times you'll see 1- or 2-pounders on top and you'll get a 4- or 5-pounder underneath them."
Whenever he sees bass busting shad, Jones throws his Fish Head combo past the surface activity and slow rolls the lure, trying to keep it in a depth range of 4 to 5 feet. Even though he is targeting active fish, Jones employs a slow retrieve anytime he relies on a Fish Head combo. "When they want something faster, I think other baits are more effective," he advises.
The only variation he makes to his retrieve is to occasionally give the lure a gentle pop followed by a split-second pause. "A lot of times that is when you get the strike, right when you pause it or as soon as you start it back up," says Jones.
When he wants to vary the depth of his presentation, Jones either switches the size of his Fish Head (available in 1/4, 3/8 or 1/2 ounce) or positions his rod at a different angle during the retrieve. "Sometimes I will fish it with my rod pointed up at a 45 degree angle, and other times I will fish it with my rod pointed down, which affects the depth it runs," suggests Jones. "For example, on a long cast with that 1/4-ounce model and my rod down, it is going to run about 5 or 6 feet deep, and with my rod up it will run about 3 feet."
Because it can be worked effectively at various depths, the Fish Head combo catches bass in either deep or shallow situations. Jones believes it is an exceptional cold weather bait, especially when bass suspend in the winter. "You fish it in the same type of places you fish a suspending jerkbait, but a suspending jerkbait won't get deep enough for the fish," says Jones. The Texas pro knows he can work a good suspending jerkbait on 10-pound line down to about 8 feet, but he can present a 3/8-ounce Fish Head Spin to bass suspended in the 15- to 25-foot range.
"I like to fish it right in the gut of really deep pockets in the cold weather," says Jones. The combo also can be used as a finesse presentation whenever other bassmasters are slow rolling a magnum-sized spinnerbait.
The 1/4-ounce Fish Head Spin also produced two hefty bass for Jones when he slow rolled it over hydrilla at Lake Guntersville last April. "They wouldn't touch a spinnerbait but they would smoke that Fish Head Spin," he recalls.
Before the 2005 Georgia Pro Tour event at Clarks Hill, Jones thought the Fish Head Spin would deliver him a victory. "I had an unbelievable practice catching big fish on that thing," says Jones. The lure did produce a 9-15 limit for Jones the first day of competition, but his partner caught the bigger fish. Jones gave the nonboater one of his Fish Head Spins and he caught three fish that totalled more than 17 pounds.
The Fish Head Spin and Yum Houdini Shad did produce a victory for Jones and his son Alton Jr. during a Skeeter Owners tournament on Lake St. Clair. The Joneses slow rolled the combo to catch seven smallmouth bass weighing more than 25 pounds.
Jones can deliver his Fish Head Spin long distances on a 6 1/2-foot medium action rod with a light tip. Because he slow rolls the lure most of the time, Jones opts for a medium-speed baitcast reel (5.1:1 gear ratio) filled with 15-pound line.
Setting the hook with a Fish Head combo requires some patience. "Usually if I set the hook right when I feel them, I will miss most of those fish," reveals Jones. "You need to let the fish get it, and they WILL get it."
Jones also depends on the spinner combo whenever bass strike short or just follow other blade baits. "Those are the days when they will just gobble that Fish Head Spin."
About the only time he avoids trying the spinner combo is around heavy cover because the lure's exposed hooks tend to hang up frequently.
A Better Spin On Jigheads
Texas pro Alton Jones prefers the Fish Head Spin over traditional horsehead spinners because it is equipped with a longer shank Mustad Ultrapoint hook and has a larger keeper to hold 3- to 5-inch soft plastics. "The soft plastic doesn't slide down every time you make a cast or catch a fish," says Jones. "Often I can catch 10 fish on one (Yum) Houdini Shad." The jighead also features holographic 3D eyes and realistic, multistage paint patterns.
The key to rigging a soft plastic on the jighead is to make sure it is perfectly straight on the hook (belly down) so the combo will run true.
Sworming Hornet Lures
Fish Head Spin