Lead jigs R.I.P.?

Lead jigs are destined for extinction claimed Bassmaster Elite Series pro Jeff Kriet. His belief has nothing to do with environmental regulations.

“Once you try a tungsten jig you’ll never want to fish a lead jig again,” said the Oklahoma pro.

Kriet believes tungsten jigs today are where tungsten worm weights were 10 years ago.

“We were all throwing lead bullet weights before tungsten came along,” he said. “I would say that 95 percent of all bass fishermen, whether they are pros or amateurs, now use tungsten bullet weights.”

Kriet’s fondness for tungsten jigs was virtually love at first sight. The two were formally introduced when Kriet bought some Eco Pro tungsten jigs two years ago. He immediately put them to the test on his local Oklahoma lakes while fishing with friends.

“I’d throw a tungsten jig and they would throw a lead jig,” he explained. “I couldn’t believe how many more bites I was getting. I would catch three bass to their one. When they switched to a tungsten jig, they started getting more bites, too.”

Sensitivity

The major advantage with a tungsten jig is sensitivity, Kriet stresses.

“With a tungsten jig you can feel so much better when you’re in touch with rock, gravel, sand, wood and grass,” he said. “You can’t fish effectively if you can’t feel what’s down there.”

A good example is when he drags a jig over a point or ledge. With a tungsten jig, he can better feel the “scratchy” shell and gravel sweet spots that hold bass. This feedback improves Kriet’s efficiency because it lets him know when he needs to speed up or slow down his retrieve.

“I pull the jig along pretty fast when I feel a smooth bottom,” he explained. “As soon as I feel that scratch, I slow down and shake the jig. The bass are usually on the edge where the bottom goes from smooth to rough. When I feel the bottom go smooth again I speed up or reel in for another cast.”

Size

Another important advantage with a tungsten jig is its smaller size, Kriet points out. A tungsten jig’s head is substantially smaller than that of a lead jig of the same weight. This reduces the odds of a swing-and-miss because a smaller jig is less likely to blow open a bass’ mouth when you set the hook.

“My hookup ratio is way better with tungsten jigs,” he said.

He also said that a smaller jighead reduces water resistance, which allows him use a lighter jig effectively in deep water. During the winter months, Kriet often fishes a 3/8-ounce Eco Pro Tungsten Kira Casting jig 20 feet deep in places where he would have needed a 1/2-ounce lead jig previously.

“Because it’s not as bulky, I can keep a 3/8-ounce Kira Jig on bottom way better than a 1/2-ounce lead jig,” he said.

The tungsten jig’s ability to stay down gives him better feedback and keeps the lure in the strike zone. Its small size appeals to bass in cold water. And, lethargic bass can more easily inhale the jig due to its lighter weight.

Kriet typically dresses the Kira Jig with a small crawdad or twintail trailer when the water is cold. This reduces water resistance and maintains a small profile. In warmer water, he won’t hesitate to bulk up the jig with a larger trailer.

“A 3/8-ounce green pumpkin Kira is my go-to jig,” Kriet said. “No matter where I’m fishing, I always have one on my boat’s deck. I’ll fish it from 2 to 30 feet deep.”

Price

Although tungsten costs more than lead, Eco Pros jigs are quite reasonably priced. Their skirted flipping, swimming and Kira Casting Jigs cost $4 to $6. Eco Pro also offers their unskirted tungsten Flick Head, Free Ball and Money Maker Shakey Jig at lower prices. Kriet has been happy to pay any price for his tungsten jigs, but that is no longer necessary because he picked up Eco Pro as a sponsor a year ago.

“If I wasn’t sponsored by Eco Pro, I’d still be buying their tungsten jigs,” Kriet said. “Fishing lead jigs is like putting flasher fishfinders on your bass boat.” 

Other tungsten jigs

Eco Pro isn’t the only company that offers tungsten jigs. Some of the others include BassTEK Outdoors, Beast Coast Tungsten & Tackle, Damiki, Lethal Weapon Lures, Molix, OMTD Smart Hooks, Picasso, TD Tungstenand Vike Tungsten.

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