A Weedguard, Not a Fishguard

Jigs have probably caught more bass than any other lure design in history. And no one fishes them more efficiently — and effectively — than 1998 Bassmaster Classic Champion Denny Brauer.

"Everybody's heard about trimming the skirt to get a jig ready to fish. We all know how to do that. But what I think a lot of anglers have misunderstood is what you do with the weedguard," he says. "A lot of magazines talk about trimming the corners and other stuff to make it more compact or more efficient. As a result of this misinformation there have been a lot of jigs screwed-up over the years.

"If you fish high-quality Strike King jigs, like I do, there's really no reason to do that. Our pro-grade weedguards are good that way right out of the package. They avoid hang-ups and that's their job."

Brauer goes on to say, however, that there is one way to trick-out a weedguard that will make a big difference in your hooking percentage, even when tossing a Strike King jig — weaken it.

"Standard weedguards are designed to be fished on lines from 15-pound-test on up. When you use those same jigs with lighter line, or when you start fishing deeper, that weedguard becomes, in effect, a fishguard. It actually prohibits you from getting a good a hookset and penetration. It hurts your fishing." To minimize this problem Brauer recommends removing a few of the strands.

He does this carefully, always mindful of his line test. At 12-pound-test he'll usually cut — a pair of sharp scissors or side cutters work just fine — between a third and a half of the strands off his weedguard. At 8 or 10-pound-test he may remove all but three or four of them, especially when he's swimming his jig or pulling it over a clean pea gravel bottom.

Brauer cautions anglers not to do this when they're flipping or pitching or fishing around heavy cover. "Let the weedguard do its job under those conditions," he says. "This is a light line, deep and open water trick. I think more guys should do this and experiment to find what they're comfortable with. It would really increase their efficiency and improve their fishing."