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September 21, 2007

Have a Ball

Round leadhead jigs may be the best all-purpose lure ever. Here are three ways to use them.

1. Jigging the Deep

SOFT TOUCH: Soft-plastic lures are great jig enhancers.
Illustration: Pete Sucheski

Grouper, snapper and other species all fall for large round leadhead jigs tipped with a soft-plastic. A tight line (braid is best) is imperative to feel bottom and detect strikes. Work the rod upward while reeling the lure up six, eight, ten feet or more, then drop it back into free-spool with a tight line.

2. Low & Slow

FRESH TIP: Sweeten your presentation with a fish-belly strip.
Illustration: Pete Sucheski

This is a good retrieve for non-jagged rock, shell and sand bottom, where flounder, seatrout, redfish and other inshore fish feed. To keep the jig in contact with the bottom, angle the rod tip down. Work the lure by repeatedly reeling and stopping. Strikes typically come as the lure starts to move.

3. Fast & Steady Swimming

WEED WHACKER: allow the jig to barely tip weeds while retreiving.
Illustration: Pete Sucheski

The key to this deadly tactic is to allow the jig to swim just above weed tops to prevent fouling. To accomplish this, match the jig weight to water depth, current or tide speed.

A fast, though constant, lure retrieve is needed. A sensitive graphite rod helps relay when the jig just nips weed tips.