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To Trim The Weed Guard Or Not

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I was in my workshop adding skirts to some jigs and noticed something I never realized before, namely, the minimal pressure required to depress the fiber guard down below the hook point and barb. Do it yourself. It's not much pressure - maybe 6 oz.? Then I imagined the sequence of events when a bass eats/ inhales/traps a jig followed by the hookset:

1. It rarely just nips at it like the end of a plastic worm. A skirted jig is the kind of bait, like a plastic worm, that commits a bass to taking the bait completely in its mouth in a flash - no messing around!

2. Once the jig is well inside, past the lips, the angler has one or two seconds to set the hook with as much power that he/she can generate. The sharpened point exerts more piercing pressure than a large blunted surface and given the transmitted power of the anglers muscles, rod length and power and the zero stretch of braid, the speed of hook set at say 100 mph, results in a point pressure exerting pressure exceeding 50lbs/sq.inch.

3. With the bass's mouth clenched to prevent escape, the hook rotates as it begins to exit on the hookset, setting up a gullet or lip hook depending how deep the lure was taken in before the hook was set.

4. Given that the pressure necessary to depress most brush guards is 6 oz. or less, the hookset force is at least 8x and a hole cutting point of over 100x that. Other analogies are the minimal downward pressure it takes to cut soft bones (a fish's rib cage)or leather using a sharp edged blade or the pressure needed to pierce a piece of leather with a needle.

Many articles over the years have restated the opinion that the weed guard needs to be shortened or made level and parallel to the hook shank. Some may also believe the shortened guard improves the natural appearance of the jig without the distraction of a black toothbrush sticking up. But in my experience, having caught hundreds of bass (and the perch pictured below) with guard unaltered, the above four points explain the discrepancy in the oft stated tip versus reality (no pun intended).

IMO,a sharp point and powerful hookset trumps weed guard trimming any day! Case in pointand basic physics.

To each his own....

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Shortening a brush guard makes it stiffer. That may not be a bad thing in some situations.

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I agree with you. I know many people shorten them but I do not. When I have tried different lengths all that I end up doing is losing a jig. I havent shortened a weedgaurd in atleast 10 yrs. Now cutting out fibers is a different story. Like you said though. To each his own.

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Wood. That's when I shorten them, but that's it. And that's only because I don't feel like tying up the proper tool - an arkey or football jig, LOL.

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Sometimes I thin them out depending on stiffness, otherwise I fan them out.

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Sometimes I thin them out depending on stiffness, otherwise I fan them out.

Same here.

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I personally do nothing to my weedguards, and I catch a fair amount of fish on jigs ;) so if it ain'tbroke don't fix it

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I have cut them, thinned them, flared them and done nothing. I have never found any significant difference in any of it except the flared guard is a little more snag resistant.

I don't even go for the jerk their heads off hookset because to the tears in the mouth it can cause which makes it easier for them to throw the jig and I don't think it is a necessity as I use only quality hooks on my jigs.

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i fish jigs a lot as i love pitching, flipping and punching more then anything and like to weigh in big bags... i will shorten a weed guard only will i need a stiffer weed guard other then that i flare them out a little not because of hook setting but because they come through cover better... now sometimes i notice fish grabbing and spitting the jig out super fast and when that happens on a few different fish i will then cut the weed guard down and thin it out as well... i have noticed on some waters that get jig fished way to much that the fish feels the weed guard and will in turn spit the lure as fast as it picked it up with a cut down guard they will hold on a tick longer this isnt something thats happened only once or twice so i know its what it is and a place where fish do that and you need strands removed and shortened is Rodman in FL i fish many many tourneys there and its pounded with jigs non stop all year long and the fish have gotten smart and when they feel a weed guard they flare their mouths and get it out with the quickness.

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I'm not affiliated with them in any way so I don't mind sayin' that I make my own jig on the LureCraft (Poor Boy's Baits) jig heads. They use fewer strands than anyone else, and I don't have any problems with hook up's, using unmodified weedguards. And I don't really run into more snagging due to the thinner guard either.

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You only need a jig with a fiber brush type weed guard when fishing heavy cover and they come in several grades of stiffness. No weed guard is best for getting a hook set.

Adding a weed guard should consider the type of jig fishing you plan to do.

Open water deep rocky structure may not require any weed guard or simply adding a 1 1/2" piece of soft plastic finesse worm on a hitchhiker type spring attached to the jig hook eye. This is the type of weed guard I use 90% of the time. Another variant is the split wire or plastic V weed guard, good for light cover. The most common type is the multiple strand fiber weed guards used for heavy cover when flipping or pitching jigs. Good quality production jig is Denny Brauers Stike King Pro model jig, out west the Wadda jig is very popular. Years ago back in 71' Bill Haddock designed a jig that placed the hook between two fiber guards*, this jig was excellent and ahead of it's time.

Several theories on weed guards; the guard will cause the jig to roll over sideways and prevent the hook from making contact to the upper mouth area. The head will force open the mouth causing the hook to miss making any contact. Take your pick.

The fact is largemouth bass rarely nip at a jig with it's lips, they engulf it to the back of their mouth where the crunchers are locating to kill it. If you hook set at that moment before the bass spits the false creature out quickly, you get a good hook set. You can't hook a bass that has spit out the jig.

*For anyone interest in the dual weed guard design jig Bo James in AL has one on the market.

For the 10% of the time I need a fiber style weed guard I use the Wadda jig and separate the fibers into a V shape and cut off the excess fibers about 1/8" above the hook point. I also reel and sweep set a jig, unless fishing vertical like flipping/pitching, then I tend to rod set. The most important element for any jig is the hook; size, type & sharpness.

Tom

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