Kayak Fishing with Jigs Gone Weedless

Weedless leadhead jigs pay off in tournament competition
Weedless leadhead jigs pay off in tournament competition. Photo courtesy John Donohue.

Kayak Fishing with Jigs Gone Weedless
By John Donohue

A lead head jig attached to a soft plastic body is the most versatile bait ever invented. There are countless shapes and sizes in more colors than the largest box of crayons. Everything from largemouth bass to grouper eats jigs.

This combo is deadly, but it can be made more versatile.

A couple of years ago I was fishing the IFA Kayak Tournament with one of my buddies. We started the morning at a lush grass flat with plenty of small holes. Right off the bat he was hooking reds while I had trouble working my jig through the thick grass. I asked him why. He had attached a hitchhiker (a small screw that attaches to the eye of the jig) to the jig, allowing him to skin the point of the hook into the jerkbait and making it weed proof.

He gave me one of the small brass hitchhikers and next thing you know, I am hooked up to an over slot beast. It was perfect for the catch photo and release format. When I transitioned into deeper water with the same set up to search for trout, I landed a nice one. One minor adjustment to my lure paid off in a second place finish.

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This little trick is perfect for bass fishing as well. At the 2012 Hobie World Fishing Championships, while most others were throwing Carolina rigs, I used a hitchhiker rig (my hitchhiker of choice is now the Owner Centering Pin Spring) with good success especially in the tall grass patches. I showed it off to my fellow anglers from all over the globe and they loved it. The Australians took a bag of hitchhikers and a bunch of soft plastics home, where they expected it to prove effective for bream. I never would have guessed such a simple modification would transition worldwide.

John Donohue is a member of the Hobie Fishing Team.

Simple changes to a proven bait can pay big dividends
Simple changes to a proven bait can pay big dividends. Photo: John Donohue.