Shore Jigging: The mystery of the assist hooks on the head of the jig!

Come on! Admit it! Some of you just can’t accept that one or two assist hooks very close to the head, can have such a perfect hooking ratio, especially on very slim and long jigs! I know it looks strange, having 4cm assist hooks on a 20cm jig and with one strike you have a decent hooks set on the fish in most cases! How is it possible from all these 20cm of body, a fish go almost always on the first centimeters of the head?

In this article I will explain fast and clear why this is happening, and the reason I started to write about it, is the amount of questions I get from anglers about adding longer assist hooks in front, or treble hook on the rear ring.  So here is why!

The big predators if given the chance will ALWAYS prefer to strike on the head of their victim. A strike on the head is the best and safest way to ensure their lunch! A strike there serves two purposes!

1) To completely stop the fish moving direction! A bite near the tail could result in escaping and we must be aware that in a very solid environment like water, the power even of the smaller living being, is great! We all had been surprised by the strength of a fish struggling in our hands!

2) A strike near the head is capable to instantly kill or make dizzy, even strong prey items like mullets. I mention that most fish gulp their prey head first because of the spines and this is another reason! In the underwater world, the fastest you drive your prey in the stomach, the better, because of escape or stealing from competition!

How fish recognize where the head is on a jig/lure?

I’m not a fish to answer by heart, but according my observations; fish decide where the head is and strike, with two criteria! The eye (This is why I love big eyes on my lures) and the direction a lure moves.  An eye is always a target and a very vulnerable part of the body! The direction a jig/lure moves is another criteria for a strike, since many fish use pre aiming to attack, meaning that they attack a bit in front from the prey, calculating the position it presumably  will be in the next milliseconds. This explains why during active jigging we get most of the times 100% successful strikes, while on falling we get more failed strikes. When a jig falls, if it goes down with the rear part, it will trigger a failed attack there, confusing the predator that the head is there.

All written above, gives you a very clear and straight idea, why big fish aim for the head! Usually all “inhalers” (fish that inhale the prey whole), like groupers and amberjacks, have much better hook rating compared with “bitters” (fish that bite to dismantle their prey) like barracudas, bluefish and snappers, but in general all prefer the head! So don’t hesitate to rig a high quality assist hook near the eye! This is definitely a key for success!

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