Mustad Elite Jig Heads
I’ll be the first to tell you that I do miss fishing and running boats for a living, but I also enjoy the steady aspect of talking about fishing everyday. One of the perks of this position is getting to see the latest advances in fishing products and sometimes getting to take them for a test drive.
This is a case in point for that. Recently the industry gathered at ICAST in Orlando, Florida to showoff the latest and greatest new products for the upcoming year and I’m not alone when I say we saw some pretty exciting stuff.
Mustad is one of those long time pillars of the fishing industry and their products continue to evolve and stay on the cutting edge of hook-building technology.
At ICAST, Mustad introduced the world to their brand-new line of Elite Series Jig Heads for 2016.
A wide array of styles will offer fisherman from all types of fisheries to find a sturdy, well built jig head for their style of fishing.
These new jig heads have been designed from scratch to be extra strong and sharp.
The VP of Mustad Americas, Magnus Gunnarsson said, “The combination of advancements in rod and reel technology, and high-test braided line becoming the standard, has fueled a need for stronger tools for fighting tough fish like grouper, snook, snapper, stripers, and calico bass. Many anglers have also come to Mustad looking for super-strong specialty jig heads to help them fit more custom sized baits. To catch the big ones, you have to have the right bait and go where they live… heavy cover and lots of structure… and you’d better be ready to pull… HARD. I am totally confident these jig heads are up to the challenge!”
So it was with great anticipation that I heard a knock on the front door and snuck a peak to see Santa getting back in his big, brown truck. I opened the small cardboard box carefully and spread its contents on my keyboard for a close inspection. The folks at Mustad said their emphasis was on quality and from the looks of the jig heads neatly sealed in their package, they were right on target.
These jig heads were designed for modern day fishing with braided lines and the infinite variety of soft baits that are successfully used in so many fisheries today. With the advice from experienced pro-staff, Mustad built the Elite Jig Head to solve some of the problems with jigs from other companies. 2X strong hooks with Mustad’s UltraPoint 4.3 Technology translates to hooks being sharp right out of the package and staying that way longer. Take it from one who has spent uncountable hours sharpening hooks in my career, this is a huge plus.
Mustad also extended the hook shank to set the hook further back in the soft bait to eliminate those short strikes that were so common with this style of fishing.
As Murphy would have it, a low pressure system was sitting over Florida and dumping an unusual amount of rain and stormy weather, so I sat an day dreamed about getting these out in the Indian River, our saltwater inshore waters, for a test.
I’ve been fishing redfish, trout, and snook on the flats before work using a variety of Berkley Gulp shrimp, shad, and curly tails. The new Mustad Shad Darter looked to be the perfect match for the shallow grass flats I fish, though they were getting deeper with each inch of rain that fell.
Finally the day arrived, and I eased out of the mangrove creek and began to work the early morning waters.
I had rigged the chartreuse Shad Darter head with a White Gulp Shrimp. I like to rig the Gulp shrimp by cutting off the tail and rigging it backwards. Pictured here, I tried the new Football jig head and really saw the benefit of the extended hook shank. Have no doubt; these jigs are super sharp too. It turned out that the Football heads were a little heavy for the depth I was in but the Shad Darter was just right.
The flattened head of the Shad Darter gave the lure a very stable feel, but with a light twitch and drop, it still had that enticing action. I could cast it a long way using my G. Loomis 7’6” E6X and a Shimano Symetre 3000FL. This combination was designed by G. Loomis for inshore saltwater fishing and also won awards at this year’s ICAST for the E6X series rods. That review is coming, but I’m not done putting it through its paces, but so far it is awesome.
It was still a little breezy out of the southwest and the water was stained but clear from all the rain, but that did not stop a speckled seatrout from slamming the jig and checking off the first species for my Mustad Jig experience.
The fish pattern had changed since my last trip due to the weather, but a huge ladyfish followed suit and despite the frantic jumping and head shaking that ladyfish are famous for, the hook stayed in place and another box was checked in my book.
Even as the sun began to light up the river, the visibility was too low to really sight fish because of the wind chop. I continued to work the grass flat in about two-feet of water keeping the jig hopping and swimming just above the grass.
Wham, something knocked the jig hard and the drag was smoothly peeling.
You know immediately that you have a better fish and this one was staying down and bull dogging.
After an energetic fight on the fish’s part, a nice redfish rolled up and showed his true colors, darkened by the stained water. The Gulp Shrimp had been chewed off during the fight, but the Shad head was embedded in the jaw and not going anywhere.
The next day, I gave the small Whacky Jig Head a try and added a tiny soft bait to imitate the small minnows that live in our brackish creek. The Whacky head is just that, and with an active twitch of the rod, you can make it bounce around in a very erratic fashion. I jumped off a couple off juvenile tarpon, but don’t judge the jig, because that is what tarpon do best. I tried this again on the flats and it stuck in the first trout and ladyfish that could not resist the “whacky” bounce it has.
I also received the Mustad Bullet Head, which I look forward to trying on the next offshore trip. It will be great for tripletail and cobia and has a 2X strong hook so you don’t have to worry about bending it out. Sometimes you have to lean on these fish with all you dare to clear the structures they inhabit.
So get ready for Mustad’s Elite Jig Heads to hit your tackle source in the near future and find the style that fits your fishing needs. You won’t be disappointed.