MICRO JIGGING – Tie Your Own Assist Hooks
I don’t know about you, but when it comes to micro jigs, I think the original hooks supplied with the jigs are insufficient, even worthless. You see, the way I use my micro jig is different from the Japanese fast jigging style. I let the jig sink right to the bottom for a few seconds, give it 3-4 jigs and let it sink another few seconds and repeat, simulating an injured baitfish in its death spiral downwards, till the jig hits bottom. Once it rests on the seabed, I’d very gently jiggle it barely 2 inches from the bottom, simulating a tiny baitfish grazing on the algae covered rocks, like all baitfish tend to do. This renders the tail treble unusable as it will snag on to the bottom in no time.
Now those that had fished with me know that I seek out snaggy, rocky and weedy seabeds to attempt this stunt, and many a kaki with me had become land reclamation stakeholders due to their contribution of lost lures, no thanks to my choice of location.
The original trebles used on these jigs are also easily straightened and need to be replaced with stiffer gauge hooks. But having a hook attached directly at the tail end of the jig enhances its ability to get snagged on almost every drop. Perhaps that’s the raison d’être for having easily straightened trebles, and swapping these out to stiffer gauge hooks exacerbates the situation when they get snagged, only making them irretrievably stuck.
Removing the tail trebles for an appropriately sized assist hook hung from the nose will surely address these issues. Or so I thought. But it was much easier said than done, as there was nary an appropriately sized, ready-made assist hook available over the counter without having to pay an arm, a leg and your firstborn son for it. So I decided to make them myself and share this step by step pictorial with you. Hopefully one of you will find this useful.
Edit: Here’s another post I did later, with better photos. Click here.
Here are the material you need to collect before you begin:
1) 2 sizes of spilt rings, the bigger is rated 2x the strength of the smaller, and the smaller is rated at 1.5x strength as your line’s breaking strain or there about. Eg: My mainline size range from 6lb to 10lb. So the smallest split ring I can find is 15lb, and the bigger one is around 30lb. In the case where your assist hook is irretrievably stuck, gradual pressure on the line will cause the small split ring to deform and break off, saving your jig and line.
Why not use the biggest, strongest ring? Because it will slow down the action of your jig. I believe by using as light as I can afford to use, greatly increases my chance to attract fish in our heavily pressured waters to bite.
2) Get some gold plated hooks which have its gape as wide as your jig.
3) Hollow Kevlar or Spectra chord, the choice is yours. Note that although Kevlar is harder to cut and has greater heat hesitance, it has poor flexibility and like a wire that is repeatedly folded, will break at that fold.
Spectra however has a very low melting point and is not as resistant to cutting than Kevlar. It is however resistant to breaking at the fold, and has better resistance to teeth than normal fluorocarbon monofilament. In my picture, I have Asari hollow Kevlar chord. I find that 90lbs works great for me. (I also use 80lb Jerry Brown hollow core Spectra too).
4) A spool of whipping floss with a bobbin. You can make do with fine dental floss on one of those Japanese FG knot bobbin too.
5) A big eyed needle, large enough to thread your Kevlar through, and some threading device to help you thread the needle and the bobbin.
6) A sharp pair of scissors that can cut Kevlar/Spectra cleanly
7) Optional: Super glue, clear Nail Polish, some synthetic flash material (Aurora threads in this case), A fly tying vice and a whipping tool which you can get from fly tying suppliers.
8) Absent in this photo is a 2ft length of 60lb mono wire, folded in 2 and a fly tying vice.
Forming the “Eye”
Thread Kevlar through the needle. For those with young eyes and steady hands you don’t need the assistance of a needle threader like i have here.
Pass the Kevlar through your small split ring and then sew the tag end through the bitter end (the longer half) to form the “eye”.
Tighten the eye, leaving just enough slack for the ring to swing freely.
Then sew the bitter end ( the longer half) through the tag end. Note I stuck the needle in at one Kevlar chord’s width to the first stitch.
Repeat the alternate stitching by sewing the tag end through the bitter end and lastly the bitter end through the tag end. If you had done it neatly and consistently, you will end up with a chord that looks like one single strand with a series of chevrons forming the lock stitching. (I apologize for the blurry photo here).
Why go to the trouble of making the lock stitches for the eye instead of passing one end through and forming the eye with no fuss? Lock stitching as the name suggests, prevents the chord from slipping out if you pull the other way.
Forming the Chinese Handcuff
Pass the folded nose of your 2ft length of 60lb folded mono wire through the orifice of the bitter end and poke it out 1 kevlar chord’s width from the last locking stitch. It will help you do a good job if you bunch the bitter end up the wire, like you are threading a worm through a hook.
Catch the tag end between the wires and draw the tag end in through the bitter end to form 1 single chord. I apologize for the blurry photo again.
Here, you see the tag end had been drawn through the bitter end and is the longer of the 2 ends. This is achieved not by brute force pulling on the folded wire, but by working the bitter end, bunching it upwards towards the split ring. This action looses the weave of the Kevlar, allowing the tag end to slip through freely.
Stroke the outer sheath (the bitter end) away from the split ring. This is a very important step as you need the whole chord to now be stretched tight against the inner chord so that it can “bite” onto the inner and not slip. I use my hands, my fingernails and a plastic pen to help me stretch out the chord as I hang the split ring off a nail. When done right, the knot will not slip as the harder you pull, the tighter will the knot hold, just like a Chinese Handcuff.
Position the hook
Before you begin, test your hook on your thumb nails. It should be sticky sharp, without having to pull hard. If dull, sharpen with an extra fine hone till it’s sticking on your nails like it’s magnetic. There’s no point going through all the rigmarole of tying your own assist hooks, only to fix on a dull hook.
Measure your hook and chord against your jig. When done, the hook should be hanging 2/3 way down from your jig. Make a mark on your Kevlar where the eye of your hook will begin.
Attaching The Hook
Pin the point of your hook into the mark that you had just made and thread the hook through the Kevlar chord, pushing the point back out 3-5mm from where it entered (depending on your hook size). You want to be careful to pin it inline with the eye you formed, so that the hook will hang perpendicular to the jig when you’re done.
Slide the Kevlar up to the eye of the hook and retighten the chord by stroking it.
Whipping the Hook to Kevlar
Clamp your hook on a fly tying vise. Slide the Kevlar down the shank taking care not to loosen the weave. Then start an under bind by wrapping a few wraps of the whipping floss onto the hook shank.
Slide the Kevlar back over the under bind, tighten the weave and trim away the extra Kevlar. Then wrap your whipping floss over the Kevlar, taking care to keep tension.
Finish off by whipping on some aurora threads.
With the whipping tool, whip the ends of the floss to secure. I apologize for the overexposed picture.
The Completed Assist Hook
For integrity and to prevent saltwater intrusion, I recommend you add a drop or two of super glue to the binding. Super glue needs moisture as a catalyst to harden. I normally give my hook a lick before applying Super Glue. Finish off with a coat of clear nail polish.
Hang Assist hook to the jig with a bigger split ring.
Have fun with your construction and tight lines always!
Text and Images © Lawrence Lee
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