July 24th, 2013
Need Some Finesse? Freedom Tackle’s Zodiac Jighead Delivers – Product Reviewby Grant Pentiricci November 28, 2013
So you need to slow down and present some finesse lures to finicky bass? There are many rigs that come to mind such as drop shot, shakey head and Texas rig. But what if you’re looking for something a little different? What if you are fishing a highly pressured lake?
Freedom Tackle released their innovative line of jigs in 2011 and our crew recently used the Zodiac Jighead to target some highly pressured smallies in post frontal conditions to see how well this presentation performed. Let’s face it, the presentation itself is not groundbreaking, however the innovation and design behind the jighead gives the angler certain advantages that he may not have with other jigs.
Firstly, each of Freedom Tackle’s jigs had a fully articulated hook which is on a stout 300-lbs stainless steel rated wire. With the hook being fully articulated, the fish cannot get any leverage to throw the hook. This is especially potent when an angler targets an aerobatic species of fish such as Small mouth. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a nice smallie jump only to have my hook and bait fly out at me. This articulated design greatly reduces the possibility of this happening and this is a huge advantage over other finesse presentations.
The ability to swap out the hooks on the jig head is also a useful feature. I found that being able to quickly switch from a EWG hook to a wacky rig without retying was also time saving and versatile. Great idea! Anglers can even twist on their own hooks if they prefer a different brand or size as well. When you consider adjusting tactics on the water, or need to downsize your presentation the ability to quickly and effortlessly swap out to a smaller hook really pays off.
Last year, Freedom Tackle launched the Zodiac in 1/4-oz, 3/8-oz and 1/2-oz. More recently, they developed lighter weights in this jig made from a different material that is Eco friendly. At ICAST 2013 the guys from Freedom Tackle unveiled the newer, ultra light 1/16-oz jighead.
We thought this was a cool jighead with some specific applications, so we took it out for some fun and this is what we found:
The ultralight jighead performed well in less than 5 km/h winds. As soon as we tried some windy points we found that we had to revert back to the heavier Zodiacs. The lighter jigs were just too light for any type of wind whatsoever and weren’t reaching the bottom.
We used a St Croix Legend Extreme spinning rod that was 6’8″ medium power with an extra fast tip. You can pair the Zodiac jigs with practically any drop shot or spinning rod. The key is the extra fast tip to set the hook on those light strikes.
When considering line be sure to use either a braid mainline with a Flourocarbon leader or just straight fluorocarbon. I prefer the braid/flouro option as the braid won’t stretch and the flouro will keep your line invisible. For really skittish bass use a longer leader in the 3 to 4-ft range. I use a uni knot to join the lines together; but for deeper presentations it’s wise to insert a swivel to avoid line twist. Stick baits tend to spin during retrieval so a swivel is a good idea. I stick with a 15-lb braid and match it with a 15 to 10-lb flourocarbon leader. 15-lbs may seem like it’s overkill, but I fish in waters that have Northern Pike and heavy weeds.
Eventually we found some sheltered water and found that the ultralight jigheads really allowed the stick worms to flutter down and worked great at finesse presentations. Strikes were not hard on the day we tested the jigheads out, the bass were “slurping” up the senkos. The Zodiacs still allowed us to feel light strikes and the design didn’t negatively impact sensitivity.
Something about the Zodiacs allowed them to easily thread through heavy weed growth as well. When we pulled the jig through vertical weeds such as hydrilla that were not matted on the surface. The articulated hook and the eyelet placement seemed to have the ability to get through weeds easily and stay upright.
The articulated hook did its job; we didn’t loose any fish by having them torque off during jumps. In fact, it kind of made the smallmouth jumps enjoyable as I wasn’t panicking trying to prevent them from doing so.
Although we didn’t run into any brutes during our testing, the Zodiacs showed that they are a viable option for finesse fishing and work as described when conditions are right. The Zodiac jigheads definitely have their place in an anglers tacklebox when conditions call for a little finesse.
About AuthorMore info about author
Grant is the Founder of AnglingAuthority.com. While he primarily fishes for large mouth and small mouth bass, he’s passionate about sport fishing in general and an avid multispecies angler. Learning about new tactics, gear, species and conditions is all part of what makes the sport challenging and enjoyable. Grant also loves to travel, particularly to prime fishing destinations. Grant participates in regional tournaments and is a proud pro staff member of State Apparel, Power-Pole and Gambler Lures. Grant is a member of B.A.S.S, Canadian Bass Anglers Federation and Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters.More by Grant Pentiricci