Jig and Minnow Walleyes | Best Jig Hook Shank Size

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Multi-species fishing guide Brad Hawthorne of Hawthorne’s Guide Service makes a living getting his clients on fish. And while artificial lures are a mainstay, a jig and minnow will always be a top method. To that end, Hawthorne takes a minute to discuss the importance of selecting the right jig size, specifically focusing on hook shank length. He teaches us when and how to use long and short shank hooks and how the right hook length equals more catching. This video is packed with practical advice for anglers looking to improve catch rates by mastering the art of hooking minnows.

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Hawthorne starts with the short shank jig, which is ideal for pitching small to medium-sized minnows. He prefers short shanks for their natural presentation and ability to hold bait securely. Hawthorne uses the skull hooking method when fishing short shank hooks. He demonstrates how to skull hook minnows, a technique that ensures minnow remains firmly attached cast after cast. This method is advantageous in situations requiring multiple precision casts, such as sharpshooting fish using forward-facing sonar.


Moving to long shank jigs, Hawthorne explains their suitability for larger minnows. These jigs are particularly effective for anglers experiencing short bites, as the extended shank offers better hook placement further back on the bait. In this scenario, Hawthorne most commonly uses the gill hooking method. He shows how to hook a minnow through the gills for a straight, natural presentation. This method is ideal when fish have more time to inspect the bait.