The past several years have provided me with an awakening of sorts. I’ve never really enjoyed fishing in deep water, so I made a conscious decision to become comfortable with it. This initially made for some long and rather unexciting days on the water but with each bite I became increasingly confident with a myriad of baits and lures.
Football jigs quickly became a major producer for me. Fast-forward to today and you’ll rarely see the front deck of my boat without a few rigged and ready to go. I’ve had a lot of time to experiment with different models, sizes and colors and I’ll tell you one thingâ€” finding a more well-rounded and effective jig than the Cumberland Pro Lures Football Jig has proven to be quite difficult.
This special jig has several noteworthy characteristics.
- Smaller hook
- Wire weed guard
- Outstanding skirt detail
- Durable head
Small, thin hook leads to a solid hookup ratio
When I first started fishing football jigs, I was having a tough time finding one with a suitable hook. I’d often set the hook into a fishâ€”or a brush pile that bit really hardâ€”and bend the hook with very little effort. I even had a few hooks bend while fighting a bass, resulting in a wasted opportunity and major frustration.
Since using the Cumberland Pro Lures Football Jig, I now understand the cause of my previous hook issuesâ€”the hooks were simply too big. Larger hooks give bass more leverage which can lead to bending, warping and, in a worst case scenario, even breaking.
This jig, however, is equipped with a smaller and thinner hook than most models. I’ve yet to bend a hook and I believe it has also helped my hookup ratio considerably.
- They eat itâ€” I primarily use football jigs when the bass are lethargic in the winter and summer months. When they’re not aggressively feeding, you’ll often run into the “swing and miss” issueâ€”they pick it up without getting the hook and you set the hook without even nicking them. I haven’t had that happen very often with this jig. The hook is hidden very well inside of the skirt, giving the jig a fairly compact profile. It seems as if the bass have no trouble sucking it into their mouths, even when they’re not on a major feed.
- Hook penetrationâ€” The large majority of your football jig bites occur at a sizable distance from the boat. You’re making long casts and covering lots of water, so hook penetration is critical. The Gamakatsu hook on this jig is made from relatively light wire, which allows for very easy penetration in regards to long-distance hooksets. It makes senseâ€”the points of lighter wire hooks have less surface area, making it much easier for them to puncture the mouth of a bass, regardless of line stretch. Thicker hooks require more force.
- They stay pinnedâ€” Because the smaller hook has very little opportunity to flex, I’ve noticed an excellent landing ratio with the Cumberland Pro Lures Football Jig. I haven’t watched ’em fight with this jig in slow-motion, but I can’t help but think the lack of flex plays a big role in getting more bass into the boat.
Wire weed guard promotes versatility
It’s easy to become so enamored with a football jig’s skirt, hook and head that you completely overlook its weed guardâ€”it’s certainly happened to me before. I’d buy a jig because it looks good and before I knew it, I’d be snagged on nearly every cast.
This jig has a unique wire weed guard that allows you to make quick adjustments throughout the day to match the cover and structure you’re targeting. I’ve been extremely impressed by how well the Cumberland Pro Lures Football Jig comes through any and all types of cover.
- Wider for gnarly coverâ€” When I’m fishing this jig around big rock or thick brush piles, I’ll actually bend the wire weed guard upwards and make it a bit wider than its original position. This gives the hook point added protection from common snag-inducing types of cover. It will, however, protect the hook from the bass’ mouth as well, so I perform a more aggressive hookset to counter the effects of the weed guard.
- Closer for sparse coverâ€” I’ve enjoyed a lot of success when using the Cumberland Pro Lures Football Jig as a search bait. When the bass won’t respond to a deep crankbait, this is always my fallback plan. If I’m dragging this jig across areas free of thick cover such as offshore humps, bars and points, I’ll actually bend the wire weed guard to make it sit closer to the hook point. This facilitates an excellent hookup ratio and makes those giant hooksets less necessary.
No, noâ€”get your mind out of the gutter. I think you’ll be very impressed by the excellent skirt detail on the Cumberland Pro Lures Football Jig. We’re all familiar with the routine colors such as green pumpkin and black and blue. Everyone makes ’em.
But the owner of Cumberland Pro Lures, Brian Wilson, has spent countless hours digging in creeks and studying the most natural crawfish colors. This constant research is quite evident when you take a quick look at the skirt colors he has createdâ€”most notably Naked Craw and Cumberland Craw.
You’ll quickly notice slight alterations and differences from the industry’s traditional color schemes and perhaps that explains my success with this jig in ultra-clear water. I haven’t asked the bass yet, but I’m willing to bet it’s a primary reason.
You also won’t have to tinker with the skirt often. You can catch several bass without the skirt strands becoming uneven or tearing, which is a big time and eventual money saver in my opinion.
The head will take some serious abuse
I get pretty frustrated when I pay a pretty penny for a jig and the head begins to chip and crack after a half-day of fishing. I honestly don’t know how much this affects its ability to catch a bass, but come onâ€”if you pay hard-earned money for something, it should last. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned.
Throughout my experience with the Cumberland Pro Lures Football Jig, I’ve noticed that its head handles abuse very well. See my photos? I’ve regularly used this same jig since June. Seriously.
I think you’ll really enjoy fishing with this jigâ€” perhaps even more when you realize its $2.49 price point. I’ve had a blast using it for the past year or so and it will definitely stay in my boat for the foreseeable future.