Anyone who has ever tried to skip a bait can attest to this simple fact: It's an endeavor that can cause you to lose your religion. There are only a few things more frustrating in fishing than getting yourself in position to make the perfect skip, loading up your bait in the backcast, starting it on a trajectory of perfection and then breaking the majestic silence with the loudest gong you've ever heard as your bait careens into a pontoon. You bite your tongue and kick the trolling motor on high.
So having a bait you can skip well is extremely important. But even when skipping docks, you won't necessarily need to skip your bait on every cast. There will be rock piles, laydowns and brushpiles along the way. Sure, you can swap rods back and forth as you go between the docks, but it's a real treat when you find a bait you can do all of the above with. Something you can skip well that also comes through cover clean. And that's what you'll find with the Nichols Lures Skipper Jig.
Proven to be a better bait for the job
I review a lot of products. And I always make it a point to spend enough time using each product to be able to give an informed opinion. That commitment though can make the overall attempt to review a product a week a little daunting. But the sweet little wins in this game come when I find a product that has slipped through the cracks somehow. A bait that isn't new, but somehow the other writers and myself here at Wired2fish have overlooked reviewing it for awhile. It doesn't happen often, but that's the case with the Nichols Skipper Jig. I started using it a couple years ago and it quickly nabbed a spot in my arsenal that had previously been occupied by inferior baits.
There have been jigs I've found along the way that come through cover really well and honestly skip decent, but rarely one that would do both. And even in the best case, the skipping part was always the limiting factor. Those jigs were a chore to skip. This thing is a delight. I don't know exactly what the difference maker is, and I'm sure Nichol's wouldn't want us to be able to figure that exact design characteristic out anyway. But whatever it is about this bait, it skips really, really well with minimal effort.
So we've found a bait that skips well. Still, there are other things that a good jig has to have too. Probably the most important is a good hook. The Skipper Jig has that, with a solid 5/0 hook incorporated into the design. This hook is bold, but not too big. What I mean by that is that it's strong enough to hold up under close quarters combat while wrestling a big one from under a dock or bush. But it's also light enough to penetrate a fish on a longer cast.
What you don't want to do is have a super big and bold hook that limits the jig's capabilities. For instance, if I'm flipping reeds in Florida or on the Cal Delta with a jig, I want it to have the biggest hook available because I'd be using an extra-heavy action rod and 65-pound braid. But I'm not planning to cast that jig at all. With a skipping jig, you want a hook that can get the job done from 10 feet away as well as a 100. Pair this setup with a 7-foot heavy-action rod and 17-pound test fluorocarbon and that's what you have with the hook in the Skipper Jig.
There are a few other key components to building a quality jig. Nichols does a good job checking each of these off as well. For starters, you need a good trailer keeper. Nichols has a unique one. They incorporate a hole into their trailer keepers where a toothpick can be inserted and then cut off to ensure an even more reliable connection between your soft plastic and their baits. Though the keeper alone does really well even without the added toothpick.
Then comes the weed guard and skirt. I prefer for both of these to come as what I consider to be "full". In other words, I want a lot of material to work with. Some companies now offer jigs with really light weed guards and short or thinned skirts. I prefer for the jig to come with a full skirt and a fairly thick weed guard.
There will be some instances where I fish it as is straight out of the pack. And then others where I want to thin the weed guard a bit, if I know I'm going to be casting it a lot for instance. And the same with the skirt. There will be sometimes where I want to leave the skirt full, in the prespawn and post-spawn for examples. Where in the dead of winter I'd rather trim the skirt down and offer a more finesse look. You can always take material away a lot easier than you can add some. Nichols does a good job giving you enough to work with.
The Nichols Skipper Jig is an extremely effective workhorse that stays rigged up on one of my rods in almost every tournament I fish. It's the easiest bait I've ever tried to skip and has an effective and well positioned hook that translates into a good hookup ratio. Converting bites into bass in the boat is the main objective and this jig is up for the task.
With the Skipper Jig, Nichols gives you enough material to modify the bait however you wish but not so much that you can't just fish it straight out of the pack. An innovative and extremely effective trailer keeper would be the main focus of other baits, but with the Skipper Jig it's just icing on an already delicious cake. This bait really is one of my favorites over the last couple years and one I'd highly recommend if you're having a hard time skipping. With a little practice, this bait will help elevate your game to a whole new level.