Freedom Tackle’s live action hybrid jigs have been modeled by a universal angling concept: to give anglers the freedom of choice to use preferred hooks and baits at any time. The minute the Zodiac jig and plastic hits the water, it will land upright in a perfect strike position, ready for smallmouths to gobble it up. My perfect jig is the one that gets bit the most.
Size: 1,300 acres
Lake Type: Mesotrophic
Maximum Depth: 50 feet
Avg. Depth Fished: 5 to 10 feet
Water Clarity: Light brown
Primary Fishery: Musky, Walleye, Smallmouth Bass
Areas of Focus: Sand and gravel bars, rock shoals, deep edges of spawning flats
Time of Day: Late Afternoon
Rod & Reel: 7ft 4in Quantum Superlite (med. heavy) Quantum Energy 30PTi spinning
Line: Cortland Camouflage 8lb.
Lure Used: Freedom Tackle Corporation Zodiac Jigs (1/4 oz.) with Strike King Coffee Tube
Jigs are designed to fall fast or slow, swim horizontally or vertically, and perform with specialized manners. As thousands of jigs have been created and reinvented by manufacturers, each and every one has called for specific techniques and specialized equipment.
Available in 1/16, ¼, 3/8 and ½ ounce sizes, the Zodiac is a revolutionary tool for power jigging and probing through the rocky terrain and complex lake contour inhabited by smallmouths. Utilizing an upright weight-forward head design, the jig always lands in an upright position, evading snags and inviting feeding fish. The progressive thinking behind Tamburro’s design is beautiful in its simplicity with lifelike 3D eyes, a sonic brass echo chamber, interchangeable hook features, and free range of motion.
Unlike conventional jigs that have been designed off of early prototypes from our Polynesian and European angling ancestors, Freedom Tackle’s live action hybrid jigs have been modeled by a universal angling concept: to give anglers the freedom of choice to use preferred hooks and baits at any time. The minute the Zodiac jig and plastic hits the water, it will land upright in a perfect strike position, ready for smallmouths to gobble it up. My perfect jig is the one that gets bit the most.
During an early May, 2014 outing in Wisconsin’s northwoods, the lakes were heating up by warmth with smallmouths waking up from winter slumber. As I focused on the sunlit main lake flats and rocky shoals, my power bouncing techniques with jig and Strike King Coffee Tube was getting viciously bit by giant drag-singing smallmouths. The explosive power I experienced from these fish will likely never again be replicated. Ever since that wonderful afternoon of fishing, I soon learned I only needed one specific jig to effectively catch fish like this for the remaining six months of my season. I finally found the perfect jig, at an ideal weight, complimented with my preferred hook style and baits of choice. Most of the smallmouth jigs I’ve ever used prior to Freedom Tackle Corporation’s Zodiac are now history.
Because of crayfish forage base, most of my favorite soft plastics for smallmouths are bottom presentations, best executed by jigs or bottom oriented rigs such as the Texas and Carolina rig. Like the jigs being fished with them, smallmouth plastics have experienced a boom themselves, but despite how technical some brands and styles have become, I prefer to keep my presentations simple with the time-tested favorites.
Tube jigs work in all types of smallmouth water, but certain tubes work better than others. For instance, the Strike King Coffee Tube accounted for more 20-plus inch smallmouths for me than any other bait in 2014. Luckily, I acquired several bags of my favorite colors (Magic Goby and Crazy Craw) in bulk prior to spring. Rigged on the ¼ oz. Zodiac with a LazerTrokar 2/0 EWG, this bait combination caught fish from May through October. No other specific bait or rigging combination caught more smallmouth bass in 2014 than this one. Perhaps it’s in the presentation, bait choice, or merely the angler knowing how to fish the entire package. Whatever the reasons that made this rig work as well as it did remain a mystery.