How to Rig Assist Hooks
With the evolution of slow pitch jigging, adding assist hooks has become a popular change people are making to their jigs. For some reason, many people have lost the trust they once had in the stock, out-of-the-package hooks that come provided on some jigs. And perhaps they have a point. I’ve lost a fish or two to bent or even broken hooks. That doesn’t necessarily mean all stock hooks can be presumed worthless, but there’s nothing wrong with adding your own twist on how your hooks are rigged.
Some of the fish we target on these jigs are big! Envision a 70-pound amberjack or a big ol’ cubera grabbing your iron. For these super-strong species, you definitely want to be able to pull hard without worrying whether your hook is going to fail. With that in mind, there are various ways to increase your success rate by adding an additional hook or two to your jig.
There are a couple ways to do this. With the increased popularity of assist hooks, we’re starting to see a number of companies selling these pre-rigged assist hooks separately in sets of two or four. But not every assist hook is created equal; finding the right hook for your jig is a matter of looking at options. Some are rigged with more robust lines than others. Also, some come on welded rings, while others use split rings. For most, this is a matter of preference, but it’s a good idea to make sure the ring you do use is strong enough to take a beating from the biggest fish you might encounter.
In some locales, the biggest versions of these jigs are also being used to target giant tuna. Jigs as big as 500 grams are becoming very popular worldwide — and for good reason. Big tuna love these big, flat fall and knife jigs. With such a big jig, it’s also common to see hooks rigged to both ends of the lure. It’s not a bad idea to have a hook on either end. This has been proven effective over the years as people increasingly use these large specialized lures more regularly.
To rig these assist hooks on your jig, many anglers will straight up remove the stock hooks entirely and replace them with the new specialized assist hooks. It is possible to go overboard on the number of hooks, though. Aside from the fact that too many hooks can affect the movement of the lure, there are also IGFA rules to consider.
The International Game Fish Association has specific bylaws regarding assist hooks in relation to line class and species records that include the number of hooks and limits how long the line from the ring to the hook can be. These rules are constantly evolving, so if IGFA compliance is a concern, it’s best to review the rules thoroughly before heading out to fish. Find these rules by going to the QR code above.
If you would like to see some of the latest and greatest in slow pitch jigs on the market today, you should definitely check out the jig selection at the FSF store. We have several sets available, with new ones being added regularly. All the FSF jigs also come pre-rigged with assist hooks! This will save you time, effort and a few painful hand jabs. fsfgear.com.