Z-Man Rewrites Jig and Soft Plastic Rules with New Designs
At its core, a jig is merely a weighted hook. But as you explore and breach the outer limits of jig design—matching specialized hooks with alternative weight placements, shapes, and configurations—you can find yourself in some rather rarified air . . . or water.
An intriguing next-level jig design, Z-Man’s new Pro BulletZ exhibits the all-terrain snag-resistance and efficiency of a Texas rig—bullet weight, hook and bait-keeper—within a single ElaZtech delivery tool. Together, the jig and softbait merge into one unified creature and an undeniable fish-catching system. Cementing Z-Man’s status as cutting-edge jig crafters once more, the Pro BulletZ features a hybrid weedless jighead design that showcases the supernatural abilities of ElaZtech soft plastics by intent. At first glance, the Pro BulletZ looks like a puzzle with an impossible solution: How to affix a bait to its weighted collar without ripping it?
“That’s simply not an issue with ElaZtech baits and this amazing jig design,” notes Z-Man pro and MLF Tour angler Stephen Browning, who’s been simultaneously experimenting with a prototype ElaZtech crawfish imitation that perfectly matches the weedless jig.
“Slide this, or any other matching ElaZtech bait onto the shank, push it past the weighted barb, and snug it up against the bullet head, and it’s there to stay,” Browning says. “No question, the Pro BulletZ fits tear-resistant ElaZtech like a glove. Its specialized bullet head and weighted shank produce a natural horizontal fall with any bait.”
An extreme combination of a weedless Texas rig and a weighted wide gap hook in one—no need for extra weights, pegs or hooks— the Pro BulletZ Jighead effortlessly slides through all types of heavy grass and wood-cover. A molded bait keeper serves as an extension of the streamlined belly weight. Custom 3/0 or 4/0 heavy duty VMC extra-wide gap hooks offer ample bite for bulkier worms, craws, and swimbaits like the DieZel MinnowZ.
“The jig’s streamlined, pointed nose slides cleanly through grass, while its belly weight keels swimbaits perfectly upright on the retrieve,” notes Browning. “I’m especially excited, though, about using a Pro BulletZ with the Pro CrawZ—the new crayfish bait I’ve been testing.
“I’ve had a lot of fun fishing this new bait before everyone else,” he admits. “The Pro CrawZ is a perfect match for the Pro BulletZ Jighead. It’s been just tremendous for flippin’ in the grass and around docks. But the bulked-up craw-bait has also been money on a tungsten punch-rig, and as a jig (CrossEyeZ Flipping Jig) trailer for flipping brush and timber. The first and last thing you notice is the bait’s big buoyant claws. The claws make it easy for bass to find the bait.”
Browning further praises Z-Man’s analytical approach to matching each ElaZtech bait with its own customized hook and jig system. “Anglers continually struggle to find the right hook for their favorite baits,” he admits. “Z-Man solves this all-too-common dilemma by giving us turnkey bass-catching systems. It makes the whole process of bait selection and rigging so much easier—and more efficient. If I can catch 15 bass on one bait without having to reach into the tackle bag and rerig, that’s a huge time saver that quickly translates to 20 bass and more.
“The past several years, I’ve become a huge fan of flipping with ElaZtech baits,” Browning asserts. “The baits’ buoyancy means they stand up and won’t fall over on you; they look so natural in the water.
“Two other things to remember with the Pro BulletZ / Pro CrawZ combo: One, pay attention to the crayfish in your region and match the hatch with the right bait color. Two, by changing weights, say from a ¼- to a 1/8-ounce, you can really up your bites because you’re immediately changing rate-of-fall—an often overlooked aspect of flipping and jig fishing.”
Arriving in stores in July, the new Pro BulletZ Weedless Jigheads—available in 1/8-, 3/16-, ¼- and 3/8-ounce sizes— feature custom size 3/0 and 4/0 heavy duty VMC extra wide gap hooks. A molded “keeper” holds ElaZtech softbaits securely, and allows for quick, easy rigging. Its snag-free, bullet shaped jighead marries seamlessly with popular ElaZtech baits, including the new Pro CrawZ. MSRP $6.49 per 3-pack.
Composed of Z-Man’s durable, buoyant, non-toxic ElaZtech material, the 3.5-inch Pro CrawZ features ultra-realistic crayfish anatomy, including oversized claws, beady eyes, and tucked-under tail. The upsized Pro CrawZ grants the demands of numerous anglers who asked for a larger, bulkier version of the mega-popular, finesse-sized TRD CrawZ. It is offered in 10 color patterns, including Canada Craw, Hot Craw, and The Deal. The Z-Man Pro CrawZ lands at outdoor retailers in November. MSRP $4.49 per 3-pack. For more information, visit zmanfishing.com.