When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Fish Shaky Heads

It seems every experienced angler has an opinion of a shaky head.  Some anglers hate them and say they cannot make themselves fish that slow.  Other anglers, though, know the secret.  They understand the circumstance that call for a shaky head, and they, often times, are able to get a limit of fish into the boat when other anglers are struggling to get a bite.

There are two basic kinds of shaky heads.  One has a screw-lock, where the bait is screwed on the threads near the jig head and then threaded on to the hook.  With the other type of shaky head, the bait is threaded on the hook itself all the way down to the jig head where a small keeper helps to hold the head of the bait.  Then the hook is then pushed almost through the bait to keep it weedless.   The best baits to use on either variety of shaky head is a thin worm.  The size can be four inches or longer, depending on what the fish seem to want in any given situation.

The screw-lock type of shaky heads can also be used for thin swim baits such as the Yamamoto Swim Senko or other, smaller swim baits.  These type of shaky head jigs can be made from the normal ball shaky head jig by threading an after market Screw-Lok through the eye of the jig where the line is tied.  There are, though, certain companies who make their shaky heads exactly like this so they can be used in this fashion as well.  In this way, it effectively becomes a smaller front-weighted swim bait hook.  The swim bait, when on the bottom, will them mimic a bait fish foraging for food.

This is definitely a finesse presentation, so light line is essential.  6- to 8-lb test mono or fluorocarbon is best.  These lines have less of a profile in the water, and when you’re targeting finicky fish, or you’re fishing in very clear water, light line is imperative.  A medium heavy spinning rod is the best choice for using a shaky head.  It will help the angler to feel the subtle strikes that are the norm when fishing with a shaky head.  This set up will help you to shake the line, not the bait.  To be most effective when shaking a shaky head, the angler wants to make the bait wiggle rather than move the jig head.    Also, it is best to use a heavy enough jig head to keep the bait on the bottom.  This will depend on the depth the angler wishes to fish.

While the shaky head is meant to be shaken, hence the name, there are other ways it can be fished.  Obviously, an angler can swim it, as in the case of using a swim bait, but a worm will work for this application as well.  Try to keep contact with the bottom all the time, however.  This may mean a slower retrieve, or using a heavier weight, but bottom contact should be the goal.  Using a worm that has good water displacement will bring the best results.

An angler can also drag a shaky head, or hop it along the bottom.  While these two techniques seem similar, they are really two separate techniques.  Sometimes, dragging the shaky head slowly along the bottom is just what is needed to entice those inactive fish.    When hopping the bait, it’s important to remember not to hop it too high.  The point is to imitate a crayfish hopping along the bottom.  The clicking of the jig head on the bottom also resembles the clicking of the pincers of the crayfish as it moves along the bottom.  It is important to try to make this look as realistic as possible.

In all, anglers who learn to use the shaky head properly may be able to catch more fish, even on the coldest days.  This technique is a great way to get inactive fish to bite.  While others are throwing big jigs and creature baits around the lake wondering where all of the fish have gone, the finesse angler can pull out his or her shaky head, attach it to their favourite soft plastic fishing lures, and load up the boat. This is definitely a technique that can help an angler to catch more fish.

Guest post courtesy of Ultimate Fishing

Ultimate Fishing is a Melbourne, Australia based company providing low cost fishing lures, tackle and advice to customers worldwide.