BoatUS ANGLER: Do It Yourself Department
by Capt. Steve Chaconas, BoatUS ANGLER Pro Staff
When BASSMASTER Elite Series pro Tommy Biffle reveals a new secret technique, the fishing world pays attention...and copies it! The Biffle Head jig introduced anglers to an entirely different technique that produces year round, at any depth, and in most conditions. The "secret" is the pivoting head that creates strike-producing action once the head contacts hard cover.
Other than buying one of Biffle's jigs or finding a knockoff, there's nothing in the tacklebox that will come close to replicating the fish catching action. But, you can create a similar rig with very few components.To be sure, the football Biffle head is unique as it is designed for bouncing off cover. It's the pivoting head that creates the action. The pivoting head concept can be recreated easily and in just a few seconds.
A quick trip to Lurecraft.com and you can get started. Get a variety of DuoLock snaps in a few sizes. Start with a number 3 size.One of the advantages to making your own is you can use your favorite hooks in any size and attach a weight suitable for the conditions.That's because the versatile Water Gremlin bullet-shaped split shot, the Bull Shot, can be affixed to the snap.
Use a wide gap style hook like the Mustad Ultra Point Mega Bite hook! Try some in red too! Attach the snap, making sure the snap is long enough to accommodate the Bull Shot size you want to use. Then squeeze the Bull Shot onto the Duo Lock snap with a pair of needle nose pliers. Make sure there is enough room for the hook eye to move freely and enough room on the line tie end to accept a knot!
Now the heavy Biffle jig can become a finesse presentation up to a heavy deep application. The advantage is in grass as the bullet shape comes through cleaner! It also comes through wood as well! Not quite as good as a football head for bottom bouncing off rocks, none-the-less my new "Bullet Bouncer" ricochets off cover to bring a variety of baits to life! The pivoting head creates undulating action on straight tail worms, craw worms, beaver style baits, and soft plastic jerkbaits. Combined with Mann's HardNose soft plastics, the Bullet Bouncer creates unique actions that elicit strikes from bass under most conditions.
No need to reinvent the tackle wheel. Biffle has the gear set up for this technique. Use a longer rod like the Biffle signature 6-foot, 10-inch Quantum Tour Tactical Heavy rod with a 7:1 gear ratio Quantum EXO reel. Use 12-16 pound test GAMMA Edge fluorocarbon line. This setup enables solid hooksets even around heavy cover. Since Biffle’s method involves heavier presentations, I had to develop a good tackle system for the Bullet Bouncer finesse modification. To finesse fish into taking the Bullet Bouncer use an EXO 25 spinning outfit with a 6'10" medium heavy rod. Here, I use 20-pound test Gamma Torque Braid with a 12-pound test Edge fluorocarbon leader.
Make long casts. Slowly swim the rig along the bottom with the rod at a slight angle from straight toward the bait. This weedless rig bounces off cover and flutters. That's when bites occur. The longer stiffer rods allow for sweep sets. When the bait loses contact with cover, it's most likely a bite - set the hook!
As with all techniques, vary presentations and rigging to suit the conditions. Carry different sizes of the Bullshot and snaps to create rigs on the boat! I have also used this rig for shaky head style presentations, leaving the bait in one spot and shaking to add even more action to a variety of soft plastics!