The Handbook of Flappin' Hog Tactics
Written by Russ Bassdozer
How to Fish Flappin' Hogs on Weedless Skirted Jigs
In this chapter, let's dive into using Yamamoto's Flappin' Hogs on weedless skirted jigs.
We'll be using the Flappin' Hogs as trailers with the Yamamoto 11-series skirts
on jig weedless jig heads. The color codes for particularly good pairings of
skirts and trailers will be referenced throughout the article.
New color #318 ~ Green pumpkin with red flake.
The three most popular and productive Yamamoto colors worldwide are: watermelon
pepper #194 (left); green pumpkin pepper #297 (2nd left); and watermelon pepper
with red #208 (2nd from right). Now, green pumpkin with red #335 (far right) has
been added to the Yamamoto product line for the first time as a Flappin' Hog color.
New color #335 ~ Blue with blue flake. The Flappin' Hog is partially submerged here. It's perched on a brush limb like an emergent larval insect crawling out of the water.
New color #335 Flappin' Hog underwater. A silicone rubber half-skirt (also called a "finesse" skirt) is shown here. You can see how the skirt expands and flares out when paused.
Looking closely at this underwater shot shows how the strands on a Yamamoto soft plastic skirt (color #221) flare straight out when paused under water. Photo also demonstrates the many different "grab points" or multiple handles by which bass can grab a piece of the Flappin' Hog. Those grab points can often be a key to Flappin' Hog fishing success.
Color #208 (watermelon pepper with red) skirt and #208 trailer.
Color #208 skirt and #051 (black with red) trailer
The Flappin' Hog was originally designed for the Japanese market. I'm not sure what action the Japanese designer was aiming to achieve with all the many different appendages. Their are eight attachments to the main body - two balls, two flat shovel scoop type arms, two bean-shaped ridged pods and two flat, floppy treaded bunny ear-shaped tails.
Color #051 Flappin Hog and #208 skirt rest on lake bottom, looking like a plump crawdad.
Underwater shot is a little hazy but clearly demonstrates how Yamamoto's 11-series skirt puffs out when paused.
This color #021 Flappin Hog with #021 skirt looks like a dark critter crawling cautiously through flooded brush.
There are plenty of appendages for a bass to grab in order to yank this critter around and injure it before eating it.
A silicone rubber half-skirt is shown above with color #301 Flappin' Hog. I favor using Yamamoto's 11-series skirts or silicone rubber half-skirts ("finesse" skirts) rather than full-sized silicone skirts. Why? Because the shorter skirts expose more of the grab handles.
Who knows what the Flappin' Hog imitates, but bass love to take a piece of it, and that's their downfall. Once they get a small piece, they can't help but come back for the rest of it. They can't eat just one piece and not want to eat the whole thing. Color #221 skirt shown with #301 Flappin' Hog.
Flappin' Hog on a flipping jig head with an 11-series skirt as it swims through shallow weedy brush cover.
Flappin' Hog perched quietly on a limb like some kind of aquatic critter barely above water.
Yamamoto's 11-series skirts. Yamamoto's 11-series skirts are long-lasting and durable. You can often expect the same Yamamoto skirt to last a long time - all day or even all weekend. Occasionally, a fish will tear a skirt apart, but that's unusual. A bag of 20 Yamamoto skirts can last you a long, long time.
Flipping jig dressed with color #297 skirt and #213 Flappin Hog.
Flipping jig dressed with color #221 skirt and #194 Flappin Hog.
Early morning flipping bite. Early in the morning, bigger bass can often be found up shallow on top of weedy brush points and brush-lined rocky reefs. Flipping jigs with heavy gear (in this case, 16 pound test gray Sugoi fluorocarbon line) is often preferred to battle bass in thick, shallow cover. A pointy nosed jig (such as in photo above) comes through weedy brush better than other jig shapes. The flipping jig bite can often deteriorate after the early morning hours. As the sun rises in the eastern sky, bigger bass often move to deeper water - or bury deeper into inaccessible sections of cover. Depending on season, and for sake of illustration only, let's say the early morning flipping bite has maximum potential between first light through 8 o'clock. This is the "time box" when you may do best flipping jigs shallow. Time-boxing is a way of segmenting a fishing day into short sessions and fishing each "time box" separately.
On two consecutive casts, two decent bass each pulled a flapper off this flipping jig in shallow weedy brush, then engulfed it entirely on the second hit. The same flipping jig head and skirt lasted all weekend. However, the Flappin' Hogs were torn to pieces one after one (more on that later) and a good number of Flappin' Hog's were used. The way this translates is that the more Flappin' Hogs that get torn up, the more bass you'll have caught.
Mid-morning deepwater jig bite. As the early flipping bite fizzles to an end, the deepwater jig bite turns on and often peaks during mid-morning hours. Getting back to our "time boxing" segments, depending on season, and for sake of illustration only, let's say the mid-morning deepwater jig bite has maximum potential from 9 through 11 o'clock. This is the "time box" when you may do best concentrating on a deepwater jig bite.
The jig shown above first caught a smallmouth which ripped off the upper flapper and then came back for the rest of the jig. On the next cast, it caught a largemouth which ripped off the upper "bunny ear" first, and then came back for the rest of the jig. The Flappin' Hog trailer was gladly replaced with a fresh one after it caught two bass on two casts. However, the same weedless jig head and the same skirt were used an entire weekend with 14 pound test gray Sugoi fluorocarbon line on deepwater structure anywhere from 10 to 30 feet deep, including rocky points, shelves, ledges and gullies. Deepwater bass were mainly 1 to 2 pound smallmouth or largemouth, with an occasional 3-pounder. A point to be made here is that the skirts rarely get torn. Skirts really don't need to be replaced often.
Who knows what this jig concoction imitates? Bass often only need a vague impression of something alive, not detailed realism. Shown above is #176 color skirt and #214 Flappin' Hog on brown weedless Arkey jig head under water.
Aerial photo shows a series of rugged rocky brush-filled points. Early in the morning, the flipping jig bite can be on in the shallow brush itself. As the morning wears on, the better fish will often drop back over the ledges and deep sides of the points where the mid-morning deep water jig bite will peak before noon. For sake of illustration, the red and yellow x's are shown further apart than the actual difference in location as bass move from shallow cover to nearby drop-offs.
Picture above and below shows a few of the rocky brush-filled points marked by x's on the aerial photo above.
Almost 200 largemouth and smallmouth were landed on skirted jigs with Flappin' Hogs during two mornings of flipping these brush points from first light to around 8 o'clock, after which the better bass moved deeper onto the outlying ledges and drop-offs nearby. Deep water jig action peaked around 10:30 each morning. The vast majority of the 200 fish were not hooked on their first strike. Most tore one or more pieces off each attractant-soaked Flappin' Hog first. They then struck repeatedly, ripping off parts until hooked solidly.
As the clock ticks past noon, and the mid-morning deep jig bite ends, you'll need to add other different time box segments to your day - such as fishing spinnerbaits if it is windy, fishing dropshot or shaking finesse worms if it's calm, and so on. Each time box is a short session intended to focus on and maximize your odds of scoring in a particular spot at a particular time of day with a particular tactic.
Early afternoon jig bite. Hey! What's that swimbait doing in a Flappin' Hog story? It's just to follow through on the time box concept, because the third segment of the day switched to a different kind of deepwater jig bite, using Yamamoto's swimbait on a 1/2 oz jig head on 8 pound test spinning tackle.
The three discrete segments of the day or time boxes that were successful included:
- The early morning flipping jig bite with a 1/2 oz jig on heavy tackle in brushy shallow cover.
- The mid-morning deep jig bite with a 1/2 oz jig on medium/heavy tackle as fish moved off to deep ledges and drop-offs adjacent to the shallow brush areas.
- The early afternoon jig bite used a third kind of 1/2 oz jig on medium/light spinning gear in steep areas where bass were waiting for deep-swimming shad schools to come by. The early afternoon time box potential peaked around 2 o'clock each day, and another 25 or 30 bass a day were landed on the swimbait during this timebox.
Segmenting a day into time boxes sounds complex, but timeboxing actually reduces and simplifies choices while maximizing potential to score during targeted short sessions.
X marks the spot! These are the kind of steeper spots targeted during the early afternoon swimbait time box. Most shad never make it past the hordes of bass that gang up waiting to eat them on these outer points marked by x's. Consequently, the inner stretches of the cove at top and the inner parts of the big lower bay hold few bass, except during the spring spawning season. There's just not much food that makes it that far back during the rest of the year.
On their way into this side cove, there isn't anywhere for bass to easily pen incoming shad until they reach the steep points on the left side. Very few shad ever make it into the very back of the left side. Although bass are up in the shallow back of the left side to spawn in spring, most bass will tend to hang off the steep points in summer. Very few shad ever make it to the right side of the cove, and relatively few bass are caught on the right side of this cove.
If you're looking for a bait that will last long, this isn't it. Fish will make fast work of a Flappin' Hog. If you're looking for a bait that has the ability to catch fish and lots of them, look no further. One of the keys to success with Yamamoto's Flappin' Hog is that especially smaller bass in the 1 to 3 pound range can easily tear off one of the eight appendages. When they get a taste, they come back for the kill, engulfing the entire jig. The eight Flappin' Hogs shown above are a small sample of the Flappin' Hogs used up on a single fishing trip. They're missing 21 body pieces. Each missing piece represents a bass that tasted the bait on the first hit, and every one came back to crush it based on that first taste. This is one of the true keys to Flappin' Hog success - the expendable taste-test pieces let a bass determine that yes, this seems like food, it's a critter the bass has just injured, and therefore good to eat, injured and easy to capture.
It really doesn't matter to the next bass whether a few parts have been pulled off already. The Flappin Hog has 8 expendable pieces. It's like a piscatorial pizza pie with 8 slices. They'll all be pulled apart and eaten one by one.
Color #221 skirt and #330 Flappin Hog swimming under water. (Same jig shown dry in next photo.)
Color #221 skirts match swell with color #330 Flappin Hogs. It's hard to gauge hook thickness from a photo, but both these hooks are heavy duty. It requires a stout line and heavy action rod to set such heavy hooks.
This heavy jig is designed for deep water. Since the hook is heavy wire, a heavy rod and line are required in order to set it. With a lighter rod or lighter line, you will not be able to set a heavy hook - or you may fight fish halfway back to the boat, and they'll just come off because the hook was never set. Color #176 skirt and color #214 Flappin' Hog make a great pair!
Also a deepwater jig, but this one has a medium wire hook (hard to gauge hook wire in photo) and more flexible fiberguard matches perfectly with medium/heavy rod and 12 to 14 pound test Sugoi fluorocarbon line.
Jigs having medium wire hooks and more flexible fiberguards also work fine with stout spinning tackle like the medium action Yamamoto spinning rod shown here with 20 pound braid and 12 pound test Sugoi fluorocarbon leader. Keep in mind, spinning tackle really isn't suitable for flipping jigs or for any jigs with heavy wire hooks because you really won't be able to set a heavy wire hook every time with spinning gear. Too many fish will simply not get hooked or just come undone before they're landed if you use too heavy a hook with spinning tackle. Stick to medium wire (yet still strong) hooks (like shown in photo above) with spinning gear. Half-length "finesse" silicone skirt in photo above let's Flappin' Hog take center stage as the main strike target.
I like to keep Flappin' Hogs and skirts in their original bags. This way, it is easy for me to add a pea-sized glob of MegaStrike gel or a few drops of Yamamoto's liquid fish attractant or Kick'n Bass into each fresh bag of Flappin' Hogs when first I open it. I do not add fish attractant to the skirts. Enough attractant gets on the Flappin' Hog alone.
This hot time of year, the MegaStrike gel will liquefy. I do not know whether you can see the liquefied MegaStrike remaining in this half-used bag of Flappin' Hogs above. However, the attractant is in there. You don't need to put in much at all. A pea-sized glob or just a few drops. It will quickly work itself all over all the baits in a bag. It will give them a lifelike sheen coating which will disperse, causing a visible oily and olfactory-detectable "chum" slick in the water column and on the surface above the bait. If any baits had gotten kinked or bent while stored in the bag, the oil helps relax and unkink the baits. With heat from the sun beating down on the bags on the boat deck, it won't be long before the oils and sun's heat help restore all baits back to their originally-molded perfect shapes without kinks and bends.
There's a lot of speculation whether fish attractants do or do not work as advertised. They do. Especially with soft baits. I first began to use fish attractants in the early eighties. Dr. Juice was the first attractant I tried, soon to be followed by Fish Formula and a host of other attractants. After 25 years of experience, I can tell you they work, especially with soft baits. Some of the best attractants today are Gary Yamamoto's own fish attractant, Kick'n Bass and MegaStrike (shown above). I like the ease of MegaStrike's gel tube because it can be applied and stored with less mess. Squeezable bottles of non-gel liquid with spout type nozzles make more mess on you, the boat, and in storage. With MegaStrike's gel tube, there is still a mess, just less. Why put up with the mess? Because soft baits with attractant catch more bass than without. Twenty-five years of fishing with and without attractant have proven this to me beyond any doubt. If you don't want the mess (on you, your boat, your lunch, your rods, reels, everything you touch, etc.), that's understandable. Also understand that if you're not using an attractant with soft baits, you are not catching all the bass you could.
Bass hit jigs different ways. Some say that bass engulf jigs in their entirety as the jig falls, and that may be true. Swimming jigs along steadily, however, many times bass will nip and tug at the tail tips to begin with, and when a jig is at rest laying on bottom, bass often grab the tip of a trailer and yank it rather than engulfing the entire jig. If a bass nips and tugs at a swimming jig or if it grabs and yanks on a resting jig, if there is no attractant or if there is no expendable part that comes off in the fish's mouth, then the chances the fish will wheel around and strike again are iffy at best. Most likely, you will not get a second strike. At least that's what my research proves. On the other hand, when an attractant-coated part of a Flappin' Hog gets sacrificed to a hungry fish, it convinces the fish it's good to eat and has just been injured. It's almost certain you'll be struck again as the fish comes back to finish the job. All you need to do at that point is get prepared to set the hook. And that's the beauty behind the Flappin' Hog coated in attractant and fished on a jig dressed with a short skirt.
How to Trim a Weedless Jig
Many moons ago, I cut the fiberguards off jigs entirely. I fished jigs with fully-exposed hooks in the heaviest cover imaginable. This was in order to teach myself the hard way how to fish jigs in heavy cover. I reasoned that if I could master how to get an exposed hook jig into thick cover (the easy part) and out (not so easy), then it would be a cinch when I resumed using a fiberguard.
Without any fiberguard, you need to land your cast precisely where you want it, often in the thickest part of the cover, or the exact spot you want to work it. In dense weeds, you would need to land right in a hat-sized hole in the weeds, for example. Once it hits the water, you really cannot move it at all. Just let it sink and wait for what seems like forever without moving it at all. Fish will often pick it up, even after a long, long time without moving it. If that doesn't happen, just shake the line, quivering the jig without moving it forward. After shaking and quivering the line for about ten seconds, wait for another long, long time, which is when the hit will come. I call this the "shake and bake" tactic. Repeat shaking and baking about four or five times. All the while, the jig hasn't moved an inch. You shake the line, not the jig. When you finally do feel a need to move the jig forward, do it ever-so-slowly, hardly moving at all, until it bumps some obstacle - a rock, wood, weed edge or whatever. Now, just keep backing off and bumping the object, back off and bump, back off and bump several times, then wait a long time without moving the jig. I refer to this as "knocking on the door." Repeat knocking on the door, but make sure to pause. The bumps calls fish over to see who's at the door, and when you pause, they answer by hitting your jig. Even if the jig snags onto an object, never mind. Just shake it patiently and attractively while it's snagged. Always make painstakingly long pauses in between the short bouts of shaking. When you pause, fish will pull the snagged jig off whatever it's stuck on.
It took me two seasons to get good at it, but that's how I learned to fish jigs in heavy cover with fully-exposed hooks. The same applies to jigs with fiberguards, except they snag less.
In case you do not want to learn the way I did, I offer you the tips below that tell you how to trim a fiberguard to best protect a jig hook from snags. Why do you need to trim a fiberguard at all? Too full a fiberguard may block the strike, impede the jig's way into the mouth, and resist your hook set. So trimming the fiberguard (while still preventing snags) reduces these potential problems.
Tools Required to Trim Jigs. A knife blade and scissors are ideally required tools. A Leatherman Wave multi-tool conveniently includes both.
Step One. With the pocket knife blade, carefully and gently rock the base of the blade against the fibers, right where the fibers are molded into the jig head. There's no need to actually cut or apply force. Just gently and carefully rock or wiggle the blade against the fibers a few times. How many fibers you cut off depends on two things: 1) the cover you'll be fishing, and 2) the rod, reel and line you use. In light cover and/or with a light rod and line, cut off more. In heavy cover and/or with a heavy rod and line, cut off less.
In open water with no obstructions swimming a jig above the bottom, there's no need for a fiberguard and it can be cut off entirely. In light cover, often as few as 7 or 8 fibers are all you need. It goes against logic to buy a jig with a bushy fiberguard and then cut off all or most of it, but that can be your best option in open water or light cover.
To begin with, it is better to cut off too few rather than too many. You can always trim a couple more later. Especially if you are not hooking a high percentage of fish, your fiberguard may still be a little too thick. So you may want to trim a couple more fibers off. It's a trade-off between better hooksets (fewer fibers) and better snag-resistance (more fibers).
Step Two. About 20 of the approximately 40 fibers have been cut off flush with the jig head. Never pluck the fibers out. Plucking leaves a hole which will cause the remaining fibers to loosen and fall out. By keeping the "roots" intact as shown above, the remaining fibers cannot easily loosen.
Step Three. Clip the remaining fibers short with the scissors.
Step Four. How short to clip the fibers depends upon how heavy or light the cover you will be fishing. That's really the key to trimming a jig - where you will be using it. You usually do not want the fibers to be shorter than just touching the hook point, as shown here. In some cases however, especially in soft grass that can stick to a jig, I leave the fibers a little longer than shown above.
Step Five. Half the fibers have been cut off at the base, and the remaining half trimmed to barely above the hook point. However, a fiberguard bundled directly in front of the hook point as shown offers poor snag protection from the sides. There are still further steps to complete.
Step Six. Most snags don't happen directly straight up in front of the hook point. Most snags happen from the sides of the hook point. So you need to fan the fibers out to the sides, forming a one inch wide shield of protection for the hook point.
Step Seven. Press a finger straight down the center in front of the hook point, and gently part the fanned-out fibers into two halves. This forms a vee or two bundles of snag protection, one to the left and the other to the right of the hook point.
View from Behind. Shows how fibers fan, forming snag shield to guard hook point from the sides.
Before and After. Untrimmed jig on left as it comes out of the package. Fibers have been thinned out, clipped short, fanned out and vee'd to the sides on jig at right.
I've been trimming jigs this same way over twenty-five years. It's not that I'm set in my ways. I have heard of and tried other ways to trim jigs, but keep coming back to the steps above because they work for me. Over time, what has changed is the availability of lighter and varying size fiberguards. Years ago, there was really only one size fiberguard (or so it seemed) - extra full and extra long with extra thick fibers. Today, there are light (.018), medium (.021) and heavy (.024) action fibers, base sizes (of the entire bundle) in 1/64" increments from 1/16" through 5/32" (which determines fiber count), and from 1-3/8" to 1-7/8" lengths available. So jigs today can come off the shelf with fairly different fiberguards. Nevertheless, finding a jig that needs no trimming is not common. It's like finding a pair of fine dress slacks that fit perfectly off the rack without needing to be tailored. If the pants fit you, they may not fit other customers as good. So, good pants are often made long and unhemmed so everyone may tailor them. Likewise, good jigs are often left a little too full and a little too long. It's intended that you tailor them to fit your needs perfectly. The way I trim all jigs (if they need trimming) is as above.
Finesse Versus Power Jigs. Shown above are two Arkey style jigs out of the same mold. In font is a "power" jig with a heavy hook and heavy fiberguard requiring heavy rod and line to set this hook. In back is a "finesse" version with thinner (yet still strong) hook and more flexible fiberguard. The finesse jig has softer 1-3/4" long, .018 light action fibers in a 5/32" base. The power jig has stiffer 1-1/2" long, .021 medium action fibers in a 9/64" base. Both need to be trimmed in most fishing situations. How much to trim depends on where you will use them, and with what strength rod, reel and line.
The power jig is molded and painted with a metal pin temporarily in place of the fiberguard. Then the pin is pulled and the fiberguard is glued in. The finesse jig is molded and painted with the fiberguard in place, which seats the fiberguard a little more securely. In either case, however, you can expect a small percentage of fiberguards to pop out from handling them, from fish or hard use. Sometimes a fiberguard will come lose during the trimming process. This is not a mistake or badly-made fiberguard. It's just their nature. Just like an egg is fragile, that doesn't mean it's a defect if one's shell gets broken in the egg carton. It's just the way eggs (and fiberguards) are made. Point is, fiberguards may loosen. Don't pull or tug on the fiberguard more than you have to.
There aren't but 9-10 strands left in the fiberguard on this finesse jig - and that proved just perfect!
How to Fish Flappin' Hogs on Carolina Mojo Rigs
With the Carolina Mojo rig, you are adding weight to fish deeper than a weightless bait can go - but in a way that preserves some freedom of weightless movement. With the Carolina Mojo rig, a short leader is used, and that let's the bait act independent from the sinker for short flurries of weightless movement that fish find attractive. Please enjoy!
Steps to make the Carolina Mojo rig shown above are:
- Thread the sinker on the line
- Thread the bright bead on the line
- Thread the rattle strap on the line
- Tie on the swivel
- Tie a foot long leader to the swivel
- Tie the hook on
- Attach the bait
- Coat all the above with attractant
Now you're rigged and ready to go Carolina Mojo fishing with Flappin' Hogs! Most articles you read in fishing magazines prescribe a two foot or longer leader, but I can't remember the last time I used a leader longer than one foot. There's no magic or reason behind using a one foot leader, except it's easier to cast than longer leaders - and it flat out catches fish! Give it a try and see for yourself.
Over 30 bass like this handsome patina-flecked smallmouth hit Flappin' Hogs on Carolina Mojo rigs in 20-25 feet of water one recent Saturday morning.
Fish attractant is first squeezed (MegasStrike gel tube) or dripped (either Yamamoto's own attractant or Kick'n Bass liquid bottle) into each brand new bag of Flappin' Hogs when the bag is first cracked open. Just a small glob or a few drops are necessary. Next, with your fingers from outside the bag, mush the baits around inside so they all get evenly coated with attractant. Whenever you put a fresh bait on the hook, drop the entire rest of the rigging (sinker, bead, rattle, swivel and leader) into the bag and smoosh it all around in there so the entire rig gets lightly coated with the attractant. The more attractant you can lower down with the bait and all over the entire rigging, the more fish you stand to attract.
A few more details on some of the components above:
- Rattle Straps. Two wavy rubber arms and three steel balls are inside each hard plastic rattle chamber. The hard plastic chambers hitting hard bottom make at least as much noise as the steel rattles inside. Of course, the heavy Carolina Mojo sinker itself makes quite a cacophony bashing across the bottom too. After a morning of fishing, the sinker will look like someone chafed it with coarse sandpaper. Still, the in-line and thin shape of a Mojo sinker is remarkably snagless on rough bottom.
- Brightly-colored plastic beads (ten millimeter size) are part of the rig's attraction, not only to bass, but small sunfish, perch and other baitfish are always pecking at the beads like barnyard hens on a junebug. These incessant baitfish bothering the bead (and the bead itself) serve to attract bass.
- SPRO Power swivels shown here (size #4) are the highest quality and strongest barrel swivels for their size on the market and turn freely.
- Yamamoto Sugoi hook. Designed by Gary Yamamoto as the perfect ("sugoi" is the Japanese word for "perfect") hook for rigging Yamamoto's soft plastic lures. There is not a more perfect or better match between any hook and Yamamoto soft baits. Gary designed this hook to use with his soft plastic products. It is manufactured by Gamakatsu for Yamamoto.
Heavy 1/2, 5/8, 3/4 and full one ounce sinkers are the standard weights, and it requires a long and heavy action baitcasting rod to best fish a heavy Carolina Mojo rig. A longer, heavier action rod helps not only on the cast but also on the hookset. Carolina Mojo rigging is a heavy tackle tactic.
Carolina Mojo rig photographed barely beneath the water's surface. Because it is heavy and gets to the bottom quickly, Carolina Mojo rigging can be the perfect answer for a backdeck angler who's paired with a frontdeck angler who's "boating" him or her. A front deck angler often moves too fast for the backseater to get their bait to the bottom. The front deck angler can cast far ahead of the boat and let their bait sink properly. However, the person in the back cannot cast directly ahead like that, and some tournament rules even prohibit the person in back from casting too far ahead. Bottom line, a backseater using average weight baits usually cannot cast far enough ahead or let the bait sink long enough to fish effectively. The heavy Carolina Mojo rig circumvents that problem. It gets to the bottom and into the strike zone regardless of how quickly a front deck angler may be moving the boat. The heavy Carolina Mojo rig can be a backseat boater's best friend.
Because of the distance between the bait and the weight, it's awkward to cast. A Carolina rig often starts to "bolo" or twirl around at some point when the rig's flying velocity slows down midway during a cast. If nothing's done to correct this, it can cause the rig to twirl and tangle in mid-air. When the rig starts to bolo in flight, apply additional light thumb pressure to the reel spool to straighten out and stabilize the Carolina rig components in mid-air. Done properly, this doesn't affect casting distance. With a long rod, a slow, sweeping underhand sidearm swing cast helps the components stay smoother and straighter than an overhead hurl. However you cast, pay attention to applying additional light thumb pressure to straighten it out when the rig starts to twirl in mid-air.
How to Fish Flappin' Hogs on Texas Twist Rigs
With the Texas Twist rig, you are adding weight to fish deeper than a weightless bait can go - but in a way that preserves some freedom of weightless movement. With he Texas Twist rig, a short leader is used, and that let's the bait act independent from the sinker for short flurries of weightless movement that fish find attractive.
Most Texas rigs just use a bullet sinker on the main line ahead of the hook and bait. That's all. The photo above shows something a little bit different. The bullet sinker and a bright plastic bead are threaded on a short leader line about a foot long, tied off to a swivel. I call this variation a "Texas Twist" rig. It keeps the sinker from getting more than a foot apart from the bait and the brightly-colored bead has the same potential to attract bass as does dying the tail tip of a soft bait in chartreuse (or whatever other color) dye. For instance. if you think of Yamamoto's popular color #913 Senko, it's actually color 301 green pumpkin with purple and green flake plus a chartreuse tail tip. The same #913 color tipping effect is achieved with the chartreuse bead and color #301 Flappin' Hog shown above. The sinker also clicks constantly against the bead, adding an alluring noise to the presentation. Put a little fish attractant into the bag of baits you are using, and every time you rig a fresh bait, drop the entire rig into the bag that has fish attractant in it. thereby coating the entire rig.
In the photo above, you can see the perfect match between the bait and the 3/0 Sugoi hook. The hook point is rigged in the very tip of the body, so there isn't much plastic the point needs to be pulled out of when the hook is set. At the same time, the flappers far out to the sides of the hook serve as significant snag protection. The flappers deflect the hook point away from snags in a way that slimmer baits could not.
The short leader is typically tied of heavier 16 to 20 pound test Sugoi fluorocarbon. The heavier leader is in constant contact with and gets chafed by the bottom and by bass. The heavier leader withstands all the brunt of abrasion. Therefore a lighter main line may be used, such as the ten pound test spinning tackle shown above. The 3/0 Yamamoto Sugoi hook is not such thick wire and it isn't embedded so deeply in the Flappin' Hog's plastic body. It can be set every time with a beefy spinning rod such as Gary Yamamoto's medium action spinning rod shown above with ten pound test.
Casting and retrieving can work swell, but you really are fishing blind and therefore covering featureless (and fishless) bottom most of the time. In stained water, fishing the Texas-rigged Flappin' Hog directly below the bow of the boat can be more effective than casting blind (assuming you have a sonar transducer in or mounted on the trolling motor). The ideal depth is 15-20 feet of stained water. Fish the Texas-rigged Flappin' Hog like you'd fish a jigging spoon, but jig it more slowly and gently directly beneath the bow. Don't flip it any further than 20-30 feet ahead in the direction you are moving with the trolling motor (similar to spooning). Get into a good general area and put the trolling motor on very low speed. Concentrate on jigging over any small gravel patches or any little rough rubble spots that show up on the sonar screen. Some of these spots may be no bigger than a sedan. Learn how to maneuver with the trolling motor so you can reverse direction right away or in whatever direction lets the bow linger right over these small rough patches. You read a lot in fishing magazines about how boats spook fish, but that's not always true. If the motor's on low enough speed and if you perform direction changes slowly and smoothly, this often does not alarm fish to have the bow directly overhead, especially in stained water. Simply lift and lower the Texas-rigged Flappin' Hog like you would a spoon, but softer. A lot of solitary fish (often good ones) hold on these small and obscure rough patches of bottom that are difficult to target any other way.
This gorgeous leopard-spotted smallie and a bunch of its largemouth and smallmouth cousins were landed one recent Sunday morning on Texas Twist rigs with Yamamoto Flappin' Hogs jigged directly below the bow of the boat.
In summary, with the Carolina Mojo rig as well as the Texas Twist rig, you are adding weight to fish deeper than a weightless bait can go - but in a way that preserves some freedom of weightless movement. With both rigs, the short leader let's the bait act independent from the sinker for short flurries of weightless movement that fish find attractive. The bright bead adds a shot of contrasting color to the presentation and serves to attract smaller fish that peck the bead, in turn attracting bass. Don't neglect to lightly-coat the baits and the rigs entirely in fish attractant and pick up a pack of 3/0 Yamamoto Sugoi
hooks that perfectly match Flappin' Hog.
The Flappin' Hog is small and compact but at the same time it's big and bulky for its size. That sounds like a contradiction until you fish one. We hope you'll give it a try.
How to Fish Flappin' Hogs on No Sinker Rigs
Originally designed by Japanese anglers for fishing in Japan, it may surprise you how anglers there actually rig the Yamamoto Flappin' Hog. In this
chapter, we are most fortunate to get the details directly from Gary Yamamoto's man in Japan, Shunji Tanaka. Please enjoy!
First, for the hook, we usually use Gary Yamamoto's size 3/0 Sugoi hook for the Flappin' Hog. Whatever way you rig it, this size Sugoi hook is perfectly matched with the Flappin' Hog. There is no better hook for it.
We usually use the Flappin' Hog in shallow cover areas like bushes, brush, grass, weeds, reeds, etc.
Anywhere there are shallow weeds or wood, these are the best areas for fishing Flappin' Hogs.
We use the no sinker rig to cast the Flappin' Hog to the outer edge of cover. In North America, the no sinker rig is called a weightless rig. It is the same thing, simply the Flappin' Hog on a 3/0 Sugoi hook with no sinker.
A unique feature of the Flappin' Hog and what makes it so effective is its fat tail section, meaning the fat end opposite the two "bunny ears."
By making the no sinker rig as shown in the next two photos, the Flappin' Hog falls and sinks with the fat tail end first or "backward" down underneath the outer edge of cover, moving backward under weeds, under docks, under overhanging trees, away from the angler.
With the no sinker rig, if you control the slack in your line, you can insert the Flappin' Hog deeper into or under cover from where it landed on the cast. You will need to study and practice how to control your slack line to really get good at inserting it deep underneath cover. It does not need to be overhead cover either. For example, if there are tall reed beds with a little space in between each reed stalk, you can land a cast in front of the reed line, and control the slack line to insert the Flappin' Hog deeper back in between the reeds. Practice makes perfect!
Bottom view of no-sinker rig with new color #335 blue with blue flake.
Top view of no sinker rig shows the tip of the hook embedded barely under the skin of the soft plastic. This is called "skin-hooking" a Texas rig or "Tex-skin" rigging.
How to Fish Flappin' Hogs on Screw Winker Rigs
In this chapter, Gary Yamamoto's man in Japan, Shunji Tanaka, tells us one
more method to land big bass in grass with Flappin' Hogs. Please enjoy!
Components to make the screw sinker rig are shown above.
Bottom view of color #213 (june bug) Flappin' Hog on screw sinker rig. Note the sinker is not attached to the line. It is only screwed into the fat tail end of the Flappin' Hog. This causes it to penetrate dense weeds tail first.
The screw sinker rig does not move backward into or under cover horizontally. What it does is dig and slip its way straight down vertically into the very heart (not the edges) of very dense cover.
So, we use the screw sinker rig to probe the middle areas of thick cover where the no sinker rig cannot go. The screw sinker rig is cast directly inside, beyond the outer edge where the no sinker rig cannot penetrate, and it slides straight down under the cover.
So between the two rigs:
the no sinker rig probes back under the outer edges, and
the screw sinker rig hits straight into the dense heart of cover, well beyond the edges.
With either the no sinker or screw sinker rig, the 3/0 Sugoi hook can be "Tex-skin" rigged as shown in the photo above. The fat tail section of the Flappin' Hog is so wide, and the two balls out to the sides also keep snags away from the hook point. So the point does not need to be buried very deeply in the plastic like you'd need to bury it in thin worms.
Now you're rigged and ready to fish the Flappin' Hog the way we use them in Japan! I hope you'll give the no sinker and the screw sinker rigs a try. Wherever you find weedy or woody cover in North America, these rigs should work for you too.