As you search for holiday gifts for your beloved angler who loves jigging spoons, the fishing tackle company Aftco may not be the first to come to mind. Known for gaffs, clothing, and other accessories, Aftco has moved into the jigging spoon world in a big way - and once you try out the Blue Fever Crossbreed we’re betting you'll be glad for it. These spoons range from 60 to 120 grams and have an unusual center-weighted semi-diamond-ish shape that causes them to sink fast, stabilize and sink slower, then sink fast again — and the variable descend rate drives fish nuts. Hooks are 4X trebles on oversized split-rings so you can swap ‘em if so desired, and there are six different color patterns to choose from. We tried the Blue Fever Crossbreeds in two different venues, jigging for rockfish that were hugging bottom in 30’ and dropping ‘em over an inshore wreck for black sea bass. In both cases, the fish attacked with abandon. Note: check out the Sardine color pattern, which really got the rockfish snapping. Price: $14 to $17.
Hard Head Baits
- By Eric Packard
Fishing the Chesapeake Bay region requires the proper tools and knowhow to help you catch that trophy fish, and that’s where Hard Head Custom Baits comes into play with their triangular Shad Head Jigs. They now come in a variety of new colors that give you more options to choose from, expanding the famous “candy corn” pattern to include candy blue, candy green, and so on. Packs include two for 3/8 to one ounce and one for 1.5 to 3.0 ounce, and heads have a plastic barb and skirt ring. Both plain and pre-skirted heads are available. Price: $5.45 to $6.25.
G Loomis NRX+ Inshore
We love fishing rods that are uber-light, uber-sensitive, and uber-strong, and the new G. Loomis NRX+ Inshore line fits this bill to a tee. NRX+ rods are built with Fuji titanium SiC guides, CI4+ reel seats, and are available in 10 casting and spinning models. Even more importantly, these rods have Spiral X construction (triple-layer with an oblique fiber core, longitudinal middle layer, and reverse-oblique fiber outer layer) with a multi-taper design that reinforces critical stress points while reducing the amount of unneeded material in the blank. Net result? Maximum rigidity and sensitivity with reduced weight. We haven’t been able to actually fish an NRX+ yet but we did play with them in the convention center at the ICAST show, and it feels like a virtually weightless magic wand in-hand. Price: $625 to $650. Check out our video of the NRX+ Inshore rods from ICAST: