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Pro Staff Question - The Best Way to Trim Weedguards and Skirts on Jigs

Charles "The Bass Doctor" Stuart's Answer

Pro Bass Angler Charles "The Bass Doctor" Stuart

This is a good question and needs some detailed response.

Let me begin with weedguards.

Some people like them, others hate them!

The only way to determine your preference will be to give them a good workout before making your decision

Personally I don't like the way they come out of the pack, so I usually trim off all the guard, except for three or four strands of plastic which I "fan out" and flex so that they have more give in them when the bass strikes.


I like to trim the skirts level with the bend in the hook.

The plastic or pork trailer should be totally exposed and free from possible snaging with any skirt strands.

Plastic trailers and pork trailers offer different rates of fall and both should be a consideration when jig fishing.

Plastic need not be trimmed, however I often cut the legs down the centre to give the trailer four legs instead of the regular two!

With the selection now available, try your best to match the legs to the jig color, it really can make a difference.

Uncle Josh now offers plastic and pork trailers.

Give their site a visit ( and tell them I sent you or go to your local tackle store for more information.

Cutting Crawfish Trailers

You mentioned when you might have to cut trailers.

The only time I even remember cutting them shorter in the body (not the legs) was when the bite was very light and I felt sure the bass were picking up the jig by the legs and then dropping it.

I shortened the body size by about half so that the legs were just outside poking out from the skirt.

I got my limit and a check, so I guess it paid off that day!

For regular use however, bigger is better in my opinion.

Tight Lines!

Charles "The Bass Doctor" Stuart
BassonHook Pro Staff

Dennis "The Fishin Professor" Bryant's Answer

Pro Bass Angler Dennis "The Fishin Professor" Bryant

Always Trim Weedguards and Skirts Before 1st Time Use

Since one size positively does not fit all!

All of the plastic weedguards and skirting materials on all jigs sold 'over-the counter', should be trimmed before 1st use.

Unless you're going to be fishing HEAVY cover, it's always better NOT to use a guard of any kind on your jigs.

Rather, use a jig designed for the task (That's the reason why I make nine different styles of jigs for my clients use. NONE with guards).

In most instances; weed-guards lose fish!

Rules of Thumb For FIXING "New", Over-The-Counter Jigs:

Skirting materials should cover the hook.

No more! No less!

They are intended as bulk-builders and color-additives on the jig, nothing more.

Straighten the rubber to the rear of the hook and using a pair of sharp scissors, cut the rubber to within 1/16 inch PAST the back edge of the hook bend.

Anything additional left in place, hinders the action of the jig, rather than helping it.

Plastic hook-guards come in two basic styles "multi-strand" & "Y"-guards.

ThinWire weed-guards have also reappeared on several brands of jigs as well, so I'll cover those as well.

Both plastic & wire guards require trimming AND corrective shaping to eliminate their acting as "HOOK-GUARDS" rather than weed-guards.

Trimming Plastic and Wire Weedguards

"Y" guards are my personal favorite, IF I "HAVE-to-HAVE" a weed-guard at all.

Simply take a sharp pocket knife and scrape the underside of the "Y" guard until the ends are thinner and have curled down below the tip of the hook.

Trim off any of the plastic that extends past the BARB of the hook.

For wire-guards, use your finger to do the same as the "Y" guard forming a curl to the guard.

Trim off the wire that extends past the BARB of the hook.

Multi-Strand weed-guards lose more fish to "less than very-experienced fishermen" than anything else ~~ other than dull hooks.

To trim and shape multi-strand guards; with your finger, bend the guard only enough so that the leading filament touches the hook barb.

Using sharp scissors cut the guard filaments parallel to the base of the jig (This tapers the number of, and length of the filaments, so that there are more and shorter ones in the front and fewer, longer ones at the rear).

Then form the curl on the filaments, the same as the "Y" guard, by stroking the filaments with a sharp pocket knife from the underside.

Shortening Crawfish Trailers

Shortening 'craw' trailers does very little to increase catches.

Purchase correct craw sizes to "match-the-hatch", rather than cutting down the ones you have.

You'll be much happier with the action, and the results.

Hope this helps you a little bit!

Good Fishin'!

Dennis Bryant
The Fishin' Professor!

Leo Watson's Answer

Pro Bass Angler Leo Watson

On most jigs the weedguard has to be trimmed on them right out of the package.

I am very fortunate to be sponsored by Tight Line Anglers Products who make my jigs and spinnerbaits.

These jigs come with a weedguard that is right on the money.

How I Trim Weedguards And Downsize Plastics

One thing you want to do when trimming your weedguard is make sure it just barely covers the hook tip.

As far as downsizing your plastics that depends on conditions and the size of the crawfish in the body of water you are fishing.

Let this tell you what size to use.

Keep it natural only downsize if conditions are ultra tough or you are getting short strikes.

If you are getting short strikes remember that the fish are telling you that something is just a little off.

It could be your retrieve, color, size, weight etc.

When trying to determine that only change one thing at a time.

Never change more than one thing without first trying it.

This is just a simple elimination process until you find the right combination.

The fish will tell you what they want.

Pay attention to where the fish are hooked.

Ideally they should be hooked in the top of the mouth where the heavy bone is.

If they are not then start your process of elimination.

Aquatic vegetation is a challenging structure to fish but using lures with weedguards properly trimmed will give you a better advantage.

I hope this has helped you out.

Thank you,

Leo Watson

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