Jim Porter Reviews  Bass Fishing in Florida

Fishin' Tipster Takes A Look At

'GuardsHooks' and 'Guard Jigs'

Sooner or later, it has to happen - a true 'weedless' hook and lure!!

I mean, I want one so weedless that I can carry a crank plug with two treble hooks on it around in my pocket without fear. 

Now, that's a tall order and wishful thinking, you probably imagine.

BUT, I DO have a crank plug like that right now. And, I DO carry it and all its hooks around in my pocket just to show non-believers. Let's move on and you'll see this nifty gadget.

Anglers have been experimenting since time immemorial, trying to contrive a combination of hook and some type of guard that would keep them from becoming snagged. Plus, the device would have to allow the fish to become easily hooked, as if there were no hook protector present at all. We have all seen them come and go, with the styles involving nylon bristles and fine spring wire being the primary survivors.

Well, our friendly mailman brought us a sample of yet another try at snag-proof immortality this week. Via email, we had agreed to evaluate the devices and I am glad we did. This hook protection system really shows promise. Plus, there is a really innovative design for tube jig styles.

Take a look at the photos and you can see the basic concept. They took the concept of a simple tight spring, worked out a way to mount it to the hook and-- hocus-pocus-a weed guard that really does work pretty well.

A bit of detailed explanation is in order here. The concept using the spring shown in the photos really does two things:

First, when the free end of the spring is placed over the tip of the hook, it is NOT ready to fish. In this position, the spring(s) act like the safety on a gun. They just will not come off unless you very specifically remove them from the hook points. You can drop them, kick them, throw them against the wall - they stay on those hook points. That's how I can carry that popper you see in the picture around in my pocket without sticking my 'personables'. What this provides is the potential for a tangle-free tackle box, or being able to carry lures in a sack without a tangles mess.

Second, when the end of the spring is removed from the hook point, it has been assembled so that it remains in position much like a fiber weed guard. And, being flexible, it functions just like one. In fact, it is better than either fiber or the fine wire types.

Looking at the photos, you can see the different styles and some of the sizes of these 'Guard Hooks'. There are baits hooks, as well as those for lures. The manufacturer also decided against a treble style in his line. He did not say why, but I suspect they were hard to manufacturer and even harder to put on a lure. The double hook style zips right on and off like a breeze.

Now, take a look at the photo of the tube jigs. These styles are called 'Guard Jigs'. One of the problems of a weedless hook being combined with a tube jig is that the tube sleeve always fits down over the weed guard, itself, and we can never get it set up without ripping the tube. Right? Well, look at the 'Guard Jig' on the right and you will see that the spring weed guard arm can actually be removed. Yep, it screws on and off using an ingenious little male screw device attached to the jig head. The spring then, being the female portion, simply screws right on the male protrusion. That allows a tube body to be easily placed over the jig head and the weed guard arm then added when the tube is fully positioned. It really is a neat, functional system.

With the jigs, the same positioning of the spring applies as it did with the plugs and dual hooks. When the tip of the spring is over the tip of the hook, the World is completely protected from the point. It can be carried right in a pocket. When disengaged from the point, the spring functions exactly like a fiber guard.

Trying these hooks and jigs out on a school of decent-sized bass indicated no discernable difference in our hook-up ratio. We had no problem, at all, getting the fish hooked and to the boat. We did find that an occasional spring guard on a hook could be damaged by a fish trashing to and fore. So, the system is not infallible, but it does work very well.

Here is a key element to take note of. As we tested and experienced the 'Guard Hooks' and 'Guard Jigs' it became apparent that the larger sizes appeared to work best. We had a few small hooks that we rigged with small crappie tubes, and the hook-up ratio was much less than that for bass while using larger hooks and jigs. My opinion is that the springs on the smaller hooks and jig heads need to be reduced in longitudinal tension a bit. It may be that the industry just doesn't make springs in those less rigid designs. But, if they do, that would be an improvement.

In the final analysis, the 'Guard Hook' and the 'Guard Jig' devices work as well as any of the current models I have tried, possibly better. Plus, they allow hook point protection and reduce tangling. On the 'Guard Jig' side, the innovative design of the removable/installable guard arm spring is really a great benefit for tube jig users.

For more information on these devices, contact Mr. Ted Rydell at 1-800-693-HOOK, or visit his great web site at . You can write them at Weed Guards Unlimited Company, W11091 W 10th Road, Pound, WI 54161.

Mr. Rydell advised me that they advertise on the Outdoor Channel, on the Internet, in Bass'N and in North American Fisherman club magazine. He also indicated a full one-year replacement warranty on all of his products. You can't beat that.

NOTE: There was no compensation for this evaluation and the manufacturer is not an advertiser of the web page. A small sample of the product was provided for evaluation.