Choosing the correct Shakey Head Jig

Shakey Head Styles | Pros and Cons


What seems like just a few years ago, an angler first tied on a skirtless jig head and slipped a worm up on it, threw the combo out and caught a fish, and the shakey head was born. Now, there are literally hundreds of different shakey heads on the market. They come in several shapes, colors and sizes and have a variety of ways to keep the soft plastic bait in place.

Today, we’re going to dissect a few of the differences and hopefully help you select the perfect shakey head to fit your needs.

Screw Lock Shakey Head Jigs

Screw lock or no screw lock?

One of the most noticeable differences from one shakey head to another is how the bait is secured to the hook. The early shakey heads consisted of a simple round bend hook with a lead jighead and barbed bait keeper molded onto the hook.  

Somewhere along the way, someone had the bight idea to add a small metal spring to the jighead and created what is referred to now as a screw lock. The idea is to take the nose of your soft plastic and twist (or screw) it up onto the wire spring. This creates a very secure connection between the bait and the hook.  

However, screw locks do take a little longer to rig. So many anglers still prefer the old fashioned barbed bait keeper, where you simply slide your bait up onto the hook and lock it in. Choosing here really comes down to personal preference.

Shakey Head Jig Heads

Head design

There are dozens of slightly different variations when it comes to the design of the head of a shakey head. So we’re going to breakdown a few of the more common. Let’s start with a ball head. This is probably the most common shakey head you’ll see, as it’s a great all-around design. The round head of this piece of terminal tackle comes through rock really well, wood fairly well and is certainly capable of being drug along a clean bottom.  

The second is an Arkie style head. These heads are a little flatter and more oval shaped. This helps these shakey heads come through woody cover better, like laydowns and brushpiles. Moving over to the third design we’ll talk about, we come to the flat heads. These shakey heads are designed to help the bait stand upright on the bottom. The ball and Arkie head designs tend to drag the worm in a more horizontal line. But the flat head helps the bait stand with its tail up. The only drawback is that these shakey heads have a tendency to wedge into cover and hangup, so look to use these in more open water scenarios with clean bottoms.

Shakey Head Jig Hook Bends

Hook bend, eye angle, and color

There are a few more characteristics that vary from one shakey head to another. Though most shakey heads incorporate a round bend hook, some do have more of an extra wide gap (EWG) bend. The round bends work best with slender baits, like trick worms and lizards. Where the EWG bend has more space to compensate for thicker soft plastics, like tubes and creature baits.  

The eye angle usually correlates to the head design, with many flat head shakey heads having closer to a 90- degree eye angle orientation to the hook shaft. And the flatter and Arkie heads are at a wider angle. These angles respectively help the bait either standup better, or be pulled forward through cover better.  

Then there’s the decision of which paint job to go with. Almost all shakey heads come either unpainted or painted a dark color like black, green pumpkin or brown. Just try to match the paint job to the color of the bait, and don't be afraid to go unpainted. Often times the bass can’t even see the head because it’s buried in a layer of silt on the bottom or the water is too stained to see it. Painted heads are only really necessary in super clear and rocky situations.

In Conclusion Regarding Shakey Head Jigs

In conclusion

Though there are countless shakey head options when you take into consideration the size, shape, color and other characteristics that change from one to the next, there are really only a few key things to keep in mind. Choose a screw lock or not based on what you like, and it’s good to try both to see what that preference is. Pick the head design based on the cover present. And then don’t sweat the hook bend, angle of the eye or color of the head all that much. With these few tips, you can select the best shakey head to fill your needs.  

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