Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Have you ever lost a fish because the hook’s come unclipped from your Fiiish Black Minnow?

I must admit that this has never happened to me, but I have heard of anglers who have lost fish because out of the blue that weedless hook somehow unclips from the rather clever (but takes a bit of time to master) rigging system on the Fiiish Black Minnow. If it happened to me then I assure you that I would go mad, but the simple fact is that if your hook unclips from the Black Minnow then it’s because you haven’t rigged it quite right. There, I said it. What, I’m saying that some anglers have gone and made a little mistake? Surely that’s not possible? Blokes don’t make mistakes, and even if we did we wouldn’t admit to it would we??!! Angler error? Two words combined that make no sense at all!! It’s the lure’s fault isn’t it? Or the fish?

I don’t go lure fishing without some variations of a few Black Minnows, and like many anglers I am sure, when I first started fishing with these soft plastics it was the rigging of them that kinda spooked me. The whole lure fishing thing can seem pretty complicated to newcomers especially, and even with the various videos and photos out there, there’s no getting away from how it takes a bit of practise to get fully comfortable with rigging a Black Minnow - and even then if you haven’t done it for a while it can take a bit of time for it to all feel natural again. I think it’s the most amazing soft plastic lure system, but of course you simply can’t be losing fish because the hook unclips from the jig head.

Which it can, but from my experience it can only happen if the angler hasn’t rigged it quite right. I was talking to a mate before Xmas who I fish with a fair bit over in Ireland. He’s one hell of a lure angler who happens to fish very well with the Black Minnow, and I asked him straight if he had ever lost any bass because the weedless hook had come off the jig head - yes was his reply, and of course I asked him why he thought it had happened. “Because I hadn’t rigged it quite right” was his honest reply. We spoke a bit about it and both came to the same conclusion that if your weedless hook doesn’t end up pointing slightly downwards into the back of the lure body when you’ve finished rigging it, then you haven’t done it quite right. This lad had rigged a couple of Black Minnows up for a fishing session - he then loses a bass, can’t at first work out why, but then he checks the next Black Minnow he had pre-rigged and finds that he had mistakenly ended up with the weedless hook not pointing downwards (he had rigged both up the same way, which meant that both were slightly wrong).

What does that mean? Well if that hook isn’t naturally pointing slightly downwards when the lure is rigged, then you haven’t got the hook right into where it needs to be on the wire bit on the back of the jig head - and if a fish thrashes around then the hook might well disconnect and you lose the fish. The photo above shows where the hook is sitting when the Black Minnow is not rigged quite correctly and you don’t then end up with that hook point pointing slightly down into the back of the lure.

I know that connecting the jig head to the lure body and then connecting the hook means that you are kinda wriggling that hook around the wire a bit “blind” as such, but for this system to work as it’s meant to, it’s absolutely vital that you work that weedless hook right around until it’s sitting right in that U-bend as per the photo above. Do this right and the hook stays exactly where it’s meant to and you won’t lose fish. Sure, you can lose fish for a variety of other reasons - never angler error of course - but it won’t be because the hook suddenly disconnects from your lure.

Get the eye of the hook properly into that U-bend and you end up with the point of the hook pointing naturally downwards as per the photo above. And worry not, because weedless hooks are designed to work like this. I am sure that a few of you might read this blog post and say to yourself “not me, not a chance. That fish got off because the Black Minnow system failed on me”. It’s not easy to admit to ourselves that we might have actually made a mistake, but here I would refer you back to my mate who was so honest about it with himself and worked backwards to find out what he had done wrong. As for that mid-double figure bass that ripped a straight hundred yards of braid from a tight drag while maxxing out your lure rod and then fighting like a demon for twenty plus minutes before getting away due to any number of different reasons? Bad luck. Obviously.