Sunday, August 1, 2010

Rigged Slug-Gos

There are only a handful of artificial lures in my rotation that I can fish in the surf with utmost confidence. I rank rigged Slug-Gos high on the list of fish-catchers and always stuff at least a few nine and 12-inchers in my plug bag. While I cannot claim landing any very large bass using soft-plastics, I can safely say that I've connected with a few that still haunt me. The most impressive thing I have found about them is the sheer amount of action they draw on a given surf outing.

In the mid-1980’s, Herb Reed developed a soft-plastic lure in his Connecticut garage that would revolutionize the fishing industry. His company was Lunker City Fishing Specialties and the new artificial bait was the Slug-Go. With its slender profile and erratic action, this soft stick-bait was first found irresistible by large and smallmouth bass. They were a secret weapon among a circle of Northeast bass anglers before being responsible for placing at two major B.A.S.S. tournaments in the early 1990’s.This success helped Lunker City go main stream and allowed them to experiment with different sizes and colors.

It wasn’t long before larger Slug-Gos caught the attention of saltwater anglers. Through articles and seminars, surfcasters like Steve McKenna and Rich Russo, among others, helped progress the popularity of nine-inch rigged Slug-Gos in the saltwater scene. Many were catching striped bass on Slug-Gos long before, but their teachings about rigging and fishing the soft-plastics helped build their fish-catching reputation. Today, the nine and 12-inch versions are all the rage among recreational striped bass and tuna fishermen--for good reason.

The author's favorite sizes and colors:
12-inch Eel Skin and 9-inch Black, Alwife and Albino Shad

Slug-Gos can be purchased pre-rigged, but like many tackle junkies I enjoy rigging my own. There are several rigging combinations you can come up with by experimenting with hook styles, sizes and placement. I prefer rigging my nine-inch Slug-Gos with one 8/0 Gamakatsu Octopus near the front of the bait. Many anglers swear by using a front and back hook, but I don't always find it necessary for the nine-inch version. For the larger 12-incher, I put 9/0 in front and an 8/0 in back and connect them with 50-pound Dacron line. 

Slug-Gos can be fished weightless near the surface or with nail-weights inserted in them for farther casting distance and a faster sink rate. The conditions at hand should determine the amount of weight used, but inserting two nail-weights into the mid-section and one in the tip of the tail is pretty standard. My friend Paul put me on to using grooved nails with the heads lopped off rather than wasting money on name brand weights. Other rigging options include threading Slug-Gos onto lead jig heads or wobble heads, which can prove deadly while fishing in any kind current. Whatever hook style is chosen, wrap heavy thread on the hook shank and add plastic-friendly glue, which will help ensure that it stays put inside the bait.

My soft-plastic rigging supplies:  Slug-Gos, fly-tying vise, super glue,
 nail-weights, hooks, heavy thread, bobbin, whip-finish tool, and scissors.

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