Make Your Own Assist Hooks

How to make assist hooks for your vertical jigs.
Sam Mossman

Jig fishing continues to gain popularity around the world. Fishing vertical jigs elicits fast and furious hookups from some of the ocean's top predators, so it's no surprise anglers continue to use jigs for more species of big game fish.

To successfully land big fish on vertical jigs, however, takes tackle that is up to the task, and plenty of spare gear in the tackle box because big pelagics and reef fish will work your gear.

Vertical jigs (link) are long, slender, weighted jogs that use assist hooks that hang from the top of the lure. In the last few years, these jigs have started showing up in tackle boxes world-wide.

There are a wide range of jigs available, but they all use assist hooks. Assist hooks hang from the lure on a piece of cord or heavy braid. With many sport fish, particularly tropical species, being well equipped in the tooth department, even the heavy Kevlar cord favored for assist hooks can be damaged and need replacement.
Replacing assist hooks is a relatively painless procedure and in this article I've illustrated a simple and strong method to construct your own assist hooks.

Don't skimp on the quality of the cord, the rings or the hook. You're bound to hook some very powerful fish and you certainly don't want to loose any through failure in your terminal tackle.

Note that the IGFA have recently published new rules governing the permitted length of assist hooks. (link) If you fish 'to regulation' be sure to check them before constructing any assist hook rigs.

To make your own assist hooks for vertical jigs, start with a strong hook such as a live-bait hook, and a length of heavy-duty cord. Specialty saltwater fishing stores and online shops can supply cord made from aramid fibers such as Kevlar.
Double the cord and pass the tag ends through the hook eye from the point side.
Turn the cord loop back across the hook shank behind the eye.
Take the doubled cord back around the hook shank and through the loop.
Pull the knot snug to the hook, just below the eye.
Pass the cord loop back through the hook eye.
The knot looks basic, but will not slip. Secure the other end of the doubled cord to a solid ring or a split ring combination.
The finished assist hook. When fishing vertical jigs for toothy critters, you'll want to tie up several replacement assist hooks. Lures can be quickly changed with split-ring pliers.
Tying the assit hooks to a solid ring makes lure changes easy. Using a split-ring plier you can switch out the lure while the assist-hook rig stays attached to the leader.

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