Bait Wars: Jigs

With countless natural and artificial offerings available to Florida anglers, and numerous different baits effective for various species across a wide array of venues, we wanted to take a closer look at the options and share the benefits of each offering in a head-to-head competition. As Bait Wars progresses, readers may be surprised to learn there are scenarios when an artificial lure is favored over natural bait for its versatility and availability, while on other occasions nothing seals the deal like the real thing.


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Shimano Butterfly Flat-Fall Jig

Length: 3 1/3- to 4 3/16 in.
Weight: 80- to 160-grams (2 3/4- to 5 1/2-oz)
MSRP: $12.99- 14.99

Best Rigging Method
– Shimano recommends spooling with PowerPro (30- to 80-lb. test depending on target species and venue) with the addition of Shimano monofilament wind-on (30- to 60-lb. test)
– Sold pre-rigged with tin-coated Owner assist hooks attached to trailing end of jig
-Complete presentation with small loop tied directly to solid ring eye on leading edge of jig

Standout Features
– Totally new concept in vertical jig design and technique requiring reduced effort from angler while triggering reaction strikes from hungry game fish
– Hydrodynamic flat keel design
– Center balanced jig falls with enticing wobbling action in a horizontal position, leaving lure in strike zone for maximum time
– Large reflective eye (one side)

– Four size options (80g, 100g, 130g, 160g)
– Six color options (Black/Anchovy, Chartreuse/White, Blue/Sardine, Pink/Blue, Phantom/Squid, Sand Eel)
– While available at tackle shops, big box retailers, and online tackle catalogs, Flat-Fall jigs are flying off the shelf!

– Vibrant finish remains intact after multiple attacks from predatory game fish
– Dependable Owner hooks

– Shimano started the vertical jigging revolution and their expanded line of innovative butterfly jigs is continuing to yield outstanding catches from coast to coast
– Allow Flat-Fall jig to flutter to the bottom in free spool, steadily retrieve 30- to 50-ft., repeat the process
– Alternatively, casting the Flat-Fall jig and letting it flutter in free spool has also proven extremely effective with mid-water pelagics

Overall Rating: 8.5/10

Williamson Lures Vortex Jig

Length: 4 3/4- to 7 1/4-in
Weight: 100- to 300-grams (3 1/2 to 10 1/2 oz)
MSRP: $13.99-$25.49

Best Rigging Method
Braid running line (30- to 80-lb. test depending on target species and venue) with 25 ft. monofilament or fluorocarbon top-shot (40- to 80-lb. test)
 Sold pre-rigged and ready to fish
– Complete presentation with improved clinch knot tied directly to solid ring

Standout Features
– Hydrodynamic design with opposing convex and concave sides
– Each side has a separate finish creating a unique visual effect and flash as the lure rotates and flutters during fall
– Heavy-duty ball-bearing swivel
– Ultra-strong solid rings
– Premium VMC assist hook

– Four size options(100g, 150g, 200g, 300g)
– Eight color options (Black/Silver, Black/Purple, Blue Mackerel, Bunker, Chartreuse Glow, Green Mackerel, Hot Pink Glow, Sardine)
– Readily available at local tackle shops, big box retailers, and online tackle catalogs

– Vibrant finish remains intact fish after fish
– Heavy-duty hardware ensures multiple seasons of trouble-free use

– Williamson Lures’ vertical speed jigs have proven deadly across a wide array of venues and for nearly every bottom dwelling species and mid-water pelagic predator
Allow jig to flutter to bottom before working back to surface with a steady jig-and-crank rhythm and slow retrieve

Overall Rating: 9.5/10

The Winner:

Williamson Lures Vortex Jig:
I’m already a huge fan of vertical jigs and the technique that accompanies the fabulous fakes. It all started with Shimano, a trusted brand with a solid reputation for producing outstanding, fish-catching products. However, having fished both of these style vertical jigs extensively, I’ve come to prefer the Williamson Lures Vortex for its versatility and wide range of sizes. Yes, Shimano’s Flat-Fall requires less work on the angler’s part by simply allowing the lure to flutter in free spool where its strike-enticing wobbling action does most of the dirty work. While effective, I prefer to work the jig more erratically throughout the entire water column and I thoroughly enjoy the sensation accompanying that solid thump when a big fish inhales the lure. That’s what fishing artificial lures is supposed to be about in the first place—fooling brilliant predators by imparting a lifelike action to a motionless piece of material. Additionally, to date I’ve fooled everything from snapper to sailfish on the Vortex, so I have an extremely high level of confidence in this bait. It’s for these reasons that Williamson’s Vortex slightly edges out the competition in this metal-to-metal battle.