I’d always found one of the limitations of using big soft plastics like the Slug-Go in saltwater to be the lack of good jigheads available to pair with these baits. Jigheads with hooks sturdy enough to handle heavy stripers were often too heavy to fish in shallow surf or boulder fields. Jigs with light-enough heads had hooks that a sizeable bass could easily twist open.
When Joe D’Agostino bought his first jig mold when starting Joebaggs Tackle in 2012, he was experiencing the same frustration with the available saltwater jigheads. “This mold, for its time, was cutting edge and gave new life to an existing product,” said D’Agostino.
He created the SPJ, a jighead built with a double-collar to hold soft plastics in place, and an oversized hook that wouldn’t straighten under the power of a monster striper.
As the popularity of Joebagg’s jigheads and bucktails has grown, so has their line of products. “Currently we have over 240 SKU’s that covers smaller species like fluke, tog, and seabass; medium-sized fish like stripers, blues, and snook; and larger species like cobia and tarpon,” D’Agostino said. One of his recent offerings is the Gulpie—a jighead designed specifically to present Berkley Gulp to fluke.
One of those products is tailored specifically to a technique that D’Agostino has refined himself, jigging eels. “Joebaggs Eel Jigs are specifically made for rigging eels and have a similar design to a SPJ, but have an oversized collar to secure the eel once rigged.”
After threading a fresh, dead eel onto the Eel Jig, it’s secured in place with a zip tie. Eel Jigs are available in sizes from ½ to 5 ounces, to fish a variety of waters, and even from a boat. The natural action and scent of the eel gets vicious bites from bass, and it gives fishermen a great way to bring new life to dead baits.
Joebaggs Tackle also sells a soft-plastic bait to match the SPJ heads, the Patriot Fish. These paddle-tail baits have a tight wiggle that can be felt through the rod tip. Joebaggs released the Patriot Fish on Labor Day 2016, and will be releasing nine different colors in 2017.
This is not to mention the Joebaggs bucktails, made in a number of custom colors like black/red, blurple, and even mackerel. The bucktails feature 3D holographic eyes for added appeal.
Joebaggs Tackle products are available at nearly three dozen tackle retailers throughout the Northeast.