Selecting the right vertical jig assist hook is very important. In this podcast I share my personal experiences with using both Braided Dacron and Kevlar Assist hooks.

Braided Dacron Assist Cord

Below are my reasons for the for why I discontinued using Vertical Jig Braided Dacron Assist Cords

  • When vertical jig fishing the wrecks off Key Largo I want to be 100% confident that when I set a the hook when target Mutton Snappers and Groupers when using a vertical jig that my hook setting effort is being transferred fully to the vertical jig. I did not have this confidence when using a Vertical Jig rigged with a Dacron Assist Hook. When it came to the hook sets with the braided dacron assist, I felt the hook sets were not good when I was using Dacron assist cords as the stuff is pretty limp and does not command the hook very well, I personally felt it was tough to drive the hook into the jaw of a Grouper or Mutton Snappers for a good hook set.
  • Very water absorbent which leads to breakage. The salt water eats away at the Dacron. After the end of each vertical jig trip I wash every jig in the sink throughly at my house. I found that this did not help extend the life of a Dacron Assist Cord. .
  • Dacron has significant stretch, which leads to unnecessary line failures and break offs.
  • Because the assist cord is rigged to the solid ring and braided Dacron is soft it tended to tangle a lot, the assist would constantly get wrapped around the leader and it would hang up on the jig, the assist split and solid rings. What a nightmare!  A lot of guys band aid this by adding shrink wrap over the Dacron, which is additional step. The Williamson Brand Jig, cheap dacron covered with shrink wrap to make it look appealing to the consumer. Yes it adds a layer of protection, but for only a couple vertical jig fishing trips.  I am not a fan of added shrink to assist cords because the stuff tears up. This allows for water to enter the small tears. The water gets trapped between the shrink and the dacron. Even if you are thoroughly cleaning your jigs at the end of day, you still can not clean the salt water trapped between the cord and heat shrink.  The cord is basically rotting inside shrink.  All it takes in one little nick from a little Tuna or Amberjack to create a tear. Go out a couple weeks later, the assist cord appears to look OK because all you see is the heat shrink, you can not actually inspect the interior cord itself because it is covered in the heat shrink.

Kevlar Assist Cord

I am currently using high quality Red Kevlar Assist Cord.  We purchased our Red Kevlar Assist Cords in bulk directly from a manufacture.  Before manufacturing the Kevlar we approved quality samples as I wanted to make sure the Kevlar was correct and my quality expectations were met. I was very happy with the process and now I have enough Kevlar Assist Cords to last me many years.   There are many different grades of red kevlar, so be careful when purchasing Kevlar at a lower price point online. Below are my reasons why I prefer Kevlar Assist Cords for Vertical Jigs.

  • More abrasion resistant than Dacron.
  • It commands the hook well because it is stiff and has no memory.  My client hook up rates sky rocketed after I made the change from Dacron to Kevlar. Since I made the switch to Kevlar I am much more confident in the vertical jig hook sets.
  • Kevlar does not like UV light or salt water, but when compared  to Dacron my personal opinion is that Kevlar is better at fighting off these environmental elements than Dacron and do feel Kevlar It has much longer shelf life than Dacron.

New Assist Cord Material I am Testing

I also wanted to share this other material I am using to make assist hooks with that is killing it. I heard a few guys were using this stuff to make their jigging assist cords with, plus knew the stuff was bad ass because I have put it through hell over the past 2 years in other applications using it as outrigger line, chum bag line, bait pen line.  I was confident it would perform very well as an assist hook, so I made up a few to try out. Extremely happy. I heard that a few hard core vertical jig fisherman started using this material so I decided to put it through a trial phase. I am using New England Rope 1.8mm Micro Dynema Syperline, 350lb breaking strength. It has fairly decent salt water absorption resistance, no memory  superior abrasion resistance, extremely strong, hard to cut, commands the hook well, UV resistant, holds up in the heat, ties easily, has a little stretch.

https://www.westmarine.com/buy/new-england-ropes–spyderline-micro-dyneema-braid-by-the-spool–P002_071_002_515?recordNum=46

New England Rope Soft Micro Dynema Syperline Manufactures Specifications 

This spiderweb sized, high-performance line has a Dyneema SK-75 core inside a polyester double braid cover that provides superior strength for its tiny diameter. It is flexible, yet firm enough to be led through small leads, micro blocks and purchase systems and is also a great choice as sail ties for the performance Opti sailor.

Key Features

  • Available in spools of 50′, 75′ and 100′
  • 1.8mm (5/64″) diameter on a 100′ spool and 350 pound breaking strength
  • 2.8mm (1/8″) diameter on a 75′ spool and 1,250 pound breaking strength
  • 3.8mm (5/32″) diameter on a 50′ spool and 1,860 pound breaking strength
  • Best Use: Performance dinghy cascade systems, control lines, small one design cunninghams, traveler lines, vang systems, trapeze lines, outhauls, topping lifts, halyards, and twings
  • Construction: Double braid
  • Cover Fiber/Construction: Polyester braid
  • Core Fiber/Construction: Dyneema SK-75 braid
  • Stretch: 1.6% at 20% of breaking strength

Buy the stuff in bulk for $29.00 from West Marine it comes in spools of 50’, 75’, and 100’ I will put the link up in my show notes.  Comes in a few colors to choose from.

Take Care of Vertical Jigs To Extend the Shelf Life

Remember after a day of fishing, make sure to wash all your vertical jigs throughly. To extend the life of my vertical jigs I wash each vertical jig(main body, hardware and the assist cords) after each fishing trip in my kitchen sink at home in hot water and Dawn Dish Soap.  If there is one thing I took away from organic chemistry labs in college, was hot water is the only thing that really works to dissolves salt particles safely without using harsh chemicals that can ruin you jigs.  Hot water is your best friend when it comes to removing salt particles from all your critical fishing gear, including those expensive reels and fishing rods.  Water from a hose does not throughly remove all the salt.

New Vertical Jig Hook I am Testing

Currently I am testing 3X Owner S-Double Size Hooks with Super Tin Finish. I have always liked the Shimano Wax Wing Vertical Jig Hooks, these are the same hooks(fang hooks). Stay tuned for results.

Saltwater Double Hook