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Terminal Tackle Review

Ultra finesse fishing with Gamakatsuís Skip Gap Shaky Head (continued)

Retrieving: In evaluating the Gamakatsu Skip Gap Shaky Heads we tested primarily for the jigís ability to be effectively paired with a range of different worms and how well the jighead and hook held up to fish rather than test for fish catching ability, like we would normally do for other baits. This is because the Gamakatsu Skip Gap Shaky Heads effectiveness also heavily depends on the actual worm that you choose to pair it with. In our tests we paired it up with some of very proven performers, including Roboworm Straight and Zipper worms as well as Gary Yamamoto Senkos.


The jigheads are finished with ultra sharp Gamakatsu hooks


With the eye nearly perpendicular to the rigged worms we found the plastics would arch at a thirty to forty degree angle when in the water. I found when shaking the rig I could detect all the subtle bounces with structure, and I got the most bites not when moving the rig but holding in a fixed position and shaking the worm subtly. When it came time to set the hook the Gamakatsu hook shines through and through, and it didnít matter if it was the softer sections of the fishís mouth or the hard upper jaw, these hooks are more than sharp enough to stick fish. The intelligent design also proved to prolong the lifespan of plastics as they would simply be pulled down the hook a bit when struck versus other designs where the top of the worm was ripped out of the retention mechanism.


Skip Gap Shaky Heads can accommodate worms of all sizes including Senkos


Durability: In the construction of the Skip Gap Shaky Head the engineers at Gamakatsu utilized high-carbon steel to form the wire the hook, it is made from because steel with a high carbon content is both stronger and harder. Since the material is harder it can be sharpened to a much finer point. I found that the hookpoint on the Skip Gap Shaky Head remained sharp even after multiple fish.


A largemouth taken on the jighead

The only time the hook bent at all was when I deliberately rigged the hook outside of the worm for snag tests and had to pull hard to break the hook free from underwater structure. Hooks that are too hard are brittle and will break under high stress, and on the flip side hooks that are too soft will bend and straighten out with a fish on the line and will also not hold a good point, we found the Gamakatsu hooks on the Skip Gap Shaky Head struck a proper balance. Throughout the past few months we fished with the Skip Gap Shaky Head in both fresh and brackish water and did not find any signs of rust on the hooks at the conclusion of our field tests. Gamakatsu prevents hooks from prematurely rusting by anodizing them, this is what gives the hooks the rich black coloration.


Skip Gap Shaky Heads proved excellent at both keeping worms on and sticking fish, the design is great for even the most finesse worm types

Price & Applications: The Skip Gap Shaky Heads retail for 5.49 per pack which comes out to $1.37 per jighead, this is more than the average screw in type jighead which retails for 3.99-4.99. We checked the total jighead offerings on two tackle e-tail sites and in both cases found that the Gamakatsu Skip Gap Shaky Heads fell within the top 10% of the most expensive offerings. When you compare the jigheads in apples to apples comparisons we found that the Gamakatsu offering does warrant some of that price premium due to the high quality hook, the durable painted head, and the innovative gapped design. The Shaky Head Technique has become very popular mainly because it is easy to learn, is an inexpensive way to catch fish, and it just plain works. Paired with a worm of your choice the Gamakatsu Skip Gap Shaky Heads are durable enough to deal with the constant contact with structure, and are absolutely fantastic at keeping very fine diameter worms pinned to the top of the ball head. These same worms often look unnatural or can break apart when used with screw or barb type jigs.

Ratings (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

Gamakatsu Skip Gap Shaky Head Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A well built jighead with a quality hook just like you would expect from Gamakatsu 9
Performance Simple yet ingenious design that effectively keeps baits on the jighead. Unlike screw in heads it is easy to thread even small diameter worms on the jighead and keep them pinned on. Screwed in designs seem to hold the front of the worm in a more natural presentation but it is easy to damage worms 8
Price At $5.49 for a pack of four each jighead retails for $1.37, this is more than the average jighead but you need to work in the premium hook, overall a reasonable price 7
Features Like many other good elements of terminal tackle simplicity is the key and the extra bend in this hook plain works 8
Design (Ergonomics) A design that was originally proven in the company's skip gap hook the new Shaky head jigheads are easy to fish and effective tools for the technique 8.5
Application Great for fishing a wide range of plastics for the big worms to ultra finesse plastics. The quality coated hook resists corrosion well 8.5

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!

Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Keeps even finesse worms pinned to the top of the jighead L Only two colors available (black would be a good alternative)
J Easy to use and doesn't damage smaller diameter worms during rigging  
J Quality hook  

Conclusion: New for 2009 Gamakastu draws on their experience in hook manufacturing, and actually leverages one of their existing hook designs to create the very application specific Skip Gap Shaky Head. Though seemingly simple in makeup the Skip Gap Shaky Head is a cleverly built jighead that does exactly what it is designed to do. This innovative design is more reliable than spring style retainers and it doesn't matter if you are using a Senko or a thin Roboworm, the worm stays pinned to the head no matter how much you shake your rig. If you are a fan of the technique the Skip Gap Shaky Head is definitely worth tying on.


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