The Quick And Easy Way To Rig Z-Man Jerkbaits [Cool Trick]

By: Luke Simonds on September 28, 2017
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z-man jerkbait rig

Wait until you see this cool trick to rig Z-Man soft plastics on weighted hooks!

If you’ve used soft plastics for saltwater fishing, then you know the #1 problem with using soft-plastic lures is that many of them quickly get ruined by the sharp mouths of many saltwater fish.

Of all the soft plastics out there that I’ve used so far, it seems as if the “ElaZtech” material used in Z-Man jerkbaits can withstand the most punishment without getting damaged.

I experimented with Z-Man lures years ago when I first learned about their durable lures, but I did not like them at the time because they proved to be difficult to rig due to their bouncy yet very strong material.

However, I have learned a cool trick that makes it as easy to rig Z-Man lures as the other brands with weaker material.

So scroll down to see a video showing the cool rigging trick and you’ll see how to rig a Z-Man

And you’ll also see a second “how to rig a Z-Man jerkbait” video that highlights a new weighted hook that Z-Man recently came up with to help their customers rig their lures.

Best of all, you’ll see the rigging steps that’ll enable you to effectively fish Z-Man jerkbaits in shallow water for redfish, snook, seatrout, tarpon, bass, and any other meat eater that feeds up in the shallows.

How to Rig A Z-Man Jerkbait

[Using Owner TwistLock Hooks]

 

Owner TwistLock hooks are one of the most popular of all weighted hooks because their unique centering pin allows us to more easily and effectively rig our soft plastics onto the hook.

But without the easy trick shown in the video below, Z-Man baits are very tough to rig on these popular hooks.

Steps For Rigging A Z-Man Jerkbait

  1. Create a groove through the center of the bait by poking the top with the point of the hook
  2. Once the grove is made, push the corkscrew through the top of the bait and twist
    until the entire corkscrew is buried into the plastic
  3. Find where the hook naturally goes through the bait
  4. Mark the natural spot where the hook will go through the bait with your thumb (or index finger)
  5. Push the hook through the bottom of the bait, up middle of the soft plastic, and push it
    out the top
  6. Make sure that the bait is in its natural shape (no curves or twists)
  7. Slide the small bait-stopper against the soft plastic to keep the hook in position
  8. If fishing heavy cover, slightly bury the hook point into the soft plastic

Rigging A Z-Man Jerkbait [VIDEO]

[Using Owner TwistLock Hooks]

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References from video:

Click here to learn about the Inshore Slammer course which guarantees you’ll be catching more slams than ever before.

How to Rig A Z-Man Jerkbait 

[Using Z-Man EZKeeperz Hooks]

EZ Keeper hook

Since the unique texture of Z-Man soft plastic lures makes rigging more difficult (for those who don’t know the trick shown above), they created a new hook that significantly helps anglers rig Z-Man lures.

How To Rig Lure Onto Z-Man Hooks [EZ-Keeperz]

  1. Push the soft plastic as far up the sharp end of the “horseshoe” as possible
  2. Push up on the soft plastic and squeeze the horseshoe together
  3. Find where the hook naturally goes through the bait & mark it with your finger
  4. Push the hook through the bottom of the bait, up middle of the soft plastic, and push it
    out the top
  5. Slide the small bait-stopper against the soft plastic to keep the hook in position
  6. If fishing heavy cover, slightly bury the hook point into the soft plastic

Rigging A Z-Man Jerkbait [VIDEO]

[Using Z-Man EZKeeperz Hooks]

Sign up for FREE to receive the latest saltwater fishing videos, tutorials, product reviews, and fishing product discounts!

References from video:

– See how to tie a great loop knot

How to catch more inshore slams in less time

Conclusion

By using either of these two methods, the act of rigging a Z-Man jerkbait can be just as easy (if not easier) than rigging other soft plastic lures with weaker material.

So if you were like me and turned away from Z-Man after some rigging frustration, I recommend giving them a shot again because their ability to withstand the sharp/rough mouths of our favorite saltwater species is extremely impressive.

For example, I was fishing down in the Keys recently with some friends for mangrove snapper on the flats and I caught over a dozen mangrove snapper and some trout on just one Z-Man bait while the others went through multiple packs of other baits.

If you want to see the EZ Keeper hook in action, here’s a link to a post showing some on-the-water footage… click here.

P.S. – If you’re in need of any help consistently catching more redfish, snook, seatrout, flounder, etc., then be sure to check out our Inshore Slammer course.

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RICHARD FIORENTINOCasey RiffleLuke SimondsNick NemethDarrel Kopsa Recent comment authors
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Richard Fiorentino
Member

On the Rigging ZMAN steps, step 7 mentions sliding the small bait-stopper to keep the hook in position. Could you explain this ? Thanks

Richard Fiorentino
Member

Because it is so tough to rig the ZMan, do you think it is ok to leave the twist lock hook in the ZMan for storage

Casey Riffle
Member

I leave mine rigged and back in the bag. Just make sure you rinse it off with fresh water before sealing the bag back up.

Richard Fiorentino
Member

Thanks Casey

Nick Nemeth
Member

Thank you for redirecting me to this helpful video Luke. I was getting very frustrated with the Owner twist locks combined with the Z-man lures that I love.

Darrel Kopsa
Member

Thanks for the tip. It is a simple fix and I can’t believe I didn’t try that mysel. Sometimes frustration just makes the thought process shut down. Just getting older.

Pamela Garringer
Member

ABSOLUTELY GREAT info…..so great to have you guys to help with ANY situation I find myself in….INSIDER is the ONLY way to go….I have lived on saltwater for over 55 years and your Saltstrong site is AMAZING to say the least……keep it coming boys……

Richard Fiorentino
Member

Luke – FYI – Saw this review on Bass Pro web site

Don’t buy! Don’t buy! The keeper does not work. Back to the drawing board ZMan engineers. You constantly have to re-rig the keeper. I love the plastic ball keeper on the hook shank. I wish more hook manufacturers would add this feature to their hooks. It helps keep the bait up flush the the barb. ZMan baits are notorious for falling down the hook shank and need to be pushed back up.

Richard Devereaux
Member

Watch “Rigging the Z-Man Trout Trick”
YouTube Z-Man Fishing TV C.A. Richardson 6/13/2016
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18k6wFGk-Ak

Richard Devereaux
Member

To me the Z Man EZ Keepers are disappointing. The U-shaped keeper is difficult to cleanly and neatly insert into the nose of the Z Man bait (even if a “pilot hole” is first made with the hook point). Also the EZ Keeperz’ rubber O-ring doesn’t stay snugly positioned against the Z Man bait’s belly.

After trying a variety of brands/styles I’ve found the Mustad UltraPoint KVD Weighted Grip-Pin Swimbait Hooks (available in various hook sizes and weights) work best with Z Man Elaztech baits:

http://www.basspro.com/shop/en/mustad-ultrapoint-kvd-weighted-grip-pin-swimbait-hook

Mustad also makes an un-weighted KVD Grip-Pin Swimbait Hook in a variety of hook sizes.

The Z Man Elaztech is “tough enough” to work well with Mustad’s Grip-Pins. I’ve found that the Gulp! and Zoom products are NOT “tough enough” to work well with Mustad’s Grip-Pins.

Brad
Guest
Brad

I’ve been using Zman products for years. Gamagatsu EWG weighted superline hooks work well, Mustad weighted Grip Pin hooks work even better for Texas rigging Zman baits. Both companies make these hooks in multiple sizes and weights from unweighted up to 1/4 ounce. Unlike the twist lock hooks there is no bait keeper, you simply slide the bait over the weighted portion of the hook when you Texas rig it. The Elaztech material is so stretchy and durable it slides right over the weight without tearing. In my experience this is much quicker than trying to thread the bait onto a twist lock style keeper, the baits also last longer because after a few hard fights the nose of the bait can get worn out and it is hard to get the bait to stay on the keeper. Both the EWG and Grip Pin hooks have a wider gap than the owner twist lock, giving the bait more room to clear when setting the hook, this allows you to get more solid hook sets and increases your hook up ratio. The weights on the EWG and Grip Pin hooks are fixed so they can’t be repositioned but when rigged on a Zman jerk shadz the baits will fall almost horizontally with a very natural fluttering action. Try them out I think you’ll find they are much easier and effective than the twist lock option.

Brian Furlow
Member

Great tip! I hear a lot of hype around Z Mann plastics. How do you feel their jerk baits produce compared to your favorite GULP brand?

Gary Rankel
Member

Another great tip, Luke. I’ve been using z-man plastics for years experimenting with different hooks. I love the twistlock hooks for other soft plastics but never thought of creating the groove in a z-man with the hook point as you demonstrated. Now, I’ll be able to use both types of hooks for z-man, gulp and other soft plastics. Of the two hooking methods shown above, do you have a preference for the z-man plastics?