I have been wondering whether a review of these new jigs from Majorcraft was warranted? Simply because on social media these metals have been a massive hit. So that should be it, huge success, everyone likes them, job done eh? Well, social media posts disappear with time, so maybe you will indulge me in this feature about these brand new LRF weapons?
Let’s begin at the start, back in the locked down days of January 2021, when myself, Richard Salter and Andy Mytton all found ourselves fawning at pictures of new jigs from Japan. Through our links with Majorcraft we get an insight into brand new tackle and these tiny jigs, coming in as light as 0.4g, (yes, point four of a gram!), had us excited. The Lerfers in the Far East were catching all kinds of species on them, which coupled with their unique looks, had us salivating.
Eventually Majorcraft UK were able to source the jigs, named the Nano Aji, and bring them into the UK market. These jigs arrived just in time for The Big Lerf Weekender and they would go on to leave a lasting impression.
So how do I describe the lures? Well these are an oval shaped metal jig, with an eye on either end for attaching hooks, the top bearing a rather flashy assist hook (more on that in a moment). The body of the jig is slightly concave on one side and convex on the other, not quite spoon like but enough to give it a real wobble on the drop. There is a huge range of colours ranging from UV Sardine to Glow Pink and other garish colours. These are coloured to trigger strikes, not really imitate anything that natural. The mostly two tone designs are finished off with a cute cartoon style eye on both sides, making it clear what is supposed to be the ‘head end’.
The assist hook is the game changer here though. For those who don’t know, an assist hook is a hook that is not fixed straight to the lure, instead there is a short length of braid or similar material before the hook. The hooks are often decorated with tinsel or other flashy material, making them an attractor all on their own. The assist has the benefit of minimising the risk of a fish using the weight of the jig to shake the hook, you can also combine them with a single or treble on the back of the jig to maximise hook ups.
The assist hook that comes with the Nano Ajis is beautifully designed. It comes with a flash of imitation herring skin and silver fibres. Coupled with the gold, ultrasharp hook, these assists are lures of their own. In fact on the very small versions of these jigs, there is an argument to say they are just tiny weights to help you cast the Sabiki style assist hook. Either way, it works!
Even though we have only had these jigs for a couple of months at the time of writing, they have accounted for a frankly astonishing number of species. Fished midwater or bumped along the bottom, these lures have caught everything from scad to flounder and even tompot blennies! I can only think their small profile, colourful designs and quality assist hooks has led to their success.
In the 0.6 and 1.5g sizes, I have been fishing these like I would a jighead of a similar weight. I cast them out, let them find the bottom, pause, then lift and let it fall again. I add all kinds of twitches and long pauses, as long as the bottom is clear of most snags you can get away with it. The hits often come on the pauses, and obviously its worth striking earlier than you would with a scented soft plastic. It can be frustrating but oh so satisfying when you hook up.
The 3g and 5g, I fish with a more standard, ‘lift and fall’ retrieve in midwater or near the bottom. This has nailed me some lovely sized scad and bass, who engulf the jig on the drop. The straight retrieve also appears like a worthwhile technique too as they have a nice wobble coming in. These are a size I’m sure will catch plenty of species in the months to come.
These jigs aren’t perfect though, I can’t understand why all the weights have the same assist hook size? It seems a strange choice from Majorcraft. For the 5g versions I would recommend adding a second hook to the back to help hook ups, especially from the likes of garfish. Having a single assist is great for presentation and fish care but you will miss the occasional hit even on the smaller sizes, as the fish misses the hook and hits the body.
Majorcraft clearly have realised that the larger sizes could do with an additional hook, because they sell an additional clip on trailer hook. These handy trailers can be used to add a soft plastic, which could be the difference on difficult days. I can see them being very useful in the winter, when a section of scented Isome or Gulp could be added to produce bites in colder water.
So these jigs can be found priced between £5-6. Although this is expensive for a tiny piece of metal, because of the lightness and single assist hook, you don’t lose them easily. I think these are a jig that will continue to push the boundaries of what we define as a ‘jigging target species’. An absolute must in the tackle box in my opinion.