Michael “Ike” Iaconelli’s stamp of approval got a workout recently, as VMC® prepared to release three new “Ike-Approved” offerings — the Swinging Rugby Jig, Powershot Hook and X-Long Wide Gap Hook.
“VMC and I teamed up again to expand the Ike-Approved arsenal to give anglers more ways to catch fish across the country,” Ike says. “No matter how they’re biting, there’s a VMC offering perfect for the pattern they’re on.”
In a career that includes a Bassmaster Classic championship and a Bassmaster Angler of the Year title, Ike knows well how to catch fish both deep and shallow with the VMC hooks and jigs that carry his name. VMC launched the Ike Approved product line after Iaconelli helped tweak several hook and jig designs, integrating the tricks of a veteran tournament pro.
“If you’re sick of missing bites with your plastics, you’re going to put more of those bites in the boat with VMC hooks and jigs,” Ike says. “When it comes to fish hook innovation and design, VMC is, without question, the pioneer.”
Swinging Rugby Jig
VMC updated its popular Rugby Jig design with an articulated, free-swinging jig head that allows soft-plastic baits to flow and move more naturally on the retrieve.
“Instead of being fused to the hook and static, that rugby ball-shaped head is attached to the hook eye by what looks like, essentially, a second line tie,” Ike explains. “That creates a hinge effect that allows my bait to swing and bounce and carom erratically as I drag, hop or twitch it around cover, be it rocks, docks, weeds or wood.”
A cross between a traditional round-ball head jig and a football head jig, the Swinging Rugby Jig’s head features a recessed line tie, which helps it come through cover much better than other jigs. “A major problem with normal jig heads is you’ve got a line tie that sticks out and catches weeds, and your knot’s not protected,” Ike explains.
An extra-long Z-Bend hook leg ensures that soft plastics rigged on the Swinging Rugby Jig won’t hinder its unique action. A wide-gap hook with a 3-degree offset point ensures solid hook-sets.
Swinging Rugby Jigs are available in Black, Brown and Green-Pumpkin, in five sizes, each of which come two per pack: 1/4 ounce (3/0 hook); 5/16 ounce (4/0 hook); 3/8 ounce (4/0 hook); 1/2 ounce (5/0 hook) and 3/4 ounce. (5/0 hook).
Suggested retail price: $4.99
With its extra-long Z-bend hook leg, VMC’s new Ike-Approved Powershot Hook ensures freedom of movement for effective dropshot presentations with no line twist. Its 3-degree offset hook point virtually guarantees solid hook-sets.
Although Ike acknowledges that some anglers might downplay the details that differentiate one hook from another, he insists the key to increasing your hook-up percentage is that 3-degree offset. “That little tweak is going to put a lot more fish in the boat,” he says.
VMC’s new Powershot Hooks are available in three sizes: 3/0, 4/0 and 5/0.
Suggested retail price: $4.99
X-Long Wide Gap Hook
When fish are biting tubes and hollow-belly soft baits, Ike rigs them up on an X-Long Wide Gap Hook.
Featuring a unique, elongated locking-bend design with a microbarb, the X-Long Wide Gap Hook perfectly secures even the biggest and longest of your favorite soft plastics. “When your bait doesn’t keep slipping down the shank, you’ll spend less time re-rigging and more time fishing,” Ike says.
Forged from extremely tough and lightweight Vanadium® Steel with a black-nickel finish, the X-Long Wide Gap Hook is 25 percent stronger than hooks made from a lesser-quality material. A chemically sharpened needle point offers extremely fast and effortless penetration power.
The X-Long Wide Gap Hook also features a 3-degree offset point, as well as a resin-closed eye that prevents line slippage. It’s available in three sizes: 3/0, 4/0 and 5/0.
Suggested retail price: $3.49