Bassmaster Elite Series pro and Reins pro staff member David Walker designed a versatile piece of terminal tackle called the Reins Tungsten Sliding Football Head. The football-shaped weight allows anglers to try a new spin on a popular finesse rig, have an alternative to a football jig and utilize a Carolina-rig with more sensitivity. This one single head can do it all.
What Is It?
The tungsten head was designed by Walker to fill a gap in the terminal tackle on the market. “This was something that has been overlooked by companies and really fills a niche for something that will help with several techniques,” he begins.
The three keys to the design, according to Walker, are the fact that it is made of tungsten, has an insert and comes with a durable finish. “Tungsten, as we all know, is so much smaller and more sensitive and that really helps feel the bottom. You get that feedback from the weight so you can tell if the bottom is soft, rock, a roadbed or whatever it is,” he says. “You can really tell what is going on down there and that is where you will usually get a bite when the weight hits something along the bottom.”
The finish and added insert are two other keys to the weight. “All of the Reins products have an impeccable finish, it holds up unbelievably,” says the Tennesse pro. “The insert is another key because your line is always at risk of getting knicked and cut if you are using tungsten without an insert.”
The weight is available in both black and green pumpkin and ¼ oz., 3/8 oz., ½ oz., ¾ oz. and 1 oz.
A Finesse Approach: Shaky Head Style
The ¼ oz. head is what Walker will use when he is looking for a finesse rig like a shaky head. The sliding design of the head allows for the bait to have a unique action and any type of plastic will work.
Walker will also rig up a magnum sized shaky head with a larger weight and bigger worm for fishing offshore ledges. “You can use a much bigger hook than most shaky head jigheads and still get that same look,” he says.
Football Jig Replacement
The football head jig has legions of followers across the country. The design is great for fishing offshore, but it has some major drawbacks according to Walker. “Since the hook is molded into the weight, there is a big problem with fish jumping and throwing the hook,” he begins. “The other cool thing about this head is that you can use whatever brand of hook you like, any size you want and can use a variety of different plastics.”
Walker will fish the 3/8 oz. and ½ oz. rig most often when he is looking for a football jig replacement and likes how he can easily swap out different styles and colors of soft plastics. “Any type of soft plastic can be rigged like this. Worms, craws, lizards, or anything else are great with this head and it really allows you to customize your presentation,” he says.
There are times when Walker will fish the Reins Tungsten Sliding Football head with no skirt and just the soft plastic, but if he wants the look of a jig he will just simply add a punch skirt between the weight and hook. “You get the same look as a football head but it is much more weedless since the soft plastic is Texas-rigged,” he adds.
Fishing the rig, Walker finds himself dragging the bait most of the time. “I fish it with a worm or craw and just slowly drag it along the bottom,” he says. “You will also see that you get a lot fewer snags than a standard Texas-rig.”
The Sliding Football head can be fished many ways, but Walker says that on a Carolina-rig it is perfect. He likes the fact that the weight is made of tungsten to get a better feel and was built to handle a bead perfectly. “There is a concave section that holds the bead perfectly and doesn’t break it. I have never broken a single glass bead and with regular tungsten weights that is always a problem,” he shares. “Before this weight was available I used plastic beads and with the glass, it has a much louder clicking noise that you can’t get from plastic.”
Another key to the effectiveness of the weight is the shape and line tie. “The line passes through the weight at an offset and that gives your bait a great action. The football shape is much better for feel than a bullet or egg shape when you are Carolina-rigging,” he says. “You get a much better grip and feel with this shape and the tungsten helps you feel everything.”
The Reins Tungsten Sliding Football head offers a way to adjust your soft plastic for the condition and modify hook styles and sizes on the fly. This versatility is what Walker aimed for when designing it. There are many benefits to a football head design and the fact that is made of tungsten allows him to get a better feel of the bottom no matter how he attaches the weight.