I have talked previously about the underrated qualities of hair jigs. When I noticed that there was a Pennsylvania company producing high quality hair jigs, I knew I had to interview them. Fortunately, Josh Hartman, owner of Hollywood Hairjigs, agreed to talk to us. Josh filled us in not only about his hairjigs but also his techniques and strategies for catching big smallmouth and largemouth bass on hairjigs throughout the year.
Being a company from Pennsylvania, where does the name Hollywood Hairjigs come from?
It first really comes from a nickname I was given by some close friends, Hollywood Hartman. We’d be out fishing and you’d hear a, “Hollywood!”, every time I caught a nice smallie. Then nickname spread a bit and almost jokingly, I created a Hollywood Hairjigs Instagram account. I got a little more serious about my tying and things really took off from there.
Why do you think bass react so well to hair jigs in cold water conditions of the spring and fall?
I’d say the simplicity and overall subtleness of the hair jig make it such an effective cold water producer. If you think about it, bass aren’t the only things slowed down by the cold water, their forage is as well. Hair jigs can match this slowing of action but still provide a lot of life-like fur action to trigger strikes.
Many anglers will put the hair jigs away as the water warms up. Is that a mistake? What are situations that smallmouth bass anglers should continue to throw your jigs during the summer months?
There’s still a few of us Finesse Freaks out there that will throw hair year round. It’s a challenge to convince the power fisherman to throw hair in the summer but extreme upper temperatures can have the same effects on bass that cold water does. It’s also just a fun way to catch fish and very versatile to get bit in almost any situation.
What makes your jigs unique?
We are constantly trying to make the jig you receive from us tomorrow better than what you’ve ordered in the past. A lot of that comes directly from feedback and custom requests by some very accomplished fishermen all across the USA. A great example of this was our addition of the “Derby Day Freedom Fighter” line of premium hairjigs that features the Gamakatsu 114 hook. It was pretty much demanded by our tournament guys/gals, and we were happy to deliver. We’ve also very recently upgraded our standard, economy, hooks from Eagle Claw to VMC light wire hooks to make our base hair jig even better. We are always looking for improvements and innovations.
When throwing hair jigs, I tend to keep my color pattern simple. Most of the time, it is black and blue or brown. How do you approach color section for your jigs?
I think most guys have their favorite colors, and I’m no different. I’ve found that throughout the seasons or trips, bass will key in especially on a certain color or two. The fun part is figuring out that day’s “hot” color and just having a blast after that. Water clarity is also a big factor for picking out colors and making sure your jig is seen and seen as something natural. This summer we had ultra clear water in our low rivers so we found patterns of whites, greys, and natural minnow/crayfish colors were getting much more action than our normal dark patterns.
You also sell plastic trailers. Do you always fish with a trailer? How do you decide what trailer to fish?
I will fish with a trailer until the cold water bite gets really slow and I’ll then just throw a hair jig naked. I know there are different schools of thought on this but I prefer to bulk up my jigs when the bite is active and minimize when the bite slows down. In a week or so we will be releasing Craw trailers and Wasp trailers with ultra float buoyancy to go with our “BedHead Ned Rigs”. We’re really excited to see what damage these stand-up floating trailers will do on our smallies and bass across the country!
What is your personal best smallmouth bass caught on your jigs?
I wish I could brag the kind of numbers I see from our costumers in the Midwest…those are some giants. I do have a 20.25″ smallie out of the Susquehanna River along with a handful of other 20’s and countless on down. I was lucky enough to be fishing with my Dad, who was also crushing them, when I caught my biggest smallmouth and we could celebrate that rush together. That’s what it’s all about. Sharing techniques and memories with family and friends, you can’t beat that.
What do you feel is the ideal rod/reel setup for throwing hair jigs?
Everyone is going to have their own personal best feeling rod and reel setup but I could recommend what I like. With finesse fishing, you can definitely catch fish using a $20 reel but you’ll definitely have a more rewarding experience using better equipment. I highly recommend using fluorocarbon line or a flouro leader off braid…you’ll see a great improvement in feel. I think the #1 thing you need above all else is a great rod. I prefer a medium or medium/light rod with x-fast action. I just get the best feel of the bottom and strikes with this setup. Not sure if it’ll work for everyone, but it’s a good place to start.
What are the future plans for Hollywood Hairjigs?
We are always looking to release innovations and our twist on existing techniques with hair. Our BedHead Ned has really exploded on the small scale of our small business but it’s just destroying bass all over. We’re really excited about getting it out to as many fishermen as possible to give it a go but if you’re fishing tourney’s you don’t have to tell your buddies…haha.