Upper Banner Ad

Mojos – Everyone is Doing Everything Wrong!

By Capt Andy LoCascio - 06/08/2023 - Short URL: https://neangling.com/?p=8421

There is plenty of debate about the exact origin and development of the mojo. It is irrelevant. This is just a simple tandem trolling rig with countless variations used primarily to target Striped Bass. It would be easy to write a multi-part series just to address this technique. I am going to keep it simple, dispel all the misinformation, offer a great alternative, and make us all better fishermen.

I apologize in advance for my tone in the observations below. I freely admit I have done all of the silly things addressed below.

Mojo Depths and The Drop-back

Striped Bass on MojosIt is been stated (and re-stated) countless times that the technique for setting the lures back is drop it until it hits the bottom, lock it up, and let the water resistance lift the lure off the bottom. Does anyone else realize how stupid this is? You have no idea what depth the lure is at and it changes when you make a turn, change speed, use different weight, use a lure with different water resistance, and different diameter line. If you do this, just admit you have no idea exactly what depth your lure is at.
This is even sillier when you realize your lures are probably just off the bottom while targeting a fish with eyes on then top of its head that prefers to ambush its prey from below.
I suspect this is effective targeting stripers in deep water that are holding tight to the bottom. However, the mojo technique is a lot more effective when targeting fish that are actually feeding.

Here are my tips for doing this better and catching striped bass:

  • Pick one speed (more on that below) that usually the best for your conditions
  • Use a reel with a line counter or mark your line ever 50ft and know how many turns that is
  • Use a lure with the least amount of water resistance (more of that below)
  • Use braided line (low diameter, no stretch and more forgiving than wire)
  • Learn exactly how deep your lures are with a specific amount of drop-back by testing on smooth sandy bottom
  • Be sure your lures are at least slightly above the depths where you are marking fish, never below!

Mojo Styles and Weights for Striped Bass

I suspect the huge ball-head jig originally used to target striped bass was chosen because someone thought they needed a huge target that included a ton of hair and a giant paddle tail. It was certainly fished on large diameter mono and there were tons of water resistance. Cassette tapes were certainly considered revolutionary when they appeared, but we have outgrown them. For some reason, we are struggling to outgrow the original mojo design despite all the advances in line, heads, and paddle tails.
Most Striped Bass anglers in the northeast are using an old technique that was created for different conditions. They catch a few fish and do not bother to get better. If you are using the old-style mojos for Striped Bass, you are basically using a Swiss army knife (looks like many things) instead of something that mimics what the fish actually eat!

It is time to give away all your giant ball-head jigs or melt them down for sinkers. Here are my tips for doing this better:

  • Lose the obsession with having a giant target, that might make the lure more visible, but the handicaps far outweigh the benefits. If you want more visibility use outrodders (not outriggers) to widen your spread and put a third rod down the middle.
  • Choose the most hydrodynamic head shape. A pointed bullet that is smooth on the bottom and beveled on top trolls the deepest (see the end of this article).
  • Have a reasonable size skirt with NO forward hair (just too much resistance)
  • When targeting Striped Bass we typically use a 6 ounce head on the bottom and then 2-4 ounce head on long trailer (top). If you want to get down deeper, troll slower, let out more line, or just keep making S-turns.

In summary, you need to make your lure mimic something the fish would actually eat instead of an angry yellow cannonball. Would you throw a huge cannonball head with a 9-inch and two hooks in the shallows to target Striped Bass? Nope, but you would throw a paddle-tail shad (more on that below).

Mojo Colors

This is probably the only thing that most anglers do correctly. Since this technique is used solely targeting stripers in deeper water, and I propose to use a smaller presentation, visibility is critical. Striped Bass vision peaks at the Chartreuse wavelength. However, based on the water conditions, white is often more visible. You should have an equal amount of those two colors. I prefer that the heads, tails, and skirts all match.

Mojo Trolling Speed for Striped Bass

The online consensus often states 2-4 knots (2.3-4.6 mph). Since the speed and water resistance greatly impact depth, it is critical you use a lure with the least water resistance (least affected by speed). It makes it much easier to find the best speed for the conditions. My personal preference is right on the middle at just under 3 knots.

Use your preferred speed only when trolling across the current or when current is really not a factor. If you are forced to troll up-current, you want to be as slow as possible. Striped Bass are nearly always facing into the current and you are pulling the lures past them from behind. You need to keep your speed over-ground as slow as possible to keep the lure in the hit-zone longer.  Know that the current in the face of the lure is keeping it higher in the water column and giving it plenty of action.

Trolling down-current is actually much harder. You must move faster than the current or the lures will sink to the bottom. That means your speed over ground is going to very high and unless you hit the fish on the nose with lure, they probably won’t hit it. In both cases making S-turns is critical. It varies the depths of the lures, but also keeps them in the hit-zone longer.

Mojo Hooks and Tails

The two-hook 9-inch tail combination is outdated. We do not use the 9-inch tail because the benefit of slightly increased visibility is offset by the additional water resistance and the need for two hooks. Two hooks are dangerous, damaging to the fish, and makes changing the tail more difficult. Worse the standard 9/0 J-hooks yield a very small hook gap between the tail and the hook point.

A 6-inch tail with a single hook makes a much better presentation, has less water resistance, is better for the striped bass, safer to use, and easier to swap out the tail. The hook gap is actually the most critical (see my solution at the end of the article). Nothing beats a wide-gap swinging J-hook in a 6-inch paddle tail.

Best Mojo Rig for Striped Bass

I never liked the traditional mojo rig, but have to admit there were times when it was the best technique. Two seasons ago we started trolling the Al Gags Whip-It fish on light spinning tackle and it revolutionized our early spring striper bite. The shape of the head has minimum water resistance and the bevel on top drive it even deeper. Additionally, this lure was specifically designed for Striped Bass. The custom Owner hook has a huge gap that is perfect for paddle tails.

We started using the Whip-It Fish as the trailer (high) lure on our mojos and saw that nearly every fish was being caught on the that. I called Al and asked him to build a custom mojo rig for us. We gave him the specs, he sent as a rig that is now become the ONLY mojo rig we use on all our boats.

Here are the details:

  • Traditional 3-way swivel with the deep (heavy) lure and a long trailer (light) lure
  • Low-profile skirted 2-ounce trailer (high) lure with a 6-inch tail
  • Low-profile skirted 6-ounce deep lure with a 6-inch tail
  • Custom Owner wide-gap hook on the 2-ounce lure
  • Custom Owner swinging hook on the 6-ounce lure with a huge gap
  • The skirts and tails are very easy to change

This is an 8-ounce rig with skirted lues and the big gap custom hooks that make the Whip-It Fish so popular. These lures have very little water resistance. It is easy to control the depth and we fish them effectively in depths as shallow as 15ft and deeper than 50ft.

Full Disclosure – We pay for everything that we use. I am sharing this with you because our mission is to make everyone better, find ways to protect and conserve Striped Bass, and keep you coming back to our website.

Watch on YouTube or share this link: http://youtu.be/C17w39ijuAY?rel=0

Full Disclosure – We pay for everything that we use. I am sharing this with you because our mission is to make everyone better, find ways to protect and conserve Striped Bass, and keep you coming back to our website.

By Capt Andy LoCascio - Host of Northeast Angling TV
Share your comments on the Northeast Angling Facebook page

Tackle Direct Tackle Direct Tackle Direct Tackle Direct