Last year Tommy Biffle won the last B.A.S.S. event the Sooner Run on Fort Gibson Lake in Muskogee, Okla. He won using a Biffle Bug on a Biffle HardHead (which is a jig with the hook on a swivel). I have been intrigued with this lure since last June.
I had the opportunity to use a variation of this lure from Atomic Tackle Company called the Ball and Chain in the ½ oz version. You can order them in ½ oz thru 1.5 oz. The lure is a football head with a swivel that attaches to a 4/0 VMC wide gap worm hook (You can order them with any size hook you want). This allows your soft plastic to swing freely from side to side, unlike a traditional jig where the movement of your trailer is only in the claws.
Being that the Ball and chain has a football head it works great when fishing rocks. You can drag the lure over a rocky bank and it won’t hang up. I used it on a rocky drop off and flat rocky bank. I used 20 lbs Vicious Fluorocarbon. I used a 7 ft medium heavy Berkley lighting rod with a Quantum Bill Dance reel (Upgraded bearings). I put a Berkley HAVOC Pit Boss in California color on the Ball and Chain. I found that the Ball and Chain worked better with thinner bodied plastics like the Pit Boss and Strike King Rage Tail Craw. You want a heavy action rod like you would use with any other jig.
You rig the Ball and Chain like you do a normal Texas rigged soft plastic. Because you have a free swinging hook you can also rig it weed less by skin hooking the lure. You can leave the hook exposed but there is no need to.
I would make a long cast to the bank and slowly drag the Ball and Chain along the bottom. After each sweep of the rod I would let the ball and Chain sit on the bottom well I only reeled in the slack line I had created. As the lure set the Pit Boss would swing back and forth with the movement of the water. The claws would also be moving. So not only are you getting the movement from the claws but the entire plastic was moving side to side well the claws moved up and down or side to side.
I found that the bites feel like a Texas rigged soft plastic, where you feel the bite, when I set the hook immediately I would miss the fish. If waited and let the bass take the lure better I could set the hook and land the fish. When setting the hook you need a strong hook set like you would with a normal jig. The bites came during the pause of the lure well I was reeling up the slack.
Over all the Ball and Chain is a great lure, and are $3.25 each (order here). The Ball and chain is defiantly best suited around rocks. I tried it in some lay downs and had a very hard time bring it thru the trees. Not because of the hook (Which is Texas rigged and skin hooked) but because of the head catching on limbs. The Ball and Chain get’s 8 out of 10 in my book. The head holds up well in the rocks and does not ding up bad, which allows you to use the lure for a long time. It’s easy to use as well; if you can use a jig you can use a Ball and Chain so go out and get some today.