MARCH 1995 VOLUME 28, NO. 3
By Jill Barnes
the time, Jeff Cammerino was a novice bass angler - just a kid, really.
But he had the instincts of a seasoned pro.
One day, as he cast from shore, he noticed the bass were ignoring his
offering, yet were attracted to a gypsy moth larva that fell from a nearby tree.
watched as the larva struggled and wiggled,” Cammerino said.
“The action enticed bass to strike.
It got me to thinking and experimenting.”
after more than 15 years of experimenting and refining, Cammerino has created a
lure that imitates the moth larvae and has spawned a new and different bass
fishing technique. Cammerino’s
“Jersey Riggs” quickly became one of the hottest-selling baits in the New
Jersey/New York/Pennsylvania region. More
recently, they have begun to catch on in surrounding states, and some of the top
B.A.S.S. pros are quietly using them as well, Cammerino says.
worked as the fishing department manager for more than 20 years, and I’ve
never seen a lure ‘fly’ off the shelf like Jersey Riggs have,” says Gary
Sipos of Meltzer’s Sporting Goods of Garfield, N.J.
“I’ve tried it, so I know it works.”
lure doesn’t look like much - only a straight, soft plastic tube 3 1/2 inches
long - but its unique action is amazingly attractive to finicky bass.
38, of Lyndhurst, N.J., did extensive testing on his lure before finding just
the right length and consistency of plastic.
He bought pounds of plastic worms, and he cut, melted and shaped them
until he found a design with a neutral buoyancy.
A No. 1 bait hook rigged through the middle of the worm makes it sink
ever so slowly.
didn’t want the worm to sink too fast or too slow,” Cammerino reports.
“I wanted it to stay in the strike zone as long as possible.
The weight of the hook is all you need.
As the Jersey Riggs sinks, you reel slowly, twitching it every so often.
That makes the worm bend into a U shape.
The fact that the lure doesn’t move very far gives the bass more
incentive to strike. Unlike a
spinnerbait, plug or even a regular plastic worm, it doesn’t move away from
a former studio guitarist, worked constantly over the years to develop his idea
into a reliable bass lure. Upon
joining the Essex County Bassmaster Fishing Club, a B.A.S.S. chapter in New
Jersey, in 1984, Cammerino used the technique he calls “Jersey Rigging” to
win a spring tournament “when no one else could catch any fish,” recalls
Bill Selawsky, now president of the club. “At
the weigh-in, Jeff and his fishing partner weighed in 10 bass for almost 30
pounds. All our members were in
involved fellow club members in testing prototype sizes, shapes and colors, then
decided in 1990 to begin marketing his invention.
kept getting positive feedback,” Cammerino says.
“People were catching fish and catching their limit, so I knew I was on
the right track.”
special equipment is needed to fish Jersey Riggs, Cammerino suggests a spinning
reel spooled with a 6- or 8-pound-test line and a 5 1/2-foot rod.
He inserts a No. 1 or 1/0 hook through the center of the worm,
perpendicular to the length of the lure.
the setup reminds one of a Whacky Worm, it’s quite different, according to
Harvey Knight of North Jersey Marine, who first met Cammerino and witnessed the
success of Jersey Rigging in 1986.
technique is simple: You cast the
lure to a likely spot, let it sink, then twitch it while reeling slowly.
The action and the extended time in the strike zone seem to drive the
fish wild. Some bass smash it,
hooking themselves immediately. Others
mouth the bait ands swim away slowly, allowing ample time to set the hook.
you don’t have a strike in about 30 seconds, reel in and cast somewhere
else,” Cammerino says, “There aren’t any fish there.”
first seeing the Jersey Riggs, most bass fishermen have trouble believing that
wasn’t that thrilled with the product when I first tried it,” said Wayne
Middleton, an angler from Hewitt, N.J. “But
it catches fish. I don’t have a
boat and usually fish from the shoreline, and I’ve hooked bass up to 9 pounds.
One day when I was out in a friend’s boat, I fished for two hours and
caught 28 fish, all keeper size. One
of the great things is the worm lasts awhile.
It doesn’t break or get torn as fast as other plastic worms.”
Riggs can be worked in water from 6 inches to as deep as 10 feet.
Throw it around stumps, rocks, edges of weedbeds and under docks.
“It’s probably not at its best when it’s windy, but no lure is
perfect for every condition,” Cammerino says.
Gorcica of North Jersey Marine especially likes fishing the Jersey Riggs around
docks in Lake Hopatcong, the biggest inland body of water in the state.
“On a bright day, you can skip it to the back reaches of the dock and
find some big fish hiding back there. I’ve
caught fish up to 3 1/2 pounds that way.”
Riggs comes in about 15 colors, including solid colors and clear with colored
flakes. Cammerino likes subtle,
natural colors like motoroil during the spawn, “when we know where the fish
are,” but says brighter colors like gold and silver help attract fish in the
post-spawn phase. Gorcica prefers
pearl and junebug, and Middleton favors purple and smoke/black in cool water and
clear with gold or silver flake in warm water.
For more information about Jersey Riggs, contact Cammerino at 75 Mountain Lake Estates, Hawley, PA 18428; phone (570) 226-6304.
© copyright 2003 Jersey Riggs. All rights reserved.