Advanced Product Review – Larew Biffle Hardhead

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story and photos by Dan O’Sullivan

Until now our product reviews we have discussed products that have had some semblance of an engineering feat to construct them. In this edition, we wanted to focus on a product that actually has two components, and by nature are very simplistic designs, but create results on the water.

AdvancedProductReviewBiffleHardheadThat product is the Gene Larew Biffle Bug and Hardhead.

These are actually two distinct products in the Larew catalog, as they are sold separately, can be rigged to fish together, but can also be used with other products. We will look at the products individually, and discuss how to fish them together; as instructed by Biffle himself.

Biffle Bug
The Biffle Bug is a soft plastic creature bait that Biffle and the team at Gene Larew lures worked on together. As with any lure, the angler has an idea of what they would like the lure to do, the features they would like in it, and the company and the angler work together to make it happen.

In the case of the Biffle Bug, being a Flipping specialist, Biffle wanted a creature bait with ribbed body, and appendages for action. But the Wagoner, Okla. pro wanted to be able to add rattles to the lure. The answer was to construct the lure with a hollow body. But, that also created another problem as a tube body does not hold a heavy gauge Flippin’ hook very well, or for very long.

So, Larew built “The Bug” as they call it with a solid head for approximately one quarter of the hollow body so that Biffle could rig the lure with a worm rattle in it. The body itself features significant ribbing, like many of the creature baits on the market, and it has a recessed vein down the middle so that an extra wide gap style hook can be more easily rigged weedless.

The flappers and the tail are unique. Unlike other creature baits that have flat side flippers and a two piece tail, the Biffle Bug’s side flappers are actually curved with disk shaped tabs at the end that create a more erratic kicking action on the drop, or the retrieve.

Biffle has said that he never split tails on any other creature bait that he had ever used, so he had the AdvancedProductReviewBiffleHardheadCloseupCatchdesigners create a thin tail that is more cupped on the underside to catch water and give it more of a platypus, flapping, up and down action. Because it is so thin, the tail moves very well in the water when hopped or when falling.

The Biffle Bug comes in two sizes, the original Biffle Bug is 4.25 inches, while the junior version measures at 3.5 inches; they are available in 33 colors.

The fishing world got introduced to the Biffle Hardhead when Biffle won the final event of the 2010 Bassmaster Elite Series event on Fort Gibson Lake. Biffle won the Sooner run event by banging his namesake products across rocky flats; he coined the technique “Buggin'”

The Biffle Hardhead is a simple product. It is a football head with two loops molded into the body, one of them serves as a line tie, the other serves as the connection piece for the free swinging Owner J-Hook. The loops that come out of the lead are at 90-degrees from each other. The line tie portion is at the top of the head, which helps keep the knot up and out of the way of direct hits with rocks and other obstructions. The hook connection protrudes from the rear of the head. The Owner J-Hook attached is one of two sizes; 3/0 or 4/0, depending on the size of the head. The 3/16-ounce size comes with a 3/0 hook, the 5/16, 7/16 and 11/16 all come with the 4/0 size hook.

The heads are available in one color that the company calls Copperhead. It is an antiqued black / copper that matches nicely with almost any color Biffle Bug, or any other bait that it is rigged with. It works well with the Biffle Bug, but will also be very effective with the company’s Salt Flick’R, Hoo Daddy, Sweet Swimmer or any other creature bait or swimbait that is attached.

Rigging for Buggin’
The Biffle Buggin’ rig; when set up by Biffle, includes the Hardhead and an Original Biffle Bug. The lure is Texas rigged on the J Hook by making sure the hook point is pulled out of the solid portion of the head of the Biffle Bug.

AdvancedProductReviewBiffleHardheadSetupThe hook is turned and inserted from the bottom of the bait, and the point of the hook is laid flat in the recessed vein on the top of the bait. There is no need to actually Tex-pose the hook point as it sits flush against the plastic and comes through the weeds very well.

If you would like to insert a glass worm rattle, you can do that immediately prior to inserting the hook point into the bottom of the bait.

Rigging the Bug for Flippin’
While we did not take any pictures specifically for this type of presentation, the Biffle Bug is prime for accepting a 4/0 or 5/0 wide gap or straight shank Flippin’ hook. So, in rigging for pitching, a 5/16-ounce sinker with a strong wide gap hook, or for Punching in grass, a 4/0 or 5/0 straight shank Flippin’ hook with a 3/4 to 1.5-ounce tungsten sinker is best.

I’ve been fortunate to have been taught the Buggin’ technique by Biffle himself at writer’s conferences and other events for articles, and have experienced success on the setup to the point that I have one tied on my own rods just about every time I go fishing at home.

Biffle’s easiest explanation of the technique is that he uses it as his “soft plastic crankbait.” He makes long casts with the lure on 17 to 20-pound-test Sunline Shooter Fluorocarbon on his signature 6’10” Quantum Tour Biffle Rod and a Quantum Burner reel with 7.0:1 retrieve speed. Once the lure hits bottom, Biffle begins a retrieve that is steady, yet slow enough to keep the jighead in contact with the bottom.

Choosing a jighead size that allows you to stay in contact with the bottom is important. If fishing flats to about 15 feet, the 7/6-ounce size will be plenty, but if fishing parallel along bluff walls, then the 11/16-ounce size will suit better. The 5/16-ounce size is best for water six feet and shallower. Biffle himself uses the 7/16-ounce size the majority of the time.

AdvancedProductReviewBiffleHardheadBiffleCloseupWhile it may seem hard to distinguish bites amongst the banging of the jighead on the rocks on the bottom of the lake. But, trust me, the bass will let you know that they are there. They will either smack it hard, similar to a spinnerbait bite, or they will push it at you so that you feel a loss of contact with the lure. It is actually quite a simple lure to fish.

Biffle Bugs and Hardheads are available at Monster Fishing Tackle