Anyone who knows me at all knows that I'm a diehard jig fanatic. Any jig really, flippin' jigs, football jigs, finesse jigs, tube jigs, swimming jigs, whatever, they’re all awesome. Plain and simple, they're big fish baits and I'll happily go on record saying that at least 70% of the real big bass that I've caught over the years have all come on some sort of jig. I absolutely love it! It's all about the bite and the hook set, they eat it and I jack their jaw for it.
Being that I'm 100% comfortable when I'm slinging a jig, I have picked up a few tricks of the trade that I truly believe help me catch more and bigger fish. In my opinion, a jig directly out of the package isn't ready to be fished until I have put some love into it by tricking it out a bit.
First thing I do is rip the factory skirt off the jig I'm going to be using. When deciding what color skirt to tie on, I take a couple different factors into consideration. The two most important factors are water clarity and forage. I always use one of three different colors as my primary color when tying a jig. These colors are black, brown and green pumpkin and no matter where you are in the country those are fish catching colors. If I'm fishing dirty water I'll go with black and when the water is clear I'll go with brown or green pumpkin. I usually go with about 50%-75% of the skirt being my primary color and 25% as the flair color. Some good flair colors are blue, pumpkin, orange, purple and chartreuse. By combining these colors I make my version of the already popular skirt combos like black and blue, green pumpkin/brown and peanut butter and jelly.
To tie your own jigs you'll need to purchase some equipment to get started. The following is a list of what you'll need to have.
Jig Tying Vice - Also known as fly tying devices, these range in value from $10 to $500. It doesn't matter what you spend on these as long as you get one that's sturdy and will easily hold a 5/0 hook. A lot of the vices on the market don't get that large as they're more meant for small flies and not bass jigs.
Bobbin and Tying Thread - The bobbin holds the spool of tying thread making it a lot easier to tie the jig. These also vary in price but I have never spent more than five dollars on a single bobbin. As far as the thread needed to tie the jigs, I go with Gudebrod 3/0 Kevlar Thread or feel free to use small diameter braided line like Seaguar Kanzen Braid. Both are very strong and neither weakens when saturated in water.
Skirt Material - I like to use a lot of round rubber when tying my skirts. I believe the action is second to none, however I also like to add a little silicone skirting as well. The one thing round rubber or hydro silk skirts lacks that silicone doesn't is the printed patterns. Round rubber is a solid one color where silicone comes in many different patterns and colors, making it ideal for adding that bit of flare to the jig.
Accessories - These are rattle, trailors, and chunk slings. I go with a good rattle, a Tungsten Pod Rattle. Trailers I switch up a bit but usually prefer the Yum Chunk or a Gary Yamamoto Twin Tail Grub and I always use a Vertical Lures ChunkX Sling to keep my trailer intact. You really can get more out of your trailers by taken the time to rig one up. One other trick that I have been getting into is removing the factory brush guard and replacing it with a homemade fluorocarbon one or at very least one that matches the skirt.
Being that I'm getting ready for a bass tournament on Missouri’s Table Rock Lake, I've been tying up some jigs that I know will get the job done. In the past I have done extremely well in that part of the country fishing deep points with football jigs and one color that has performed well for me over the years is peanut butter and jelly. For the demonstration I will be tying up a 1/2 oz. Tacklesmith Tungsten Football Jig in the peanut butter and jelly color.
The first step in tying your own jig is to securely clamp your jig to the vice. Then take your tying thread along with the bobbin and tie a over hand knot along the very top of the jig collar. Using a tight line start wrapping the upper collar as this usually takes about 10 to 15 full wraps.
Next, start adding in small strips of skirting material. I always get all the skirt strips in on one pass. For this jig, it goes one strip of brown, then a strip of purple, another strip of brown, followed by another strip of purple and finally ending with a strip of brown. When first starting out, this part proved to be the most challenging, but after just a few attempts you'll have this mastered. It just takes a few tries to train your hands to work with all the different strands while trying to keep a tight wrap on the thread and the material at the same time.
Once I get all the material tightly in place I'll continue on wrapping the skirt. Again I stress the importance in keeping a tight line while wrapping. A tight wrap insures the skirt will not easily unravel on me. I wrap about 15 more times before doing the first set of three consecutive overhand knots. After I get done with the last knot, I make 5 more wraps, followed by three more knots. This helps insure the wrap will not come undone. Once I have the jig all wrapped up nice and tied off securely, I'll cut the thread and start preparing it for a haircut. This is also where I would cut the crown on the head of the jig if I were looking for a finesse cut. Simply cut the outer strands of the skirt, leaving just a inch, that will make the skirt stick up and form a crown on the head of the jig. For this jig I left the outer strands long so it provides a bigger profile in the water.
The jig is now ready to go with the exception of adding a few accessories. First I thread up a Vertical Lures ChunkX Sling, followed by a rattle, and then a trailer. For this jig I went with a Gary Yamamoto Twin Tail Grub (Green Pumpkin).
A big part of having a successful day on the water is having confidence in what you’re doing and that comes with having confidence in what your using. I hope this helps anyone that is looking to give themselves an edge against the bass in their lakes. If you have any further questions on any of the information I just went over, please don't hesitate to contact me. Happy Tying!
About the Author – Josh Douglas is a tournament bass fisherman and a full time guide on Minnesota’s, Lake Minnetonka. He’s got the Bassmaster Opens, FLW Evertstarts and the NABC Tournament trail slated for the 2012 season with the ultimate goal of qualifying for the tour level. When not on the water, Josh enjoys writing about his passion of bass fishing through numerous outlets including his personal website, www.joshdouglasfishing.com.