Jigs: Why buy when you can DIY!

Well winter has hit and it has hit hard!  Daily highs are barely creeping into the 30's and some days the lows are in the negatives.  This brutally cold weather in combination with some of the shortest days of the year is...well...frustrating.  It really doesn't help that I don't ice fish or hunt, thus leaving me with the ever growing cabin fever.

^Does this sound like you??

If so let me help you!  When cabin fever sets in there are two things I do to get me ready for Spring.  The first is tying up a whole mess of jigs and the second is putting the reels through a deep clean.  Now I am not a big expert on the latter but I can give some help with the jigs.

Tying jigs is something that I have been doing for a few years now.  There is something that can be so rewarding about the process.  There is nothing better than tying a new color you thought up and catching fish on it!  It's a great feeling knowing that your ingenuity and know how made that and that it actually caught fish!  Additionally hand tying jigs have many benefits over their store bought comrades.  They allow for whatever color combinations and layering you can dream, the customization can be put on any jighead you desire, you can use real rubber giving a more lifelike action, and being hand tied gives the skirt a tighter fit on the jighead resulting in more flair and fluttering in the water.

Now let's get started!

Supplies needed
All the essentials...don't hate on the penguin cookie jar either...
You can never have enough skirts!
  • Jig vise (kits can be found to include everything)
  • bobbin
  • small scissors 
  • Thread...ask permission before you go raiding your mother's or wife's button repair kit or they will be wondering where all the brown and green went!
  • Skirting material can be found in tabs.  I usually use 2-3 tabs of silicon with a tab of real rubber.
  • Jigheads, I pour my own using do it molds but many companies sell painted or unpainted weedless jigheads.
  • Super glue, I use this to glue in the weedguard after fying the skirt.
The beginning of a masterpiece.
I start by adjusting the vise to allow the jighead to fit tightly within the vise.  I then add a base wrap of thread to jighead using a cross wrap pattern (allows it to stay wrapped tightly), this base wrap causes friction on the skirt to keep it from twisting.  

After you have the beginning wraps in place, it's time to begin to start planning the colors.  Now one thing I have learned with tying jigs is you can go overboard with color very quickly.  I try to make 2/3 of my jig a base color (brown, black, green pumpkin, etc.)  The other 1/3 is usually my accent color such as blue, chartreuse, orange, etc.  Additionally, I prefer to tie my jigs thicker.  Skirting material can always been removed but after it's all said and done it can't be added! I also like to layer my jigs, starting with the tabs of real rubber, followed with my base silicon color, and finished with my accents.  I have found that this layering pattern allows it to look the most natural in the water and it's the easiest to work with since real rubber can be a pain.  In between layers, I prefer 4-5 tight wraps to keep that skirt layer from moving.  Additionally, before I pull the wraps tight I make sure the skirt is perfectly spaced around the jighead including enough length behind the hook.

Layer 1 adding the rubber materials
Layer 2 adding the base silicon tabs

layer 4 the final accent pieces

Layer 3 adding the beginning accent colors

Make sure to cut the skirt tabs apart.
Now that the final layer is added I tie an overhand knot that is cinched tight around the skirts.  After this first knot I repeat with 5 more tight wraps followed by two more over hand knots.  I then trim the thread and begin cutting the tabs off of the silicon skirts.  The rubber skirts must then be pulled apart strip by strip.  

Very close to being done!
After the skirt is pulled apart, I then trim the skirt to its desired length usually slightly below the bend of the hook.  I then glue the weedguard into the jig head.  I prefer to use the ultra gel super glue, Loctite and Gorilla glue make a good one!  The ultra gel glue sits in the weedguard slot better.

After the weedguard has been glued I let it sit for about 24 hours and you are done!  Next thing to do is go try it out!  The best part about all of this is that any little step can be tweaked or modified to fit your needs and wants!  It takes a slight initial investment but it makes for a funny hobby when you can't be out on the water.  Plus it can drastically help put more fish in your boat!  Give it a try this winter!