I have been planning this article for several months now, and truthfully with the reaction I have had on Facebook with some of the pictures I leaked out last Friday, I had second thoughts. People are already asking me if I sell them! Not sure if I am ready for the big time. Everyone should have the fun and sense of accomplishment of making your own though. Nothing is better than making a lure, adding your own creative touch and then going out and catching fish with it!
I started off last year with buying 100 unpainted 5/8ths oz Ultra Minnow jig heads on Ebay.com. Then through TJ’s Tackle, set myself up with their powder paint fluid bed system. If you attended the MI-OH Sportfishing Show, or the Novi Ultimate Fishing Show, you saw the guys displaying it and going through the steps on how it works. If you are not going to get involved in pouring your own jigs, you can buy 100 packs on the website in varying sizes for $30 to 40 dollars. I would stay with a range of 1/2 to 3/4 oz with the jigs, or just the 5/8ths for most applications. If you do decide to get into pouring your own jigs, Do-It Molds makes the Ultra Minnow Jig that I used for tying this year. Followed their directions to the letter, except I went with the 1/4″ stick on 3-D eyes instead of the smaller size they suggested.
Next step was to actually learn how to tie the hair on the jig, I had no clue, and never signed up for a class to do it, so I did the next best thing, I “Googled” it! Sure enough, the search lead me to a video on YouTube, actually several videos. I liked these two the best, because it dealt with the Lake Erie specific style I caught fish on last year, and told me the materials I needed to get the job started.
Next up, I searched for “craft fur” and found this website: http://www.tackle-craft.com/product/ST-2845/Craft-Fur/ It has a fair selection and the price was really good. I found that Hareline Dubbin makes the product, and after tying the jigs the past weekend, I am really happy with it. http://www.hareline.com/
The thread is still in the learning process, some of the spools I picked up from Frank’s Great Outdoors worked out great, but one spool of chartreuse is just about gone, and that was only doing four jigs. Not Frank’s fault mind you, I was picking colors that would match the jig colors and like a knucklehead I didn’t ask anyone. Course at that point, I would not have known what to ask in the first place. I also picked up the bobbin that holds the thread while you do your wraps, that has worked out great and it’s a great tool. Not having tied anything before, its a pretty cool little tool to have around. In fact, of all the things besides the vice, it’s the one fancy little tool for fly fishing I would say (for tying Erie hair jigs) you must have!
The vise I have is just a cheap 15 dollar one, it works, but it is a little temperamental about opening and closing. It seems to tighten down by itself after 15 or so jigs. I suggest something in the thirty to forty dollar range. Something with a base that would be a more versatile and a bit more easy to use I think. I actually had one, but I gave it to my cousin’s son who, at the time, was going to get a lot more use out of it.
As far as the tying portion of creating the jig goes, I spent a few hours on Saturday and Sunday this past weekend and finished over 72 jigs of various patterns, more than enough to get through one season on Lake Erie, maybe even three or four. It was a lot of fun, and after the initial two or three jigs, getting the bugs ironed out, it was pretty sweet to see the final results.
Drift jigging in the lake is blast and something just about everyone can get into without spending a ton of cash on trolling gear.