When the weather outside is frightful, which translated means after three days of east winds all the docks on the west side of Lake Erie are flooded out and as I look outside, Mother Nature has turned the landscape into a snow globe once again, you find something fishy to keep yourself busy. I pulled out some jigs that I had already painted for a tourney coming up and broke out the vices and fly materials and got back into tying some hair jigs. The next tip, is something that I have developed over the last few months that will add body to the traditional walleye hair jig.
I have explained in the past that many of my walleye ideas for lures and approaches are often taken from other realms in the fishing world, but like the old BASF commercials, I just made them better. As in this case, better by adapting them with my own twist and applying the concept to walleye fishing. If imitation is the oldest form of flattery, the picture above is a twist on a Detroit River favorite for handlining, the fluorescent red and gold floater. In this case I took some Disco Gold powder paint from TJ’s Tackle and painted the body of the jig, then applied some Blaze Orange paint over the back of the jig.
Never mind the black and tan blob in the background for a minute, will get to my “helper” in a bit. Last month I was talking to a bass guy who said he was doing something similar with the walleye hair jigs, but was using marabou for his bass lures. The problem was that once the feathers get wet, there wasn’t too much body left and the material wasn’t pulsating with the applied rod action in the water anymore.
While doing this Disco Copper and Candy Green crawfish jig for another bass fishing friend in Illinois, I stumbled on an idea that seems to work pretty well, even if it was unintended. My issue at hand was how to incorporate the two colors on the jig into the body of the bait. It would have looked silly to make up the belly of section of the hair with one type of synthetic material and then make the back out of another. To solve the cosmetic issue, I created a collar with the copper material, which is Krystal Flash, and then layered the outer ring with Medium Olive craft fur. In doing so, the problem of having a limp, wet fur body was solved.
Fur and feathers soak up water, but synthetics like Krystal Flash and Flashabou do not. Case in point, this Black with Blue Flake jig head. I made my first collared layer with Rainbow Flashabou.
Then to incorporate the blue from the jig’s paint, the next layer was made with a thin veil of blue craft fur.
Lastly, one more layer of black craft fur is tied on to give it that continuity with the paint on the jig. Each layer starting with the synthetic flashabou, or if you like the krystal flash, gives body to the overall appearance of the jig and more importantly does not soak up the water. Also, each layer will stiffen up the presentation while giving the illusion that there is something alive swimming through the water to the fish you are trying to catch.
If you want to recreate this concept, you will have to do it yourself. With the time involved and if you were ever to see something like this hand tied in a bait shop, it would probably cost at least six dollars retail or $3.00 more than the standard walleye hair jig. All the materials, including the fly tying tools can be purchased at either Cabela’s, Janns Netcraft or your favorite websites like TJ’s Tackle. Is it worth it, by all means yes! Besides half the fun of catching walleye is with something you created yourself! If you must, you can also apply the concept to catching more bass also. I would insert the smiley face here, but might offend some family and friends who chase large and smallmouth.
Finally my helper during this whole project, Kit Kat. Of all the pets roaming the shop, she is the most affectionate and wants to be a part of everything. This means literally getting in my face while I am wrapping the thread around the material. She probably has a couple drops of Loon cement on her back this morning, and if during the process I could not find the synthetics I was looking for, she was keeping them warm for me like a mother hen. That is the personal touch which comes with writing a blog, the end.