If you have been following me on Facebook, you have already seen some of my newest hair jig creations for fishing walleye on Lake Erie. Interesting enough, just yesterday I was asked if I had ever written about tying jigs before. Of course I have, but I wasn’t exactly sure when the first one was typed out for the blog. Turns out it was in 2013, so for the past six years I have been tying my own and catching walleye with them. I titled this piece Hair Jig Evolution, because look back, there really has been a step by step change since I started.
Back then everything was pretty basic, pretty much the generic look that you could find in any local bait shop. Your standard white, pink and white and some version of purple, they were easy to paint, and easy to tie. Did they catch fish, absolutely and as always, it is far better to catch a walleye on something you created.
Last year was the first major leap into what I coined as using “Core Technology” or the process of layering to give the jigs more body. The difference being, those old jigs in 2013 still needed a live minnow or a plastic one to give it some depth of being life-like. By wrapping in cores, each layer built the craft fur up to make it swim while being thumped off the lake bottom. These jigs above were made for a good friend of mine who started fishing a local bass series on the Fox River Chain in Illinois. First of all…stop laughing, yes I said bass, but actually these same sizes (1/8, 1/4 and 3/8ths ounce) can be used for pitching for walleye in some circumstances. Many of these colors can pull double duty for both species. Below are three pictures that demonstrate my core tech process with the Punisher hair jig I created.
This first core layer was laid down with Flashabou. It gives some flash that will help catch a walleye’s attention in clean water, but even in dirty water it benefits by adding depth to the lure’s body.
The next core layer is made with blue craft fur. You will notice the color of the jig, which is black with blue flake powder paint from TJ’s Tackle. This core helps with matching the body to the blue accents of the jig.
When going through each step in the core built process, you can plainly see the depth added to the body of the jig. Granted, the body looks pretty big compared to the size of the jig. When wet, the fur will lay back, but not hug the hook like a store-bought jig will. Remember how I mentioned that the old jigs needed plastic or a live minnow to bulk up the baits? These, with the hair trimmed about 2.5 to 3 inches behind the hook, can be fished without any additions to make them work. Still feel the need to add a live minnow to the bait, wet the jig quickly in the lake and then put the minnow on, they will still catch fish, without burying the minnow in the air.
The next evolution came out of necessity. Point of history, did you know that the greatest leaps in surgery have come during times of war? Or, in simple terms, out of necessity. For me, it was I wanted to created a hair jig to vertically fish for walleye on the Saginaw River last fall for a tournament. Did I want to use the same Ultra Minnow head? No, because I wanted to the head of the jig to dive on the drop, instead of horizontally fall. For this reason I went with the Walleye Jig mold from Do-it, the one with the collar and barb. I made up a bunch of different colors, but these two above are pretty unique. The first was a super glow, where the first core is made with glow flashabou. The second one is probably the hair jig I have had the most calls on, Blue Ice. Notice the tail section with the Blue and Silver flashabou for accents. This was a GREAT clean water jig up there when we could find pockets out of the main current.
This last batch of once ounce hair jigs for Lake Erie, show the next step in the evolution in the core process. It was also part inspiration and touching base with some of my earliest creations. I looked at various plastics, jigs and crankbaits for ideas. Pimp Daddy was inspired by a Fin-S minnow, which is a great dark water application. Cat Dog, was my take on a crankbait, while Bubblegum is one of my favorite jig patterns from Northland. Both can be fished in dirty and clean water. Kermit and the white hair jigs are your basic cloudy water baits, with just a bit of added flair to them. Did I need to add orange, pink and green accents to the white, yes I did. Ok, no, not really, will they catch fish as well as the original white hair jigs? The answer is all day long, but remember this too, each one of these jigs are my own works of art. Believe me, if you ever saw a drawing of mine, you would say they are my only works of art!
Remember this though, by building the cores, or layers, you can add more life-like depth to the hair jig you create or fish with. Whether you jig, pitch or twitch these baits, you can fish them naked, as is. The best part of it all, you made it, and you caught fish on it!!!