Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Jig Is Up! Let's Catch Some Fish!

It was one of those times when I got a desperate late afternoon call from the South Florida Fishing Club. That night's speaker had just cancelled and could Captain Al Kaplan (that's the other hat I wear) please put something together in the way of a program? And be ready to speak in an hour and a half? I grabbed an assortment of 1/4 ounce bucktail jigs (above) and hightailed it over to the nearby N.M. Chamber of Commerce office and...LOL...photocopied them. I made about 30 copies to hand out at the club meeting, and also brought along a bunch of actual jigs and a rod and reel to demonstrate techniques to use them.

I make my own jigs, from molding the 1/4 lead heads on the size 1/0 hooks to painting the heads and tying on the bucktail hair. I've developed some unique ideas about what I want in a jig, and I can't buy them ready made the way I like them. First off, commercial jigs are too bushy. I like them long and the hair relatively sparse. I put in a few strands of gold mylar tinsel, but it's tied inside the hair, not outside, so it flutters on the retrieve, banging into the hollow bucktail hairs. I assume this gives off a sound for the fish to home in on. Anyway, it works!

After lots of experimentation I've concluded that in clear water I like to tie in a bunch of either pink or chartreuse hair on top of the white. Some days one works better, sometimes the other. One club member gets me to make brown over white. It works for him but I've never had much luck with them.

On dark days and/or muddy water a dark color seems to work best. I make some that are all black. They're really effective with fresh water largemouth bass. In the bay I like dark purple hair with a dark pink head, still using the gold mylar tinsel inside the hair. Bucktail jigs seem to catch about anything that swims in fresh or salt water, in the bay or in the ocean. I even have a mounted sailfish on the wall that I caught on one!

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