Making Your Own Bass Jigs
Pouring the Jig
Pouring the Jig
The first thing you need to do before you start making your jigheads is decide what type of head you want to use. The most popular types are the arky, bullet and football shapes. The arky head is the best overall style. It fishes well in most types of cover. The bullet head is very sleek and will pull through weeds and moss without picking them up. The very heavy bullet heads are also good for punching through thick vegetation. Both of these head styles are normally poured with a fiber weed guard since they are fished in and around cover. The football head is a better open water style, and is usually not poured with a weed guard. The shape of the football head prevents it from becoming wedged in rock crevices and also makes the trailer wave as it rocks back and forth.
Two good manufacturers of molds are Hilts and Do-It molds. Jann's Netcraft offers a wide selection of these molds, as well as all the other components you will need to build your jigs.
It might be a good idea to decide on a style of hook you want to use before buying the mold. Some jig hooks (such as my favorite light wire hook, the Owner needlepoint round bend) come with a 90 degree bend near the eye, while others (such as nearly all of the heavy duty flippin' hooks) come with a 60 degree bend. And the bullet head jigs often come with an even smaller bend.
The other materials that jigheads consist of is fiber guards and lead. I use the multi-strand fiber guards. They are very effective, and allow you to customize the guard after the jig is finished by removing and/or shortening some of the fibers. As for lead, it can be bought from tackle suppliers such as Netcraft. Just about any lead will do, though. I get most my lead by picking it up when I'm fishing drawn down reservoirs from shore. It doesn't take too many broken off catfish rigs to make a dozen jigs, and you also do a favor for the environment.
To melt and pour the lead you can use any pan and ladle that will stand the heat. I use an inexpensive melter and ladle made for this purpose. For a little more money you can buy a pot that releases lead from a spout on the bottom. This is very convenient, but not really necessary.
There isn't much to say about the process of pouring the jigs. Just follow the instructions. Keep the lead very hot. It's actually fairly easy to pour a lot of jigs fast.
I use powder paint on my jigs. Vinyl is also popular, but I find it harder to work with, and the jigs smell strongly like paint for weeks. A very fast way to paint a lot of jigs is to take a big piece of Styrofoam and cut slots in it every half inch or so. Then put all the jigheads in the slots, so only the head and part of the weed guard is exposed. Then go over them all with a can of spray paint.
The powder paint is better than any others in all regards. I heat my jigs over the stove top, dunk them in powder, sprinkle on a little red glitter, and hang them on a rack. The rack goes in a small toaster oven where the jigs get baked for 30 minutes to harden the paint.
To add the skirt to your jig you will need a vice, a bobbin, some thread, and, of course, the skirt material. I use a fly tying vice to hold the jig while tying the skirt. The vice needs to be very strong. A cheap fly tying bobbin will hold the thread fine. I use side D black rod wrapping thread to tie my jigs. It is strong enough to flair the skirts out without breaking, and it is thick enough to hold the skirt down without cutting through it. Some people like copper wire instead of thread, but I haven't had much success using it.
As for the skirt material you can use silicone and/or rubber. If you use full sized round or flat rubber, one strip will have about the right amount of rubber for one jig. With fine rubber and silicone I use two strips. First make a layer of thread along the collar of the jig. Then lay wrap the rubber strip around the shank. Do not separate the strands of rubber yet. Make to firm wraps of thread around the rubber so it is evenly distributed around the collar. Then make one more very tight wrap, tightening the first two in the process. I tie off with two half hitches. I never have the thread untie even with these simple knots. To separate the rubber strands, stretch one end of the rubber strip away from the jig then slowly cut it near your fingers with a pair of scissors.
Trim off the uneven skirt ends to finish off your jig.
Jig No Pig! from Bassdozer.com
Jig Molds from Bassdozer.com
Lure Making from KenSchultz.com
Stamina Quality Components
Custom Tackle Supply
Living Rubber Company