Care About Your Hair

When it comes to hair jigs, there is no substitute to the real thing. Don't cut yourself short!

They are called hair jigs, but the term also applies to ones tied with feathers (i.e. marabou) as well as combination hair andather jigs. Natural hair and/or feathers make superior jigs. Man-made imitation hair is a poor substitute for the real thing in terms of fish-attracting performance.

The experienced jig angler also recognizes that better quality jigs are ones tied by American artisans who understand bass fishing and proper tying techniques. The creation of high quality jigs by small custom tiers is a cottage industry here in the U.S.A.

In general, imported hair jigs are inferior in critical aspects. Of course you will pay for American quality. A simple hair jig from a custom tier will likely start around $2.50 each.

If you do not have a source for quality hair jigs, run an internet search for custom fishing jig tiers, perusing the list to see what comes up; adjust your search to locate additional shops.

Of course you can try your hand at tying jigs yourself. This will require investment in basic tools such as a vice, thread, bobbin, whip finishing tool, head cement and tying material, as well as practice. There is, of course, great satisfaction from catching bass on a jig you tied yourself.

The steps to tying a very basic hair jig are simple:

  • Select a 1/16- to 3/16-ounce plain molded leadhead with tying collar. Secure the leadhead in a tying vise.
  • With special jig-tying thread in the bobbin (not lightweight fly thread), secure the thread to shank of the hook by overlapping wraps.
  • With a small tuff of hair about 2 inches long pinched between your thumb and forefinger, hold it tight to hook shank and wrap line over it – light pressure at first to allow you to distribute the hair around hook shank, then tighter wraps to secure it.
  • Continue wrapping thread up the shank to the collar.
  • Add additional tuffs of hair a little at a time, and working the hair around the collar so it creates an evenly distributed body. Secure with tighter wraps of thread.
  • Continue wrapping thread around the collar of the head to build it up. Use the whip finisher to secure the thread.
  • Add a drop of fly head cement to seal the threads.

A balanced body should have hair evenly distributed around the jig collar. The ends of the hair should extend roughly 1.5 inches past the end of the hook bend. Do not trim the ends of hair on a finished jig as this destroys both the body shape and the action of the hair. When tying your next jig, adjust the hair length, cutting the butt ends if necessary before tying.

Given the labor in creating each hair jig (or the cost of purchasing finished jigs), be sure to exercise care in storing them. It is one thing to lose a jig to a snag, but ruining one through improper handling is another matter.

If storing them in a plastic utility case, be sure the compartment is long enough to accommodate the entire length of the jig so it does not curl. Small zip-lock bags are an option, sorting jigs by weight.

Never put a jig away wet. After clipping a wet jig from the line, stick it in a piece of foam that is secured to your tackle bag or box. Leaving a hair jig lay on wet boat carpet is an invitation for a rusty hook and stained hair.

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