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Will Wetline

Bucktail Jigs For Smallmouth Bass

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One of my winter tackle making projects was molding, painting and dressing jigs to interest early pre-spawn smallies. I did a fair amount of research before I started and I'll share with you two videos I particularly like:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXBGm1Je5yI

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzQ1JpZq3hA

 

With information from these vids plus some experience from seasons past, I decided on a Do-It Round Head Jig Mold With Socket Eye.

 

http://www.barlowstackle.com/Do-It-Round-Head-Jig-Molds-P205.aspx

 

Here's a batch from the 1/8 oz. cavity:

 

ViceandPaintedJigs_zps58e3d4c7.jpg

 

Fishing in Massachusetts, lead is prohibited in jigs weighing less than 1 oz. so these are molded from an "environmentally friendly" bismuth/tin alloy from rotometals.com. One drawback to this alloy is that it melts at approximately 281º so I'm sticking with a finish I'm long familiar with but is very tedious to apply - vinyl paint. I haven't tested powder paint but would be very disappointed to find that after curing for 20 minutes at 250º I'd open the oven to find bare hooks (or worse). So I continue to wear a 3M mask with organic vapor cartridges and filters and also evacuate the harmful fumes out the window with a box fan. Be safe if you go with dip-and-drip finishing!

 

I invested in this beautiful tool, the Regal vise, years ago after struggling with an inexpensive, inadequate vice. The Regal not only does everything I want and will outlast me by several hundred years.

 

Let's look at other tools and materials:

 

ToolsandMaterials_zpsbd3dfe90.jpg

 

Here are a few colors of bucktail and a couple of synthetic "flash" materials. Many more are available to those with deep pockets. I used 6/0 thread but the larger 3/0 could be used as well. The larger scissors has titanium coated blades and I use it for the bucktail, wanting to preserve the edge of the fine point Dr. Slick scissors for thread cutting. I can whip finish by hand but prefer the Griffin whip finish tool.

 

http://www.jannsnetcraft.com/whip-finishers/814225005012.aspx

 

Hard As Nails clear polish is widely used but I prefer the stuff made for fly tiers because it is thinner viscosity and therefore penetrates more deeply.

 

Here I apologize for skipping to the finished products without the many in-between steps - I had a bruising work schedule this winter and didn't make the additional time for photography. What I recommend after viewing this sampling of hair jigs is to go to YouTube and enter "jig tying by smalljaw." That's smalljaw67 who's such an asset on our Tacklemaking Forum, and study his work. Also watch Al Daher tie his perch pattern jig. He offers sound advice about handling bucktail.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27mwz6JcV64

 

One more suggestion to learn the basics is to get a book for beginning fly tiers:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Fly-Tying-Made-Clear-Simple/dp/1878175130/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1397868171&sr=8-2&keywords=fly+tying+made+clear+and+simple+skip+morris

 

Get the spiral bound version so you can lay it flat on your bench.

 

Other necessities are patience and practice, practice, practice. Over time you will improve your techniques, develop "muscle memory" and you just might gain the satisfaction of catching fish on baits that you created!

 

Here's my work:

 

FinishedJigsOnMatWithTools_zps1f096a13.j

 

FinishedJigsPlainBackground_zpsa2e0b684.

 

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 Beautiful baits. I checked out some of the videos, and there is nothing like catching a big smallie.

 

Jerry

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Those look of great quality! Nice man

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You have done an outstanding job, I'd be proud of those!!! The white jig with the little bit of grizzly hackle is special, that jig will kill in clear water just by swimming slowly near the bottom. You use of flash is exceptional as well, it looks as if you been doing this for a long time, truly impressive work!!  I also applaud your choice of words describing the "muscle memory" , that is something that is very hard to explain but after you tie for a while your hands just know how much pressure it takes to move the hair around the collar or wrapping the collar so it is neat and even, excellent work all the way around, you really did an excellent job!!!!!!

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  Looks amazing!  Have you ever considered selling some?  That is very fine craftsmanship and know how.  I would be interested if you ever wanted to sell some!  --- Jon

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Very nice bucktails. Nice tight thread patterns. Next step is to hang into a smallie with one of those.

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Coming from somone who ties alot of saltwater striper flies your work is to be admired! I have never tied jigs for smallies but you have inspired me to spend some time doing just that! Cudos to you stay at it you may have found your calling. Again really nice work hope you stay with it!!! You could certainly sell some to put some extra cash in your pocket. Good luck and tight lines!!!

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Here's a video I made a few years back. I've been tying striper bucktails for years and this video shows a pattern we use in our mountain lakes for smallies. The music my be a bit annoying so you might have to turn it down. I slowed it down to 3-4 minutes for tying, but usually I can tie them a lot quicker.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTL26c9CkHI

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Those are beautiful.  I too make my own marabou jigs for peacock bass, although having more than 2 thumbs my finished product is no where near yours.  I'm working on it and not getting discouraged, even the poorly made ones have caught fish.

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Nice ties!!!! and look very well balanced.  I didn't want to buy the socket eye jig mold so I just put a squeeze on the sides of a ball head for the stick on eyes.  Absolutely agree about not using the good scissors for the bucktail, I have a pair of fiskars that look like your's that are good for cutting hair.  

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Don't want to hurt your feelings, but those will not catch fish. They will only stink up a boat. But being I'm a good guy, send them to me. And I will use my Hazmat suit and destroy them for you.

Have you tried any fishair in place of the bucktail? I use of  lot of it and it does a great job also.I have a lot of it and different colors. Plus playing around with some scrap rabbit hair I won on ebay a year or so ago.

Great looking jigs keep up the great work. Would sure use them here below Pickwick Dam tomorrow while chasing smallmouth if I had them and someone to go with me. :coffee2: 

Pete

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This thread inspired me to tie a few of my own hair jigs.  Although I don't pour my own jig heads, I was able to locate some 1/8 and 3/16oz. painted heads with a longer, stouter hook than the bulk ones sold at WallyWorld. A six pack assortment of tails from BPS and I'm all set to give it a go. IMO, there isn't a greater thrill in fishing than to catch one on something you've made with your own hands (even if all you did was assemble the components). 

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I agree about the self satisfaction of making some of your own equipment, then catching fish with it.  One of the items I put together are jigs, mostly 1/8 & 1/4 for bass and peacocks, 1/4 & 1/2 for snook and tarpon.  I actually do buy most of them at Walmart, the hooks have never been a problem.

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I too use a Regal and they are awesome vises.  I did wear one out though but took over thirty years.  I don't know if your dipping your heads or maybe I didn't read to closely but if you hold the hook by the eye with small pliers you can keep the eye's clean. 

But....excellent job.

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I too use a Regal and they are awesome vises.  I did wear one out though but took over thirty years.  I don't know if your dipping your heads or maybe I didn't read to closely but if you hold the hook by the eye with small pliers you can keep the eye's clean. 

But....excellent job.

Put some 20# or 30# mono thru the eye while dipping.

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I used the information provided here as the inspiration to tie these up.

 

The smallies here gobble these up when nothing else works.

 

Thank you Will.

 

A-Jay

 

post-13860-0-92273700-1414722896_thumb.j

 

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A-Jay... I haven't seen anyone else, other than myself, tie on a Brewer Spider head.  When you completely cover the hook point with bucktail these jigs become fairly weed protected.  I also tie on a 1/8oz Gopher Prowler head (stand-up design) after removing some of the lead from it's collar.  I prefer the hook eye placement in the front of the lead as both of these jig heads provide.

 

 

oe

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Outstanding looking jigs. I've paid money for lesser quality than that! Patterns are lifelike enough for any dry fly tier. 

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I used the information provided here as the inspiration to tie these up.

 

The smallies here gobble these up when nothing else works.

 

Thank you Will.

 

A-Jay

 

 

Well done indeed, A-Jay!

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I have a buddy who hooks me up every year, skunk and bear hair!! 

post-33857-0-71614400-1419366437_thumb.j

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Wow! Those look great!

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