One of the most ef­fec­tive and least un­der­stood lures around.Yes dear friends, we are talk­ing about jigs! While many pro­fes­sional an­glers swear by them, jigs have never re­ally caught on in the South African mar­ket the way that soft plas­tics or crank baits

SA Bass - - Contents - >> De­wald Viljoen*

“Jigs” One off the most ef­fec­tive and least un­der­stood lures around. Yes dear friends, we are talk­ing about jigs! – De­wald Viljoen

Since this se­ries is a broad strokes ex­pla­na­tion of the dif­fer­ent lures avail­able on the mar­ket, will not go too deeply into the tech­niques and tackle re­quire­ments needed for jigs, but rather dis­cuss the dif­fer­ent types of jigs and their best sce­nario ap­pli­ca­tions.

In its sim­plest form, a jig is a weighted head at­tached to a hook. The ma­te­rial the head is made of is most com­monly lead but can also be tung­sten, tin, bis­muth or even some type of blended resin. Each ma­te­rial has its own ad­van­tages and dis­ad­van­tages. A quick break­down re­veals the fol­low­ing: Resin heads have lots of bulk for very slow fall rates. They are very rare and unique and of­ten just dif­fer­ent enough to swing the bal­ance in your favour on a tough day. Cons: Al­most ex­clu­sively cus­tom made which makes them dif­fi­cult to find and ex­pen­sive! Tin is en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly. It is lighter than lead giv­ing bulk to lighter lures. Cons: Few brand op­tions and quite pricey. Bis­muth, a brit­tle heavy metal with lower tox­i­c­ity than lead and ap­prox­i­mately 86% the den­sity of lead. Man­u­fac­tur­ers started us­ing bis­muth as a lead re­place­ment when state laws in in the USA started ban­ning lead prod­ucts in a num­ber of lakes. It is a more en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly ma­te­rial with many of the same at­tributes as lead. Cons: While it should be rel­a­tively in­ex­pen­sive, the fact that so few man­u­fac­tur­ers are mak­ing bis­muth lures tends to in­flate the prices. Lead is the main­stay of the jig in­dus­try. Cheap and easy to work with, it does al­most ev­ery­thing that an­glers and man­u­fac­tur­ers re­quire from a mass pro­duc­tion ma­te­rial. In my opinion, lead is also a bet­ter ma­te­rial to use when the fish are un­der pres­sure be­cause the noise that lead makes when it im­pacts with ob­sta­cles is softer and less threat­en­ing. Cons: Lead can cause se­ri­ous pol­lu­tion over the long term. Fur­ther­more, it can cause re­pro­duc­tive prob­lems and lead poi­son­ing.

Tung­sten is the new kid on the block. Be­ing a su­per dense ma­te­rial tung­sten is 1.7 times heav­ier than lead mak­ing it a great ma­te­rial to use for com­pact heavy baits. Be­ing very hard it also trans­fers vi­bra­tion very well mak­ing it very sen­si­tive in fish­ing ap­pli­ca­tions. Cons: Tung­sten is no­to­ri­ously dif­fi­cult to work with mak­ing the man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cesses quite ex­pen­sive which re­sults in quite ex­pen­sive prod­uct for the con­sumer. It is also some­what poi­sonous to an­i­mal life.

Ma­te­ri­als out of the way, jigs can be di­vided into two main groups.

Dressed jigs and un­dressed jigs

Un­dressed jigs con­sist of a hook with a moulded on head. That is it. The shape and size of the head will be dic­tated by the con­di­tions and the tech­nique you are plan­ning to em­ploy and is ma­te­rial for a com­pletely sep­a­rate ar­ti­cle. Un­dressed jigs are used al­most ex­clu­sively with soft plas­tic bod­ies and as a re­sult there are dif­fer­ent heads for dif­fer­ent ap­pli­ca­tions. The most com­mon two how­ever is the swim bait head and the shaky head. Swim bait heads are de­signed to have a soft plas­tic swim­ming lure at­tached to it and can usu­ally be iden­ti­fied by the place­ment of the line tie to­wards the front of the head where it is best po­si­tioned to drag the lure through the wa­ter well above the lake bed.

With shaky head jigs the eye is placed on top of the head where it can help the an­gler pop and lift the jig over and around ob­sta­cles on the bot­tom. Shaky head jigs also

tend to have longer shanked hooks since it is of­ten ex­pected to work with soft plas­tic lures with longer bod­ies.

Dressed jigs come with some form of skirt at­tached to the jig head. The most com­mon skirts are sil­i­con and can eas­ily be in­ter­changed. Less com­mon but of­ten far more deadly are the nat­u­ral ma­te­rial skirts. Th­ese skirts are per­ma­nently at­tached to the lure and can be from buck tail, feath­ers and even strips of rab­bit fur! Jigs made from nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als are more spe­cial­ized and fish a lit­tle dif­fer­ent but of­ten ex­cel in cold or clear wa­ter con­di­tions where their sub­tle and sup­ple move­ment can trig­ger even the most finicky fish!

There is a dressed jig avail­able for ev­ery imag­in­able con­di­tion and you should al­ways in­spect the man­u­fac­turer’s la­bels and pack­ag­ing care­fully to make sure you are pur­chas­ing the cor­rect jig for your needs.

A few point­ers to look for:

A good qual­ity jig must have a weed-guard re­gard­less of its in­tended use!

Swim­ming jigs usu­ally have a sharper, more bul­let shaped de­sign with the line tie right at the end of the head. This al­lows it to swim eas­ily through the thick­est cover!

Look for jigs with a heav­ier gauge hook if you are plan­ning fish­ing heavy cover. Jigs have a ten­dency to pen­e­trate deep into the cover to where the big­gest fish live and the last thing you want is hook fail­ure when you new PB eats the lure!

A qual­ity jig should have a stand up de­sign, which pre­vents it from rolling over on the bot­tom.

Well de­signed grass jigs must have a re­cessed line tie. This de­sign hides the knot and lets the lure slip through grass and veg­e­ta­tion with ease.

We have only touched on jigs in a very su­per­fi­cial man­ner this month and there is tons more to dis­cuss about th­ese fas­ci­nat­ing lures, but like I men­tioned be­fore this is ba­sic in­tro­duc­tion to the dif­fer­ent lure types out there. I hope you will go out and do a bit of ex­per­i­men­ta­tion on your own with th­ese lures, and hope­fully by the next time I get an op­por­tu­nity to write about them more peo­ple will be will­ing to give them a chance!

In its sim­plest form, a jig is a weighted head at­tached to a hook

Lead is the main­stay of the jig in­dus­try

A wide range of dif­fer­ent jigs

Tung­sten is 1.7 times heav­ier than lead

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