Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tinsel Time

Visited my local Target store last evening.  Picked up four packages of Christmas tinsel (icicles) for 50% off or $0.50 per package.  Five-hundred icicles per package.  Colors include gold, silver, green, magenta, and blue.  Its design is similar to holographic tinsel.

Here are closeups of two jigs tied with the tinsel yesterday evening.  Used 1/8-ounce ball heads with #2 hooks.

A useful material that may be discounted at many other stores during Christmas clearance sales.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tips for Tyers

Here are a few that keep me tying smoothly:
  • I use acetone nail polish remover to thin clear nail polish as it ages.  This reduces its thickness and the "spider webs" created when brushing it onto thread. 
  • Keep a lint roller handy on your table or bench.  Fur and feathers often wind up on your clothing.  The roller makes for a quick and easy cleanup before you leave your work area.  Sometimes, I'll even use it to quickly clean off my table top.
  • Save soda cans.  These are perfect platforms for mixing two-part epoxy.  Use the bottom of a can for mixing the resin and hardener.  Be sure to remove its pop-top to ensure that it stands level.  Dispose of the can properly after use.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

White Bass Jigs

Tied several jigs for white bass fishing.  I plan to try these out at my local reservoir.  I've found that walleye seem to like them too, especially the all-silver ones.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Inside the Bat Cave...

Here's where I keep my tying tools and materials...'s where I keep my testing tools for the finished products.  ;)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend Fishing below the Chickamauga Dam near Hixon, TN

Arrived back Sunday from a wonderful trip to visit my in-laws in Hixon, TN. Spent a little time after the Thanksgiving Day festivities fishing below the Chickamauga Lake Dam on Friday and Saturday. Chickamauga Lake is part of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) chain of lakes located on the Tennessee River. The area is nothing less than a sportsman's paradise to me. There can be some pretty good fishing below the dam for a variety of species, most notably large stripers, catfish, and smallmouth bass. Often, there's a sense of "potluck" anticipation as you really don't know what you'll be catching there.

Fished about 2.5 hours on Friday and maybe 4.5 hours total on Saturday.  Both Friday afternoon and Saturday morning were excellent as the river level was up.  Plenty of bait fish were moving around the abutments located at the railroad bridge, just downstream from the dam.  I found some nice eddy water there and proceeded to cast with a curly-tailed grub around the base of the nearest abutment.

I became very surprised when I began catching temperate bass.  As a matter of fact, those were the only fish that I caught during my trip.  I wound up both days catching a total of 20 fish.  Not bad, considering I didn't move from the spot during my time fishing below the dam.  This was my best fish, a white bass, but the photo doesn't do it justice.  It was a large white bass.  At least, one much larger than I usually catch at my nearby reservoir.
Did I mention the lures that I used?  Normally I'd only discuss my jig ties on this blog, but a fisherman's gotta do what he's gotta do... so, I fished the swimbaits that I have extreme confidence in to search for gamefish in areas I seldom fish.  BTW, I caught my largest yellow bass of this year there and should have taken a photo of it.  Come to think of it, I don't know of too many anglers that get excited about yellow bass (my cop out). ;)  I do wish I had a photo of it to show. :(  Here are the jigs I used:
From top to bottom:
  • 1/8-oz. ball head with a 3-in. Galyan's Performance Series grub in pumpkinseed color.
  • 1/8-oz ball head with a 3-in.YUM Mystic Shad  in MS-Shad pattern.
  • Captain Mick's Minnow Swimbait.
  • 5/32-oz. silver-haired ball head jig tied by "moi". :)
I caught the most fish on the Captain Mick's bait.  The YUM shad came in second and my hair jig third.  Though, my largest yellow bass came on the hair jig. ;)  I abandoned the pumpkinseed grub as I witnessed no one else catching any black bass along the shoreline.  I believe that I made the right decision there. ;)

Overall, the fishing was similar to tidal fishing I'd done in years past.  A rising river produced good fishing for the temperate bass.  The slowdown and eventual shutdown of bites came with the river's falling water level during Saturday afternoon.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Whip Finish Using a Matarelli Tool

Here's an awesome link that shows how to tie a whip finish knot on your jig with a Matarelli whip finishing tool. The whip finish is thought by many to be the most secure knot for fly (and jig) tying.

Whip Finish with Matarelli Tool 

However, some jig tyers do not need a "bridge" tool to assist with tying the knot.  If you've ever played pool, you'll understand what I mean. ;) I mentioned the method of tying the whip finish by hand on the site back in 2009.  It's worth revisiting.
Whip Finish by Hand
Try both methods sometime to see what you think. :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Simple Bass Minnows

Simple Silver Hair Minnows For Bass

  • 5/32-oz. ball head jigs with #2 bronze hooks.
  • Darice Craft Fur - silver (not gray or gray/silver).
  • Black UTC Ultra Thread - 70 and 140 denier.
  • Silver and/or chrome paint for head - the type is your choice (jig head is epoxy covered).
  • Black and white acrylic paint for eyes.
  • 5-minute two-part epoxy for jig head top coat.
This is one of my favorite hair jig designs for fall bass fishing in clear water.  These are effective swimming jigs that are about 3.5-3.75 inches long.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Jig Ties For Fall - Natural Selection

A natural selection.

So, I tied a few for this fall and winter.  Thought mostly of minnows, leeches, and gobies.  A couple of brown crawfish ties appear for completeness.  A drab green is so versatile.  Think goby or crawfish.

Things I like about...Ultra Thread

  • Strength
  • Color-coded spool labels state and relate to denier (red = 70, yellow = 140, and green = 210)
  • A handy color-coded end cap pinches the thread's tag end for storage and also relates to its denier

I like coded standards.  Good stuff here.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Silver Flake Hair Jigs and Sugar?

I'd been a little disappointed with glitter not showing up very well in my photos. So, I went ahead and purchased some large silver glitter (Sulyn Industries) and created some silver flake jig heads. Each hair jig is a 1/8-oz. ball head with a #2 hook.

Well, I'm not overly excited about the result. But, while I coated the heads with my epoxy and glitter mix, I was reminded of a "Sugarhead" jig. This was a crappie-sized marabou feather jig that I purchased many years ago. It had a head coating that looked like granulated sugar. I plan to design a similar jig with glitter flakes sometime in the future. :)

Ever hear of, own, or use a "Sugarhead"? I tried a keyword web search for this jig and turned up zero hits. :(

Friday, August 6, 2010

Schlappen Ties for Bass

I really like this feather.  It really looks "buggy".  Provides a nice profile when combined with hackle or other feather tails.  Tied on 1/8-oz. football heads with #1 hooks.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Crappie Dot Com Steelhead Jig Swap - Part 2

Finished tying these on Thursday evening.

Each is tied on a 1/8-oz. ball head with a #2 hook. I believe that I'll call this pattern Citrus Drink Mix. ;)

Crappie Dot Com Steelhead Jig Swap - Part 1

This is my first group of ties submitted to a Crappie Dot Com jig swap of steelhead jigs.

Watched a couple of videos on tying Schlappen feather jigs. I've used Schlappen before, though not in the manner shown in the videos. The west coast guys in the videos are real pros at tying these. Mine look nowhere near as good as theirs. I've got a ways to go with this style.

Taught myself some important points about feather selection and learned how to turn these feathers over the shank from the videos. Not all Schlappen feathers are created equal. Watch out for feathers with twisted plumes!

This is turning out to be a very good learning swap for me. :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Red Heads

Red Heads

Used 3/16-oz. ball heads with #1 hooks. Intended for swimming among young gizzard shad and bass.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

More Pepper Heads for Smallmouth Bass

More Pepper Heads for Smallmouth Bass

Tied a few more Friday evening. Added a little flash to some sage-colored ties with pepper heads as well as another black-n-gray.

Pepper Heads for Smallmouth Bass

Pepper Heads for Smallmouth Bass

I'm going to try my level-headed best to get out and fish for smallmouth bass next week. So, in preparation for that, I tied a few jigs this evening.

Three-sixteenths of an ounce on #1 hooks. I plan to trail a Baby Guido Bug behind the brown and orange ones and a Falls Minnow behind the black-n-gray. Actually, the black-n-gray jig weighs about 1/4 of an ounce and has a 1/0 hook.

Worked with some black-colored NST glitter to create pumpkin pepper and silver/gray pepper heads.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Picture Test of Flake/Glitter and a Question

Picture Test of Flake/Glitter and a Question

What is a good way to photograph flake/glitter shine? I don't seem to do it very well. :(

Redfins for River Bass

Redfins for River Bass

  • Northland Gumball Jigs (1/4-oz.) with 1/0 hook
  • Sally Hansen Nail Makeup - pure chrome.
  • Cover Girl Continuous Color Nail Polish #130 - quicksilver.
  • Naturalstar Glitter - red.
  • PermaPoxy (30-minute) topcoat.
  • Darice Craft Fur - silver.
  • Westrim Craft Fur - red.
  • Plaid black and red acrylic paints.
  • UTC Ultra Thread (210 denier) - red.
  • Britelace - silver holographic.

More Hair Jigs for Bass

These are a few ties that I plan to use this fall for local largemouth and smallmouth bass. Each is tied on a 1/4-oz. ball head with a #1 hook.

Also, I hope to fish these in the Indiana waters of Lake Michigan. The big lake has a healthy goby population that serves as forage to its smallmouth bass. So, I hope that the smallmouth might find these tempting.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Spider Sliders for Smallies

Tough to see the #2 gold hooks in this photo.

  • 1/8-oz. spider slider head with #2 hook.
  • Brown Disco eyelash yarn.
  • Brown nail polish with two-part epoxy for head finish.
  • Orange craft fur.
  • 40-wt. machine embroidery thread and 140 denier Ultra Thread - orange/fl. fire orange.

Baby Bass Jigs

Largemouth bass (LMB) can be cannibalistic. With that in mind, I tied the jigs shown below to represent LMB young-of-the-year. Included are a couple of red-eyed variants. Each is tied on a 1/4-oz. ballhead jig with a 1/0 hook.

May fish them for smallmouth bass too.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Electric Chickens for Bass

This article provides a good background on this popular color combination.

I tied a few jigs with this collor pattern exspressly for local bass recently. :)  Three photos of them will follow below.  I used eyelash yarn and #5 chenille for their tails and bodies, respectively.  The jig heads used weigh either 1/8 or 1/4 of an ounce.

All jigs pictured are a mutated form of Electric Chicken with the exception of my Ugly Bug for 2010 in the upper left of the first photo below.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Another Ugly Bug 2010

Tied this one this morning.  Has a sleeker body and a slightly longer tail.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Ugly Bug 2010

My version. A 1/4-ounce ball head with a 1/0 hook.


  • Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Nail Polish - cardinal.
  • White acrylic paint for base coat.
  • Caron Glimmer Chenille Yarn #5 - apple.
  • Coats & Clark Machine Embroidery Thread (40-wt.) - electric green.
  • Two-part epoxy for jig head topcoat.
  • Westrim Elastic Cording - silver.
  • Googly craft eyes.
  • Cyanoacrylate glue to attach craft eyes.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Chenille-bodied Minnow Heads

  • Arkie Minnow Head Jig - 1/16-ounce with #4 hook.
  • Lion Suede #5 in scarlet, seacrest, and ebony colors.
  • UTC Ultra Thread in red and black - 140 denier.
  • Marabou/feather in limetreuse, black, and gray.
  • Flash in red and gold.
  • White and black acrylic paint for eyes and base coat.
  • Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Nail Polish - cardinal.
  • Two-part epoxy for topcoat.

Thin Minns

  • 1/16-ounce ballhead jig with #4 hook.
  • Gray, white, and black acrylic paint.
  • Two-part epoxy for jig head topcoat.
  • Uni-Floss 600 1x - gray.
  • Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Nail Polish (invisible) for body topcoat.
  • UTC Ultra Thread 140 denier for underbody - red.
  • Wapsi Marabou (Blood Quill) - shad gray.
  • Flymasters/Wapsi Flashabou Accent - red.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Canvasback Jig

Tied this one last night while thinking of duck hunting. 

  • Wapsi Mallard Barred Flank Natural.
  • Arkie Minnow Head Jig - 1/16-ounce with #4 hook.
  • White and black acrylic paint for eyes and base coat.
  • Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Nail Polish - cardinal.
  • Two-part epoxy for topcoat.
  • Flymasters/Wapsi Flashabou Accent - red.
  • UTC Ultra Thread - 140 denier (red) and 70 denier (black).
  • Darice Craft Fur - red.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Assorted Football-Headed Hair Jigs For Black Bass

  • Flymasters/Wapsi Flashabou Accent - red.
  • Darice Craft Fur - brown, gray, and orange.
  • Orvis Polar Fibre - olive.
  • UTC Ultra Thread 140 denier - red and olive.
  • Coats & Clark Machine Embroidery Thread 40-wt. - olive and chona brown.
  • Deluxe Craft Fur - sage green.
  • Red and green acrylic paints.
  • Two-part epoxy for topcoat.
  • Football jigs (1/8-ounce) with either a #1 or 1/0 hook.
The last jig on the right is a sage green and gray half-and-half combination that I think looks interesting in clear water. The jig to the left of it is designed for trailerless fishing. All others are designed to fish alone or with a chunk trailer.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Caramel-Colored Craw for Bass

  • 1/8-ounce football head with #1 hook (I think...)
  • Caramel brown chenille yarn (#5)
  • UTC Ultra Thread (brown) - 140 denier
  • Copper brown and burgundy eyelash yarn
  • Red acrylic paint
  • Two-part epoxy for topcoat

Monday, May 17, 2010

Black Neon Football Jig for Bass

  • Black with silver glimmer chenille (#5)
  • Black and red eyelash yarn
  • 1/8-ounce football head jig with #1 sickle hook
  • Red acrylic paint
  • Two-part epoxy for topcoat
  • UTC Ultra Thread (black) - 140 denier

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Jig Design for Riverine Black Basses

Here are a few 1/8-ounce ball jigs tied to emulate popular tube jigs. I use them in fishing situations where I might otherwise select a green pumpkin or watermelon-colored tube.

  • #5 willow green glimmer chenille
  • Dark, olive-green eyelash yarn
  • Black UTC Ultra Thread - 140 denier
  • 1/8-ounce ball head jig with #2 hook
  • Yew-colored acrylic paint
  • Clear nail polish with glitter
  • Two-part epoxy topcoat
This type of jig tumbles along pretty well in current, even with its exposed hook.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Camera Test - More Chart Toppers and a Bass Jig

I purchased a new camera recently.  It's an inexpensive German-made device with 12 MP resolution.  Thought I'd try it out and post a photo of more of my favorite crappie jigs to tie.  I hope that you're not tired of seeing these. ;)

The center jig is a 1/8-ounce bass jig that I tie.  It's a typical chenille-bodied jig with an eyelash yarn tail.  Its profile is designed to be similar to a 2.5-inch plastic tube jig that might be fished for bass.

The "Chart Toppers" weigh about 1/16 of an ounce and have #4 hooks.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My Latest Chart Toppers

Chart Topper

  • 1/16-ounce ball head jig with #4 rounded-bend hook.
  • Fl. yellow and limetreuse craft fur.
  • Flat-waxed Nylon thread, 70 denier - fl. fire orange.
  • White, black, and orange acrylic paint.
  • Yl. chartreuse nail polish.
  • Clear nail polish.
  • Fl. chartreuse/pearl flashabou accent.
  • Two-part epoxy topcoat.
Eyelets to be drilled out before fishing them.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Brush Clean Up After Epoxy Coating Jig Heads

I use two-part epoxy to coat jig heads quite frequently.  My glue brush requires immediate cleaning in order to avoid stiffness from leftover glue.  So, I add isopropyl alcohol (91%) to an empty glass jar and work the fluid into the brush bristles immediately after I finish coating my jigs.  Then, I rinse the brush in hot water to remove any residual glue from the bristles.

Try this sometime to see if it works for you.  Your brush bristles should remain soft, flexible, and last much longer.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Bass Kreatures

Tied a few bass kreatures recently while experimenting with different combinations of hair and chenille.  Silicone skirt tabs are new to my style of tying, as are football head jigs.

A fun way to spend cold winter evenings.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Tied a couple of jigs with natural wool.  The blue backs are formed with streamer hair, which is Icelandic sheep wool.  The white bellies are tied with lamb's wool.  To me, this is a good-looking material combination.  I hope that the fish like it too.

  • One-sixteenth ounce ball head jigs with #4 VMC rounded-bend hooks.
  • UTC Ultra Thread (white) - 140 denier.
  • Saltwater blue streamer hair.
  • White lamb's wool.
  • Copenhagen blue acrylic paint.
  • Black and white acrylic paint for jig eyes.
  • Two-part epoxy for clearcoat.
  • Krystal Flash - light blue/pearl.
A note on wool.  It absorbs water, which makes the wet material weight a concern to fly fishermen.  Not so for jig fishermen.  The heavier, the better for casting purposes.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


It's one nifty little film/thread.  Try it sometime to make thread-bodied jigs.

It really provides a nice body look and shimmering colors.  The colors used above are copper and fuschia, I believe.