Making your own jigs, part 1: Special contributor Eric Koenig

Posted: March 3, 2014 by Hellcat in Fish Reports, Gear Fishing, Tutorials
Tags: , ,


It started out as very slow day on the river. My fishing partner and I witnessed two steelhead caught but nothing spectacular as the bite seem to have completely dropped off. Rummaging through my pack I decided with the water clearing to bobber and jig fish. As I was looking for something I could fish with confidence, a big bright pink rabbit fur jig caught my attention. I had tied this jig not a week ago in hopes it would catch me a steelhead this year.

I showed my friend and he said “That’s too big and bulky for this clear water”. Ignoring his advice I tied it on to my line anyway and sent it out in the run. I slowly and methodically worked it behind every boulder in the run with my jig in hopes that a steely would grab it.

Just as I was about to give up I sent it down below all the way to the tail out right next to a boulder and right before it hit the whitewater, my bobber pegged. I set the hook hard knowing that I had probably hit a snag. To my surprise this snag started fighting back and turned out to be the biggest hatchery steelhead of my life. I fought this fish hard trying to keep it out of the whitewater and the snags until I was finally able to coax it to shore where my friend tailed it. The prize ~ 13lbs of hatchery winter run and it had come on my own jig! What a rush!!!

Catching a fish on a jig you hand tied yourself is one of the biggest thrills I have experienced. There is just nothing as satisfying as catching fish on your own home made jigs. The greatest thing about tying your own jigs is how creative you can get making your own patterns. You can come up with stuff no one has ever seen before. I really enjoy tinkering with patterns and making some weird stuff. Remember fish do not have hands so anything that interests them they’re going to pick up with their mouth.


There are many jig sizes to choose from. The best way to start is to ask yourself what kind of jig fishing you will be doing. Are you going to be fishing for steelhead or salmon? Under a float or twitching? Your target species and your application will dictate the jig size you will choose. For steelhead fishing suspended under a float I personally like an 1/8oz jig head in almost all conditions unless the water is muddy then I use a 1/4oz.

The reason for me using a bigger jig is I want a bigger profile in muddy water so it is more visible to the fish. If I’m tying jigs for twitching silvers and pinks I’ll use a 3/8 or 1/2oz jig head. I really only use a 3/8oz most of the time unless I’m trying to get my jig down in faster deeper water then I’ll make the switch to 1/2oz. There are many places that you can purchase jig heads such as Brad’s Jigs, Bobber Down Jigs, and at your local tackle shop.
Today there are so many hook brands it can get confusing on what is a good strong, sharp and reliable hook. I like to stick to three brands ~ Owner, Gamakatsu, and Mustad. I fish all three brands with confidence and there really isn’t that much of a difference to me. I use these brands of hooks for just about every type of fishing I do for salmon and steelhead because I trust that these are the best hooks on the market. With the best hooks on the market the price is going to be a little more expensive but it’s worth it knowing your hook won’t bend out when you hook a fish.

Well that’s Part 1. Stay tuned for Parts 2, 3 and 4 where I show you how to paint and tie your own jigs.

Tight Lines

Eric Koenig
AAA Pro-Staff

  1. Hustler says:

    Cool topic. Can’t wait to read the follow ups.

  2. Sal Monid says:

    Ditto what Hustler said. I have tied some jigs but the look pretty haggard and can definitely use an upgrade from a pro. Sal

  3. stricker says:

    Strong sauce.

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