Curing the wintertime blues
For many of us, the cold winter weather has made its way to your favorite local fishery. Water temperature has been flirting with 40 degrees and the bass are adjusting accordingly. Their metabolism slows way down and bites can be few and far between.
If many of you are anything like me, and I know that many of you are, you try to get your fishing fix any way you can. Whether you’re changing split rings and treble hooks or cleaning your reels, there are many ways you can have a productive off-season off of the water.
I like to spend the colder months of the year beefing up my jig stash. Instead of heading to the tackle shop and buying jigs that everybody else is buying I like to pour my own. In this week’s article I’m going to go a little in-depth about the process of hand pouring, painting and skirting your very own custom bass jigs.
What you will need:
Melting Pot (Lee Precision)
Heat Gun (Local Hardware Store)
Dremel (Local Hardware Store)
Safety Glove (Local Hardware Store)
1/8” brass dial rod (Local Hardware Store)
Needle Nose Pliers (Local Hardware Store)
Epoxy (Local Hardware Store)
Powder Paint (Do-It)
Jig Mold (Do-It)
Jig Tying Thread (Do-It)
Vise / Fly Tying Vise (Do-It or Hardware Store)
Hooks For Your Specific Mold (Do-it)
Weed Guards (FishingSkirts.com)
Silicon Skirting Material (FishingSkirts.com)
Oven (Use your Mom’s, Wife’s or Girlfirend’s..They wont mind)
Plug in your melting pot
(This specific pot has 10 different temperatures; I like to set mine on 10)
Place your mold’s specific hook in the hook slot with the weed guard pin.
(These pins will come with the purchased mold)
Once the lead has melted place your mold under the pour spout and lift up on the handle. Stop pouring once the lead becomes flush with the top of the mold.
(If using a ladle pot, scoop the melted lead out of the pot with your ladle and pour it into the slot that your hook is resting in until flush with the mold.)
Once the lead cools, use a pair of needle nose pliers to jar the jig head loose. Then, break off the excess lead leftover from the pour cavity and remove the weed guard pin.
I like to take a dremel to the jig head to clean it up and remove any impurities. Once the jig head is clean I take a ½ inch piece of your 1/8” brass dial rod and place it into the weed guard slot. This is to prevent any paint from getting into where the weed guard needs to be epoxied in. You can get away with using the same pin that comes with your mold but it is very difficult to clean and re-use for another pour.
You are now ready to powder coat your jig head! Once your heat gun is plugged in and standing upright, turn it on high. Use your needles nose pliers to hold the jig head over the heat gun for about 12-15 seconds. After 12-15 of being heated dip the jig head into the powder paint and then remove your brass dial rod.
(Pictured you will see that I made a fluid bed out of an aquarium pump, some PVC and a coffee filter. This fluid bed pushes air from up under the powder paint. If made correctly, your powder paint should appear as though it is “boiling.” This allows the jig head to be covered in a very even coat of paint and yields better results than dipping your heated jig head directly into your jar of powder paint. Ican go more in depth about how to make your own fluid bed at a later time.)
Place your jig head in the oven for about 30 minutes and 350 degrees. This process allows the powder paint to adhere to the lead making it much more chip resistant.
Once taken out of the oven and cooled, it is time to tie on your skirt. The average jig utilizes about two and a half tabs of silicon skirting but for simplicity’s sake we will only be using two.
Place your jig head in your vise and wrap the throat of the jig about 5-7 times with your fly tying thread. This provides a good foundation for the skirting material that you will be adding.
Next, fold your first tab of skirting over the thread (as pictured)
And continue the wrapping process. Once the first tab is secure, I like to go over it three more times before adding the second tab of skirting material. Then, repeat this process for the remaining tab. Once the skirting material is evenly distributed, tie off your thread.
Though super glue would suffice, I prefer epoxy due to its strength and clean finish. After mixing a small amount of your two-part epoxy together in a bottle cap, apply a small amount to the bottom of your weed guard and place it in your jig’s weed guard slot. If you are having trouble fitting the weed guard into place, chances are a little paint made it’s way into the slot. This can be easily removed with a 1/8” dremel bit.
The finished product! You now have a jig that is unlink any other that the bass in your local lake have seen. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different head styles, colors, and types of skirting materials.
Nothing compares to the satisfaction you get when fooling a finicky bass on something you made with your bare hands. I encourage everyone to craft their own tackle in some way shape or form. Whether its pouring plastics, tying jigs or carving swim baits, I encourage everyone to craft their own tackle in some way shape or form. Sometimes the slightest tweak or adjustment in a presentation makes all the difference in the world.
For a closer look at some of my work, head on over to www.SlatesBaits.com
or @SlatesBaits on Instagram.
For any questions, comments or concerns, please do not hesitate to email me at Slayton.Steven@Gmail.com. I would be more than happy to discuss this process to anyone looking to dive head first into it!