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Bucktail Jigs - how to...

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I was taught around 20 years ago and have been tying and fishing them alot ever since. Jigs without a doubt are the most versitle tool a fisherman can have. And hair jigs be it bucktail, calftail, or some of the new synthetics have a time and place. We fish small 1/16 to 1/100 oz jigs for crappies, gills, and perch all year round and bucktails will produce walleyes spring summer and fall. Smallies love them also. They can be tied bulky on a light jighead and finess swimmed or tied on a heavier jig then rip jigged through emmerging weeds. Tip em with plastic, minnows, leeches, or our favorite a half crawler...

With a few basic tools like a vise, scissors, and a thread bobbin your ready to rock. Materials are not much either - a few diff colors of thread, some diff jigs, tails, and maybe some crystal flash...

Some guys use heavy thread but I prefer a much smaller diameter thread as the heavy stuff builds up to quick and I get a more durable jig by useing lots of wraps with the thin thread...

The best hair comes from the bottom third of the tail. Anything above this and the hair is hollow and will crush and flair with any pressure from the thread. Folks use this hair for tying deer hair poppers - if you have no use for this maybe you know someone who does.

Most of my jigs are multi colored: 2-3 diff colors of hair so they will be put on in multiple clumps. Even on jigs that are one solid color I will put on the hair in 3 clumps: one clump on the bottom farside, one on the bottom near side, and one on the top - the pictures will show this better. Some guys will put on all the hair in one big clump but not only is it harder to handle but it is far less durrable - the inner hairs come out easier and once they start comming out the rest follow. Pinching and cutting the right amount of hair takes alot of getting used to...


Start the jig in the vice upside down and wrap the thread 8-10 times to get it locked and started. Trim the tag. A drop of zap a gap or thread epoxy can be added now. You'll have to forgive my unmanicured "man hands". Im a cook and the kitchen is rough on hands as well as icefishing alot...


Here im tying one of my perch patterns. Get a clump of hair pinched and trimmed to the right length. Now hold it on top of the jig and make a few wraps to lock it, then make a few more dozen wraps...


Now for some chartreuse or yellow. This clump is gonna go on the side towards you then your gonna rotate the jig in the vise so its hook up and place another clump on the near side...


Next a clump for the top of either olive or black...


Next some stripes with a sharpie marker. Usually I tie this pattern on a black head with orange thread...


Next i'll show an example of a solid color tied in my normal 3 clump procedure.

First clump goes on the top far side of the hook...


Next clump goes on the near side, closes to you...


Now rotate the jig and add a clump to the top...


Some jigs I add crystal flash. I dont get crazy with it but will put 9-12 strands into some patterns...


Place 3-4 strands say 3 places around the jig. After building up a nice colar finish with a whip-finish, which is basical a few overhand knots. I will then hit the thread with zap a gap or thread epoxy and she's ready to fish...


BTW this has been my go to jig on our september canadian walleye trip the past few years. 3/8 oz black and olive tipped with half a crawler fished casted and dragged or swam back to the boat anchored on the spot on the spot which was somewhere on a hump or drop off usually in 20-28 fow...



Heres a pict of my jig box loaded up before our aug and sept canada trips...


Heres a few panfish jigs tied with calftail and "unique" hair in 1/16, 1/32, and 1/100 oz. These I usually tie with 2 clumps, one top and one bottom..


Hope this helps and or inspires someone. As you can see the color and patterns are endless. And you can enjoy catching fish on something you designed and created. And something that nobody else has while saveing money too...

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CustomRodFan - yep thats an actuall bucktail. I did not die it though. Thata a whole nother process I know nothing about, but im sure if a guy poked around the net he'd find out how. I save my deer tails but never got into coloring them. I use a fair amout of white in streamers and a few jigs so a couple tails is enough. Two diff ways of saveing the tails. You can just cut them off at the base then carefully split them and remove the meat,fat ,and bone. Next saturate the fileted open exposed part of the tail with salt. We skin our deer from the neck down so when you get done the tail wil be inside out and devoid of the junk inside, and attached to the hide, just cut it off and apply some salt to the exposed ends and get some down inside. In that first pict the tail has been split length wise, thats how they are prepaired for selling

Tails vary alot from deer to deer. Some are so thin and wispy they are useless. Others are thick but the hair is so uneven you have to "stack" it to get a semi-evenended jig(i'll post some pictured on how to stack hair without a "stacker" later). Some tails the hair has no kink or curl, the hair looks like it has been straightned. These I dont use. I prefer to not order tails on-line or via catalogs because they vary so much. I like to go to a fly shop and hand pick them for my preferences...

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I 2nd the nice job on the tutorial!! We are getting some good info out on this forum. Nice to see people sharing info they have learned(much of it the hard way I am sure) with others who are looking to get into new things.

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Thanks guys!

Thunder - I have one of those cases for you. When we get on the perch in a few weeks i'll bring it along. Here's 08's perch pattern. Otis sent me some of the ultra minnow heads an I like them. Im sure the weed-line eyes on Oneida will too. grin.gif


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Otis - I prefer thinner thread used in flytying like 6/0. The stuff labled for "jigs" builds up way too fast im my opinion. I beleive I get a mort durable jig by useing lots of wraps of the thinner stuff.

Any stuff labled as head cement will work or I useually use zap-a-gap...

Eye's are a pain! If your powder painting, I use sharpie markers for eyes. Epoxy paint and powder paint dont get along well but it can be done. If the jig has a flat side I like the small stick on eyes. Those sockets on the "ultra-minnows" you sent me are perfect for the stick on eyes...

Thunder - white with a hint of blue and maybe a darker back. ;\)

When your throwing hair down the east end in the fall - what size jig ya useing?

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 Originally Posted By: Otis1
What does everyone use for thread and head cement?

Also, what type of paint should I use for eyes?

I use 3/0 thread and water based head cement. I have also used a water based rod varnish for durability.

I have found the lacquer paint for eyes holds up the best. I have used enamel paint but it doesn't stick to the powder paint well.

To make the eyes I use different sizes of finishing nails. Dip the head of the nail in paint and apply to the jig head. Experiment on a piece of scrap paper for eye size.

I have used the stick on eyes and really liked the looks but have had problems with them not sticking and comming off.

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Jay,I usally throw 3/8 to 1/2 oz there is a good undertow where I fish.I think the hint of blue with a light green olive color or light grey would work great alot of the minnows are that color.Maybe a few strands of crystal flash also just a few suggestions ;\)

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