Dec 18, 2020

INNOVATIVE HAIR JIG BROWN TROUT ARTICLE

BADGER SPORTSMAN

BY MIKE LUNDE

 

            Baitfish cruise through the mysterious depths of the pelagic waterworld. Each species is uniquely different as characterized by their morphology, physiology, and behavior. As they blend into their natural environment, the challenge is to avoid predation at whatever cost possible while fulfilling their life’s destiny that is to successfully eat and spawn. With a multitude of different gamefish species to pursue, the challenge with fishermen is to select the most lifelike lure or fly possible to best represent the primary and secondary forage base in a lake or river ecosystem. In some scenarios, larger fish that have achieved a sense of intelligence often is the requirement for an alternative approach, a technique and presentation “outside of the box” that will hopefully solicit an aggressive foraging response. This is where the combinations of creativity, patience, and a fly tying vise will allow fishermen to tie realistic looking hair jigs that can best accurately represent the various forage bases in an ecosystem. Natural and synthetic tying materials have changed considerably over the decades that allow anglers to match the length, morphology, swimming motion and kinematics, and external anatomy of prey items available to predators.

 

            The Great Lakes have experienced environmental and hydrological changes to the ecosystem that have dramatically altered regime shifts in aquatic vegetation species, distribution of vegetation, water clarity, seasonal lag/delay in development of thermocline, warmer winters, and large-scale climate changes. The introduction of invasive species into Great Lakes waterways through European ballast ships thus resulted in alterations to the biology, ecology, food-web dynamics, and predator-prey interactions in Great Lakes watersheds. Alewives, the preferred and dominant forage base of natural and stocked populations of salmonids in Lake Michigan has experienced fluctuations in recent decades as a result of increased abundance of zebra and quagga muscles. Predators often need to compensate and adjust their foraging tactics when primary forage fish levels are scarce in biomass or in space. Recent introduction of the round goby, a common foragefish species in Europe are largely known to negatively displace native fish from prime habitats and spawning grounds. Despite the negative interactions to the ecosystem, some species in the Great Lakes have taken advantage to consume them as an alternative food resource. Brown trout have gorged heavily on round gobies because of their high abundance and distribution throughout Great Lakes harbors. Other food sources brown trout feed throughout the fall and winter include alewives, gizzard shad, threadfin shad, emerald shiners, slimy sculpin and deepwater sculpin.  

 

            In this complimentary online article, we are going to show you how to tie the hair jig patterns for Great Lakes brown trout as highlighted in the main print edition of Badger Sporstsman. Patterns to be thoroughly discussed include the Bucktail Deceiver, articulated Bucktail Deceiver, Gamechanger, Rabbit-strip leech jig, and squid jig. Each hair jig pattern will specifically have multi-step photography for each corresponding step combined with accurate description.

 

            Here is a list of effective color combinations to tie for all hair jig patterns. Some of the color patterns accurately represent multiple species of native and invasive foragefishes in the Great Lakes while other patterns may not necessarily depict them, but instead radiate bright light and visibility in the water column which would work tremendously well in dirty water conditions. 

 

Color Pattern                                       Top Color                             Bottom Color

 

Blueback herring                    chartreuse, turquoise blue,                              white

                                                royal blue, purple

 

Greenback herring                  chartreuse, forest green, black                        white

 

Round goby                            black                                                               olive

 

Firetiger                                  chartreuse                                            Yellow/Orange

 

Northern Lights blue              royal blue (body and tail)                               white

 

Blurple                                                purple                                                              black

 

Gizzard Shad                          grey, black                                                      white

 

Cisco                                       black, purple                                                   white

 

Chartreuse/white                     chartreuse                                                        white

 

White                                      white                                                               white

 

MATERIALS LIST (for all patterns)

Thread: Uni Mono, Uni #6/0 White, Gel-spun

Stinger hook: #2 Octopus hook

Stinger hook (for articulated deceiver): #2 Gamakatsu B10S

Articulation: 30-pound braid and 2 4-mm beads

Jighead: Gamakatsu darter head, Joe’s Jigs custom-painted darter head

Tail: Schlappen or saddle hackle feather

Tail (Leech jig): Zonker strip

Body (Leech jig): Cross-cut zonker strip or standard zonker strip

Body: dark colored bucktail (TOP) and white or light (BOTTOM)

Body (Squid): Polar Fiber streamer brush

Tentacles (Squid): ostrich feather fibers, Krinkle mirror flash, and trimmed hootchie squid tentacles

Chenille Ball (Squid): Cactus chenille pearl

Eyes: 8mm and 10mm Fish Skull eyes in color Earth

Flash: Krinkle mirror flash or Lateral scale flashabou

Cheeks (operculum): Hen saddle grizzly or thin rooster grizzly feather

Resin: Loon Outdoors Thin and Thick

Curing Light: Loon Outdoors

 

Bucktail Deceiver Jig

 

  1. Start thread position near back of jig hook shank. Tie in pair of schlappen or saddle hackle feathers on each side of the jig hook shank. Hold feathers steady with non-wrapping hand while making slow, controlled wraps. Continue wrapping with series of thread wraps until tightened. Feather should be in horizontal position. Trim excess feather.
  2. Advanced thread forward to thicker diameter portion of jig hook shank. Tie in clump of dark colored bucktail hair on top. Once secured, tie in white bucktail for the underbelly on the bottom. Apply thin application of thin-based UV resin to thread wraps. Cure with UV light.
  3. Advance thread slightly forward of initial bucktail tie-in point. Select clump of darker colored bucktail hair and tie in on top. Tie pencil diameter-sized clump on bottom of jig hook shank ollowed by white clump on the bottom.
  4. Tie in 3-5 strands of peacock curl onto top bucktail clump.
  5. Two methods to make lateral line: tie in 2 strands of lateral scale Flashabou or 5-7 strands of Krinkle mirror flash on both sides of the hair jig. Trim excess flash and make sure length of flash is about even with ends of schlappen feathers.
  6. Select pair of hen saddle grizzly feathers. Tie in one feather on each side of the hair jig to form up the operculum or gill flap.
  7. Whip-finish or apply series of half-hitches to tying thread. Trim excess.
  8. Application of UV-enhanced resin (e.g. Loon Outdoors) to thread wraps and insert holographic 3-D eyeballs into resin. Shine with UV light for 20-40 seconds until coat dries.  Use multiple coats if desired. (Start with thin cure first and use thick on last coat).

 

Note: To ensure extra bulletproof-like hardness of the resin, leave hair jig under direct sunlight for 5-10 minutes and switch to the other side.

 

Articulated Bucktail Deceiver

 

  1. Select stinger hook and insert into vise. Tie in pair of schlappen or saddle hackle feathers on each side of the stinger hook.
  2. Select gel-spun thread. Select 30-pound braid and 2 small beads to form the articulation. Insert one tag end of the braid through eye of the stinger hook and then slide both tags through the two beads. The beads should slide down the braid until they meet the hookeye of the stinger hook.
  3. Center-tie the braid to the jig-hook shank with 2-3 loose wraps. Using fingers, pull the stinger hook back-and-forth until the appropriate distance is finalized. The stinger hook and two beads should be very close distance from the jighook shank.
  4. Switch back to Uni Mono thread. Tie in dark clump of bucktail hair on top and white (or lighter color) on bottom of jig hook shank. Apply layer of thin UV-enhance resin to thread wraps and cure dry.
  5. Advance thread forward. Repeat with dark colored clump on top and white clump on bottom. Apply layer of thin UV-enhanced resin to the thread wraps and cure dry.
  6. Repeat with as many clumps as possible until thread position is near or at front of jighook shank.
  7. Tie in 3-5 strands of peacock hurl for the topping to form the upper back. Trim excess peacock herl.
  8. Select 2 strands of Lateral scale flashabou and tie on each side of the hair jig to form the lateral line.
  9. Select pair of hen saddle or grizzly saddle hackle feathers and tie in one on each side of the hair jig to form the operculum which is the gill flap.
  10. Application of UV-enhanced resin (e.g. Loon Outdoors) to thread wraps and insert holographic 3-D eyeballs into resin. Shine with UV light for 20-40 seconds until coat dries.  Use multiple coats if desired. (Start with thin cure first and use thick on last coat).

 

Gamechanger Jig

 

  1. Select #2 octopus stinger hook and insert into rear section of 10 mm spine. Attach gel-spun thread and secure the gap shut.  Whip finish and trim excess thread. Apply very fine layer of adhesive to wraps if desired.

 

  1. Insert a 15 mm fish spine or shank into the 10 mm spine. Secure the gap shut with gel-spun thread.  Tie in one sparse clump of dark colored bucktail on bottom and white on the bottom for the underbelly. Whip-finish and trim thread.

 

  1. Insert a second 15 mm fish spine into previous 15 mm spine the bucktail body was tied with. Repeat with thread wraps to secure the fish spine gap shut.  Reattach main tying thread.  Tie in another sparse clump of dark bucktail on top and white on bottom. Whip-finish and trim thread.

 

  1. Insert a 20 mm fish spine into previously tied 15 mm spine. Repeat tying steps with dark bucktail on top and white on bottom. Length of bucktail should be slightly longer than used in the two 15 mm spines.

 

  1. Select jig head of choice. Form articulation with 30-pound braid using same steps as outlined in articulated deceiver above. Whip finish excess gel-spun thread and switch to Uni Mono.

 

  1. Start thread position near hook curve of jig hook shank. Tie in sparse clump of dark colored bucktail hair on top and white on bottom to form underbelly. Lenth of clumps should be slightly longer than on the fish spines. Use application of thin-based UV enhanced resin to secure thread wraps. Repeat with multiple clumps of bucktail until thread is near front of jig hook shank.

 

  1. Tie in 2 strands of lateral scale Flashabou or 5-7 strands of Krinkle mirror flash on both sides of the hair jig. Trim excess flash and make sure length of flash is same length as the overall length of the hair jig.

 

  1. Select pair of hen saddle or grizzly saddle hackle feathers and tie in one on each side of the hair jig to form the operculum which is the gill flap.

 

  1. Application of UV-enhanced resin (e.g. Loon Outdoors) to thread wraps and insert holographic 3-D eyeballs into resin. Shine with UV light for 20-40 seconds until coat dries.  Use multiple coats if desired. (Start with thin cure first and use thick on last coat).

 

Rabbit-strip Leech Jig

 

  1. Trim 8- to 10-inch piece of 30-pound braid and loop it through and back over itself onto a #2 octopus hook. This will be the stinger hook.

 

  1. Center-tie in braid with several loose thread wraps. Use fingers to manipulate and create the ideal length of the distance from stinger hook from the jig hook shank.

 

  1. Select rabbit zonker strip and trim a 3-4 inch piece. Poke section of rabbit zonker strip through the hook point and slide down until it touches the jig hook shank.

 

  1. Center-tie the zonker strip to the jig hook shank near the hook curve. Advance thread forward to front of jig hook shank.

 

  1. Palmer the remaining zonker strip forward until at front of jig hook shank. Tie off remaining zonker strip and trim excess.

 

NOTE: Alternative method in step 5 is to tie in a cross-cut zonker strip instead of the standard version. Palmer the cross-cut zonker forward to form the main body.

 

  1. Tie in 2 strands of Lateral scale flashabou or 3-6 strands of Krinkle mirror flash on each side of the hair jig. Trim excess and make sure flash is same length of the hair jig.

 

  1. Select pair of hen saddle feathers and tie in one on each side of the hair jig.

 

  1. Application of UV-enhanced resin (e.g. Loon Outdoors) to thread wraps and insert holographic 3-D eyeballs into resin. Shine with UV light for 20-40 seconds until coat dries.  Use multiple coats if desired. (Start with thin cure first and use thick on last coat).

 

Squid Jig

 

  1. Select #6/0 Uni White thread. Select cactus chenille and trim 3-inch section. Tie in at back section of jig hook shank on hook curve.

 

  1. Wrap the cactus chenille around the shank several times in the same place. This will form a small little “chenille ball” that will help prop the tentacles into better position.

 

  1. Select white ostrich plume. Trim about 15-20 feather fibers. Tie in 1-2 feathers on top of hook shank. With assistance from rotary vise, rotate the vise slightly and tie in additional fibers 1-2 at a time. Repeat until one 360 degree turn is complete.

 

  1. Select Krinkle mirror flash. Tie in 2-3 strands at a time around the jig hook shank 360 degrees.

 

  1. Trim 4 tentacles off a soft plastic hootchie squid. Tie in at following places: top, bottom, and each side. Use application of thin UV-enhanced resin to secure the thread wraps.

 

  1. Take Polar Fiber streamer brush. Trim a 3- to 4-inch section. Tie in one section and palmer the brush all the way forward until its at the front of the hair jig. Tie off and trim excess streamer brush material.

 

  1. Position set of large 3-D holographic eyes near the hook curvature area where the streamer brush body starts in front of the tentacles. Secure position with multiple applications of UV enhanced resin. Use curing light to dry resin.