Hinged Hair Jigs for Bass, Trout, and Walleye

Hinged Hair Jigs for Bass, Trout, and Walleye
An articulated body can be tricky to construct, but its movements bring realism into a new realm.

Hair JigThankfully, tying hundreds of #12 Adams flies for money — as I did in high school and college — bears little resemblance to the creative process of constructing something fish haven't potentially seen before. So last year when a friend of mine from Colorado caught a massive brown trout on a new articulated fly called the "Game Changer," I pondered the pattern's possibilities if tied on a weighted jighead.

Meanwhile, Gabe Hillebrand of Hill Brand Tackle was already crafting two killer jig patterns sporting a single joint, or point of articulation. I've fished with both his Sculptor and Swamp Donkey often enough to realize they go a step beyond what we know today as "hair jigs." The subtle realism with which these patterns undulate, kick, and swim makes a case for adding articulation to many hair jig patterns. For similar reasons, master fly tier Kelly Galloup — the acknowledged creator of this category — now ties nearly all his streamer patterns with articulation. "Once you've seen these flies swim in the water it's hard to go back to traditional streamers because they're so much more realistic and lifelike, and fish respond to them so aggressively," he says.

In the realm of casting and spinning tackle, while numerous softbaits appear startlingly real, the fluid swimming motions of articulated hair jigs prove the relative importance of outward appearance versus how the lure moves through the water. Adding a single point of articulation to a jighead creates multiple dimensions of movement to an already lively morsel. Two or more articulation points result either in a complete disaster or a lure that imitates aquatic life and folk art simultaneously. I've wasted hours and expensive materials tying lures that should have been have been masterpieces, but that fell flat once in the water.

The goal, I eventually realized, shouldn't be to tie jigs with super accentuated body movements — exaggerated serpentine undulations characteristic of certain swimbaits. Rather, the best articulated "swimming" jigs move with a fluid, understated tail-fluttering action. Hair and feathers pull this off better than any plastisol could.


An articulated body can be tricky to construct, but its movements bring realism into a new realm.


Tying the patterns takes as little or as much time as your desired level of detail. First, you need a jighead. I tie with Gopher Tackle Mushroom-VMC Barbarian heads. The easiest way to add articulation is with a Fish-Skull Articulated Shank or the complete Fish-Spine system, composed of a series of interconnected, articulated straight wire shanks that combine to add lifelike swimming motions to countless jig patterns. Wrapping each spine section with marabou, rabbit strips, or synthetic hair fibers such as CCT Body Fur produces subtle articulated motion — something never precisely seen before in the world of casting jigs. Further, because some of these materials absorb a lot of water, they become heavy enough to cast, even with minimal lead weight. I've tied 3- to 6-inch jigs using just 1/32 or 1/16 ounce of lead, which allows you to achieve a seductively slow sink or near neutral buoyancy — each devastating presentations at times.

Before trying articulated tying, check the Swamp Donkey and Sculptor from Hill Brand Tackle. When you're ready to sit at the vice and get artsy, the fun begins. Get it right — craft the jig to properly animate underwater — and you'll have bass, trout, and even walleyes attacking it like a barracuda in July.

Blane Chocklett\'s Game Changer

Blane Chocklett\'s Game Changer White

Hairy Swimmer

Hillebrand Sculptor

Hillebrand Swamp Donkey

Hillebrand Swamp Donkey White

Mega Baitfish

Mega Marabou

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Berkley

Berkley's Frittside Crankbaits

World Fishing Network show host Chad LaChance had a chance to visit with legendary crankbait master David Fritts about his new Frittside crankbaits from Berkley. LaChance, host of the Fishful Thinker on WFN, also got a few cranking tips from Fritts, the former Classic and Forrest Wood Cup champion.

Trailer Bass

Trailer Bass

Doug Stange introduces us to some terrific jig trailer lures for largemouth bass.

New 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch from Simms

New 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch from Simms

Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead gets new product details from Simms Fishing Product's John Frazier about the new waterproof 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch.

Selective Harvest Yellow Bass

Selective Harvest Yellow Bass

In order to sustain good fishing, it's important to understand which to release and fish you should for a fine meal.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Several methods are available to estimate the weight of a fish. Some use length as well as girth measurements. Biology

Walleye Length To Weight Conversion Chart

Dr. Rob Neumann - January 03, 2017

Several methods are available to estimate the weight of a fish. Some use length as well as...

Now more than ever, understanding each category's strong suits is critical to choosing a powerplant that best fits your personal needs and preferences. Boats & Motors

2- Vs. 4-Cycle Outboard Motors

Dan Johnson - April 16, 2018

Now more than ever, understanding each category's strong suits is critical to choosing a...

Pole lines illustrate the paradox of catfishing. At a time when excellent rods, reels, and other Catfish

Catfish Pole Rigs

Richard Peterson with In-Fisherman - April 28, 2016

Pole lines illustrate the paradox of catfishing. At a time when excellent rods, reels, and...

Everything you need to know about popular catfish species and how to catch them on proven riggings. Catfish

All About Catfish

Rob Neumann

Everything you need to know about popular catfish species and how to catch them on proven...

See More Trending Articles

More Baits


Within the cult of talented muskie trollers—veteran guides working Lake St. Clair, Green Bay, Baits

Giant Muskie Lures

Cory Schmidt - October 19, 2017

Within the cult of talented muskie trollers—veteran guides working Lake St. Clair, Green...

The original 4.5-inch solid body YUM Pulse proves that a swimbait is not simply just a bait. Baits

YUM Pulse Swimbait is Multi-Talented

In-Fisherman Online Staff - July 13, 2018

The original 4.5-inch solid body YUM Pulse proves that a swimbait is not simply just a bait.

Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits Zako Swimbait is a power-angler's tool.  Zako is the Japanese word Baits

Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits Zako Swimbait

Ned Kehde - June 18, 2017

Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits Zako Swimbait is a power-angler's tool. Zako is the Japanese word

 In-Fisherman friend Scott Bonnema factors flavors and pheromones into many bass Baits

Making Sense of Scented Softbaits

Dan Johnson - August 14, 2015

In-Fisherman friend Scott Bonnema factors flavors and pheromones into many bass

See More Baits

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.