Winter and the Hair Jig

It is 10:53 a.m. on Nov.15, and it is snowing in northeastern Kansas. I haven't made a cast since 3:45 p.m. on Nov. 10, and that is because Mother Nature allowed Old Man Winter to perform his ways upon the anglers and the waterways hereabouts during the past four days.

Besides the snow, thermometers have plummeted from a high of 71 degrees on Nov. 10 to a low of 23 degrees on Nov. 11. Then on Nov. 12 the low temperature was 18 degrees; the low temperature was 12 degrees on Nov. 13; on Nov. 14, it dropped to 8 degrees. At 12:52 a.m. on Nov. 15, it was 15 degrees and by the time the snow began to fall, it was 30 degrees.

According to the National Weather Service in Lawrence, Kansas, this winterlike spell will linger around until at least Nov. 21. In fact, the NWS predicts that the high temperature on Nov. 17 will be 32 degrees, and during the nighttime hours of Nov. 17 and 18, area thermometers will register eight degrees. The normal high temperature for Nov. 17 is 53 degrees, and the normal low temperature for Nov. 18 is 31 degrees.

Another level of measure of the consequences of Old Man Winter's activities can be witnessed by examining the records of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' office at Melvern Lake, Kansas. At 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 10, the Corps measured the surface temperature at the dam, and it was 61 degrees. When they measured it at 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 14, it was 49 degrees.

Another measurement of the magnitude of what transpired in a matter of days can be seen at Shawnee Lake, Kansas. Walt Tegtmeier of Kansas City and a friend fished it on Nov. 9, when the surface temperature was in the mid-50s. On Nov. 13, Clyde Holscher of Topeka, Kansas, posted a photograph of Lake Shawnee on the Finesse News Network, and that photograph focused on the backend of a feeder-creek arm that had a skim of ice covering the water.

A skim of ice covered the end of a feeder-creek arm at Shawnee Lake, Kansas, on Nov. 13. According to Clyde Holscher of Topeka, the first skim of ice appeared on Nov. 12.

During this siege of winterlike weather, several Midwest finesse anglers have been thinking and talking to one another about what lures and tactics that they will employ once the weather moderates. And one lure that they might use revolves around the resurrection of the old-fashioned hair or marabou jig dressed with a tiny trailer.

A tiny hair or marabou jig used to play a major role for Midwest finesse anglers during the cold-water months in decades past. But nowadays, only a few Midwest finesse anglers, such as Stacey King of Reeds Spring, Missouri, and Brian Waldman of Coatesville, Indiana, religiously use it.

King normally dresses his hair jig with a trimmed Uncle Josh No. 101 Spinning Frog. But when I chatted with him on Nov. 14, he said that he was thinking about using a black Z-Man Fishing Products' Scented LeechZ as a trailer this winter. King and I noticed that Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, reported on the Finesse News Network that he recently has been using a 1/16-ounce Cabela's marabou jig dressed with a Z-Man's Scented LeechZ trailer, and it has paid him some dividends in the very difficult waters that he has to fish in north-central Texas.

Thus, it looks as if several Midwest finesse anglers will be periodically using the tiny-hair-jig-and-Scented-LeechZ combo. And as the winter of 2014-15 unfolds, we will file reports and logs on the Finesse News Network and in the monthly guide to Midwest finesse fishing about how, when, and where Z-Man's Scented LeechZ works as a trailer on a tiny hair jig, as well as on a small rubber-skirted one.

The jig at the top of this photograph is a 1/16-ounce black aspirin-head jig, and it is dressed with a black Z-Man's Scented LeechZ. The late Billy Westmorland of Celina, Tennessee, and the late Jim Rogers of Lamar, Missouri, used to wield aspirin-head jigs for smallmouth bass. Rogers used to affix a tiny pork eel to his jig. The second jig is a 1/16-ounce Strike King Lure Company's Bitsy Jig that is dressed with a green-pumpkin Z-Man's Scented LeechZ.

These are the two 1/16-ounce marabou jigs and Scented LeechZs that Steve Reideler of Lewisville, Texas, has been using this November.


For information about how and where Brian Waldman uses his hair jig in Indiana, see theseĀ  articles at these two links:;

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