Make Custom Crappie Jigs
Our Outdoors – By Nick Simonson
As winter blankets, and blankets, and blankets the region with snow, it is becoming more apparent that it will be a long season indeed. That’s not a bad thing if you need some time to get your tacklebox ready for one of open water’s early quarries – prespawn slab crappies! If you remember the excitement of picking huge specks out of the reeds in April, those memories of last spring should spark your efforts at the vise!
Once active crappies are found, a quality crappie jig is all that is required to catch them. I don’t recall an outing in the past year where I needed live bait to haul in a dinner’s worth of crappies; they all came on custom crappie jigs and doll flies which are easily replicated at home. What follows is a tutorial on how to make your own custom crappie jigs for use on your favorite water. From here, you can tie walleye jigs, bass jigs, or big bucktail jigs for pike – just let this column serve as a gateway to a winter full of fun lure-making projects!
Custom Crappie Jig Materials (Figure 1):
Jig – 1/16 ounce jig, with no barb or collar
Thread – 6/0 to match pattern
Body – Medium Chenille
Tail – Marabou and Krystal Flash
In this example we’ll be tying up a jig with a chenille body and marabou tail with Krystal Flash accent. I’ve included some pictures of other modifications and combinations that you can put together as well. Use this pattern as a guide and then test the limits of your imagination.
Secure the jig in your vise and form a base layer of thread next to the head (Figure 2). Take a pinch of strung marabou and tie it on the top of the hook shank, wrapping several times along the shank to secure the material to the hook (Figure 3). You can shorten or lengthen the marabou tail by using a shorter or longer pinch of marabou.
Rotate the vise and select another pinch of marabou the same length as the first. Tie it in on the bottom of the hook as you did the first portion (Figure 4). Once completed, wrap the marabou down firmly, forming a thread bed. Select a couple strands of Krystal Flash material to accent your marabou tail. In this instance, I’m using silver.
Pinch the Krystal Flash strands on either side of the hook shank and tie them in place securely. They should run down the middle of the marabou tail. Wrap the tail materials into place one more time and advance your thread about half way down the hook shank (Figure 5). Apply head cement to the tied-down area to secure the marabou and Krystal Flash in place.
At this point, cut a four-inch piece of medium chenille to wrap around the hook in order to form the body. You should be able to pinch and scrape one end clean, revealing the string in the middle of the chenille. Tie the chenille in by this string, advancing your thread right up to the jig head (Figure 6).
Wrap the chenille evenly up the hook shank, each wrap sitting against the other, until you reach the head of the jig. Tie down the tag end of chenille with the thread several times near the jig head and trim the tag end of the chenille as close to the hook shank as possible (Figure 7). Whip finish and apply a drop of cement to the back of the head, it will sink into the thread and the last wrap of chenille, binding them to the hook. Your jig is ready for action (Figure 8).
There’s more than one way to dress it up, as there are a lot of different materials to work with (Figure 9) and a variety of jig styles and sizes. For even smaller crappie jigs, you can skip the chenille body. Shorten or lengthen the tails to adjust to what the fish want. See what fish-catching combinations you can come up with this winter to try on those hungry slabs next spring…in our outdoors.