Homemade Gypsy Jig

May 21, 2010 by  

By Nick Simonson

When I was just getting the hang of what worked and what didn’t on the water, I stumbled on what was, at the time to me, a miracle lure. It was a banana head jig with a fan-shaped skirt made from krystal flash called the Gypsi Jig. For that summer, it was available in 1/32- 1/16- and 1/8-ounce sizes. With the 1/8-ounce model in orange, black and chartreuse color patterns, I thumped the smallmouth and walleyes from Baldhill Dam to Fort Ransom either by tipping the lure with a minnow on tough days, or just letting the free-flowing flash material seal the deal. But as with all good things, the jig’s maker discontinued the 1/8-ounce model, and the Gypsi Jig became solely a panfish-oriented lure in the smaller sizes.

Gypsy JigThis winter, I tied some bare 1/8 ounce ballhead jigs up with krystal flash in anticipation for my recently completed smallmouth trip to my home water, hoping to recreate the magic that the Gypsi Jig worked on my favorite flow. I was not disappointed, as the lure turned fussy post-frontal spring smallmouth into biting fish, and I landed a number of nice bronzebacks on these modified ballheads. The pattern is easy to assemble on the vise and can be tied with any color of krystal flash that suits your mood or that of the fish.


  • 1/8-ounce ballhead jig (no collar, color of choice)
  • Krystal flash material (color of choice, here)
  • 6/0 or 3/0 tying thread to match pattern (here orange)

To start, lock the jig firmly in the vise and form a small thread bed adjacent to the head of the jig. Tie in a pinch of krystal flash on the top half of the hook shank with a couple loose wraps and move the flash around the top half of the hook shank. Secure the krystal flash with more thread wraps so it is firmly in place. Rotate the vise and tie in a second pinch of krystal flash with a few loose wraps and position the flash around the bottom half of the hook shank. Secure the material in place, whip finish and trim the thread and any excess materials near the jig head with a scissors or Exacto knife; then add a drop of head cement for posterity.

Trim the tailing material to your desired length – recognizing that a shorter tail will help prevent short-striking by fish if you decide to fish the jig without bait. Cut a short tail and this jig would make an excellent “fly” for the popular late season Float ‘n Fly presentation. Go long and it’s a great minnow imitator for summer fishing. The krystal flash material also serves as an excellent substitution for bucktail hair on standard spring offerings as well. Try different colors, different amounts and different lengths of krystal flash to determine what the fish in your water like best.
Almost three years after Northland stopped making the 1/8-ounce Gypsi Jig, I happened upon a dozen of them in a dusty bulk tackle display at a gas station in Deer River, MN. Needless to say I bought the entire lot and rationed them for two seasons until I sacrificed my last one to the toothy maw of a rogue northern pike. Happily now, I have found a suitable replacement for the Gypsi Jig and have fun catching fish on another lure of my own making. Give the “Not Quite a Gypsi” Jig a shot this spring; I’m sure it will make you more successful on your fishing adventures…in our outdoors.


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