Homegrown Jigs

When presented properly, Steelhead pay more mind to the color of your offering above anything else. Whether you choose to float or drift (yarn balls, jigs or bait), the Chrome Ghosts are more visually attuned more than you or I can ever comprehend. Yes, a third of their brain is dedicated to olfactory sensor receptors (smell), but, the proper combination of color and scent will ensure a sure fire bite from any cooperative fish.

I've had the great privilege of raising many Steelhead anglers, and have experimented with my approach to helping them land their first Steelhead. Some have accosted their first on the spoon, others have punched number one using jigs, and yet others on bait and yarn balls. Hands down, there is nothing more rewarding than watching one of my students enjoy the fullness of taking their first fish on something they made with their own hands. Powerful, provocative and shaking the inner being. For you latent anglers or weathered folk alike, today you'll be learning how to tie Bead Jigs with Reel Priorities.

Homegrown Jig Constituents

First, we lay out our materials: predrilled First Bite Beads, 1/8th ounce Aerojig heads, Hareline Dubbin Ultraviolet Krystal Flash, 15 pound Maxima Ultragreen Monofilament, Glo Bug Yarn and Singer Scissors. Make sure not to cheap out on the yarn or the scissors, as both are imperative and crucial components of any craft Steelhead related that you take to.

Cotton Candy Pink, the exact Homegrown Jig that enticed my 21st Steelhead, and first Steelhead on something produced by my own hand

About my 20th Steelhead along during season one of Steelheading, I decided the time had come to catch something crafted by my own hand. She was a small, compactly built Hatchery Hen, one that fought it's way into my heart, for the time to come. There's something scared about successfully enticing Steelhead by an offering of your own craft, something that I believe is imperative to pursue, as it positively impacts the personal growth and development of the upper echelon Steelhead angler. 

Thread two (or three) First Bite Beads onto the head of an Aerojig.

Cut a 4" strand of Glo Bug Yarn along with 3 pieces of Hareline Dubbin Ultraviolet Krystal Flash. Place the 4 pieces combined through the center of the monofilament loop, and pull the strands  lightly until they touch the first bead of the jig body.

Measure and cut one 12" strand of Maxima Ultragreen and thread it  through the bead body of the jig. Make sure to created an open loop with the monofilament, at the hook end of the jig.

Pull monofilament and materials through the two (or three) beads until snug against the jig head. Remove the piece of monofilament by pulling on a single end of the line. Wet the yarn and separate the Krystal Flash, trimming each material to desired length.

One thing I find that affects the number of floats taken under the surface each outing is not the weight of the jig head, but rather the size of the jig body along with the approach and angle of the presentation, in relation to where you believe a particular Steelhead to be sitting. Furthermore, it does help to scent your jigs naturally with Shrimp, otherwise make certain to pack along a bottle of ProCure, to mask the scent of the jig; thoroughly coat the head of the jig along with the monofilament of fluorocarbon leader material it is clinched to (thank you, Timothy Kusherets for this invaluable information).

Depending on the time of day and location of your river approach, remember to work the water close, far, fast and slow; I guarantee you'll increase the amount of fish you hook, with the jigs you tie at home.

Rock to rock. Cast by cast.