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Ode to the Swim Jig

Mike G

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Crafting lures and jigs is every bit as challenging as tying flies. I am an amateur crafter; Jonn is a pro. This continues my homage to Jonn’s swimbait by giving it one of the greatest compliments, imitation. I set myself the challenge of making a swimjig out of materials that I already had estimating my material costs from catalog prices as I went along.

Starting with the jig -$1.00.
I had some of these Weedless Arky jigs on hand. Since the weedgard was already installed I could not powder paint it. I trimmed the weed guard down to 10-12 bristles. I left the black finish alone and added stick on eyes to dress it up putting a coat of Sally’s over the whole head. The jig had a decent collar for the skirt application but lacked a hook to hold the trailer. I made one out of #5 Tooth Proof wire and secured it to the hook with black thread coated with more Sally’s. To keep the hook from pulling out the front end is bent back and tied down under the thread. Costs were 55 cents for the jig and 45 in paint, eyes,thread, wire etc.

The Skirt-55 cents
Clamping jig by the eye worked well for tying on the siliskirt sections. I used 2 black, 2 blue and one grey pad segments. I secured them around the collar with black thread and more Sally’s. Skirt segments thread and Sally’s estimate to 55 cents Lesson learned: use medium thread. The D wt rod wrapping thread I used really built up during the course of tying on all those SS segments.


The Trailer-45 cents.

I noticed these 4 inch shade baits that both Cabelas and Barlows carry in some attractive color combinations. I figured out a way to trim the belly off to make them more like Hammer swimbaits. Lesson learned: trim from back to front with sharp scissors (at least 3 inch blades). Trim just a little bit at a time.

The Reveal!

So I got it all done for $2.00 materials and free labor. It is a bait I would pay for. But it ain’t a real Jonn’s swimjig. How can Jonn sell his for only $4.00 including the trailer bait? Don’t ask.

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try laying the plastic trailer flat or upside down. biting a little chunk out of the trailer down toward the end can add some extra vibe .

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tried both worm rattles and the rattles you can clip to a jig. as you might suspect the rattles inserted in the worm were muted somewhat .I didn't think they made enough difference to justify the extra expense or time .

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Your jig came out very nice. I wish my first swim jig looked as nice as yours.




To be frank with you, it was easy because I was copying your design. But Ernest says I should be perfectly Frank. It was not my first attempt either. You should see the first one I cobbled together about a year ago. But that won't happen. :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Part Deux


To consolidate my learning I made a few more. I made a nice discovery along the way. It was a pain to work around the already installed weed guard even when I clamped the jig by the eye.





I had seen mini hair clips used to hold back materials. They work great to clip the weed guard out of the way.




Since I was using a 1/2 oz head I did not trim the belly on the swimshad.




Another one in Firetiger.



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