that I enjoy making much of my own fishing tackle (while some may call
me cheap, I prefer to look at it as searching for a better "mousetrap"),
Jim Barta recently invited me over to make some jigs. Until a couple of
years ago, I didnít even know how to use a jig (there is an ugly rumor
going around that I still donít), so I was very interested in learning
I was not
only surprised to see just how easy it is to make them, but amazed at
how much cheaper it was (Okay! So I am cheap).
get by the initial investment of a good melting pot ( under $50 ) molds
( $25 ) and gate cutters ($10 ) used to trim of the excess lead, the cost
per jig is really low. Even if you have to buy lead ($1 per pound), and
add in the cost of jig hooks ($5 per hundred), the savings is considerable.
cost of unpainted Ĺ oz. Jigs is about 25 cents each while the cost of
making them is about 8 cents each (if you donít have to buy the lead,
itís down to a nickel apiece). The price of painted jigs really goes up.
As far as
Iím concerned, besides giving you something to do in the winter, the real
advantage in making your own jigs (along with other tackle) is the ability
to customize. Try using a 4/0 hook instead of the 2/0 or 3/0 hooks that
come in commercial jigs. Experiment and try different color combinations.
Try some of the different prism eyes that are available. Use your imagination.
Have Fun!! Isnít that what itís all about??
was surprised at just how fast the pouring process is. We used a Ĺ oz.
Mold that has 6 cavities and a Lee Production pot (about $45) which will
melt and hold about 10lbs of lead in about 20 minutes and has a lever
operated spout in the front for quick, easy pouring. Prior to pouring
the first batch of jigs, quickly heat the mold cavities with a propane
torch to ensure that the lead doesnít hit a cold mold and screw up the
jigs. After that, itís just a matter of how fast you can pour and dump
the finished jigs onto a table (they harden immediately and can be dumped
out, but they will be too hot to handle for a few minutes). Once you have
them all poured, use the gate cutters to trim the excess lead from the
end of the jig and dump the trimmings back in to the pot to be re-melted.
You could probably easily pour a 100+ jigs in an hour.
comes the fun part!! Jim has this down to a science. We were working in
the garage and he just laid a Ĺ dia., 8 ft length of copper tubing across
a couple of ladders and hung about 100 jigs over the tube and ran masking
tape the length of it completely covering the hooks (draping a drop cloth
behind it to avoid painting his garage) and spray painted the jigs with
white jig paint. One thing that he found is that you HAVE to use jig paint.
He tried several different paints as primer (Rustoleum, etc), but none
of them held up to the final color coat of jig paint without dissolving.
the jigs have been primed, the "Better Mousetrap" comes into
play. Itís one of those things that, when you look at it, you say, "Duh!
Why didnít I think of that! The jigs are hung in the grooves of a threaded
rod and the hooks covered with tape to keep them paint free. A thin strip
of wood is then clamped over the hook shanks, holding them tightly in
place against the rod, so that the jigs can be rotated for multi-color
paint jobs. The jigs can be easily locked into any position by using the
lever (eye bolt) on the left end and tightening the nut on the right end.
Once they are painted, dip the jigs in clear, gloss jig paint for appearance
and protection (if using eyes, apply them before dipping the jig in clear
1) Gather up your supplies
2) Pre-heat your mold
3) Add hooks & pour your jigs
4) Apply the base coat
5) Prepare your Jig Painting Bench
Above: Full view of bench
Above: The Adjustment Lever
Above: The tension nut
6) Tape off the hooks
7) Lock jigs in place with clamped board
8) Paint your jigs
9) Dry your jigs with a blow dryer
wear safety goggles and follow instructions provided by the manufacturer
or supplier of the tools and components you are using. TackleMaking is
not responsible for any damage (personal, property, or otherwise) that
results from reading, following, or referencing this article and/or performing
the actions described within it.