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Bass Jigs: A Complete Guide To Making Your Own

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It’s no secret – I’ve been raving about this lure since the very inception of the blog.

Not only is it versatile, but it flat out catches fish when other lures fail to get bit.

I doubted all the stories about its effectiveness, until I tried it myself.

Now, I’m a believer. 

Welcome back once again to Jig Is Up Lurecraft!

Today, it is my pleasure to tell you how I became a believer in fishing bass jigs.

Not only that, but I am going to lay out step-by-step how you can make and fish your own bass jigs so that you too can catch fish when no one else is!

My Story With Bass Jigs

The Beginning

Like I said, I haven’t always been an advocate of bass jigs. 

There were plastic worms and spinners for me to use, why would I ever need anything else?

But as I continued learning the merits of different lures, one fact became clear – a lot of pro anglers win tournaments using bass jigs.

There is a common mantra amongst fishermen that says, “Jigs don’t always catch numbers, but they catch big fish!”

It became obvious to me that jigs were very effective lures for many anglers. Intrigued, I bought a couple jigs and decided to learn how to use them.

And use them I did! I caught both smallmouth and largemouth on those jigs. 

However, though I was catching fish, these jigs had pain points that were cramping my style and getting in the way of improving my fishing success.

For instance, the jig I was dragging on the river bottom was losing its paint job very quickly. After dragging and hopping the jig on the rough river rocks, the jig head’s paint was chipped and battered. 

store bought jig with chipped paint
Chipped paint? 👎

Not only that, but it took herculean effort for me to set the hook! 

Although the jig was meant for finesse fishing, the hook was simply too thick. My finesse fishing setup wasn’t strong enough to easily drive the hook home.

Making My Own Bass Jigs

As I’ve stated many times previously on this blog, this experience compelled me to make my own jigs.

I decided I wanted a jig with a bulletproof paint job. 

It needed to be small (around ⅛ oz) to fit my finesse style of fishing.

Additionally, it needed to have a strong, slender hook that I could drive home with minimal effort.

After a lot of research and experimentation, I built a jig that accomplished each of these things.

I dubbed it “The Tiny Terror Jig.”

Tiny Terror Jig Glamor Shot

One year later, the question arises – was the Tiny Terror Jig a success?

Did the Tiny Terror Jig accomplish everything I wanted it to?

Consider the following facts.

The Tiny Terror caught 3 different species for me this year – smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and green sunfish.

The Tiny Terror caught my personal best smallmouth – a 14.5” bronze brute in an ankle deep creek in Indiana.

On three distinct days this year, the Tiny Terror Jig saved the day for me and caught fish when no other baits in my tackle box were getting bites.

Furthermore, the Tiny Terror Jig steadily caught me fish that were 2x as big as I was catching before.

  • PB Smallmouth
  • smallmouth caught with a jig
  • bass caught with a jig
  • Sunfish jig catch

Was the Tiny Terror Jig a success? For my personal fishing, the Tiny Terror Jig was every bit of a smashing success!

Now that I’ve covered a little bit of personal jig fishing history, let’s dive into different retrieves you can use to fish a bass jig.

How To Fish Bass Jigs

There are many methods and retrieves for fishing a bass jig.

Since today’s article demonstrates how to make a finesse bass jig, we’ll cover two basic retrieves that you can use when fishing a finesse jig.

Check out this article for more information on other types of bass jigs and how to fish them.

Deadstick Retrieve

The deadstick retrieve is very simple, but requires lots of patience.

To deadstick a jig, simply cast the jig and let it fall to the bottom. Then, you simply let the jig sit there on the bottom.

This method requires a lot of patience, but can be very rewarding in areas where fish are not actively biting.

Sometimes, I give the rod tip a few gentle twitches to give the jig some life.

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After several seconds, I pull the jig a few feet closer and deadstick it again.

After fishing several feet along the bottom in this manner, I reel in the jig and pick another target to fish.

Something very important to mention with this retrieve is that it is not optimal for covering a lot of water.

This is a very slow technique that is useful for picking apart a target, such as a wooden laydown or a pile of rocks. These are considered high percentage areas for fish to hang out at, and so you can usually pick those areas apart and catch fish.

Swimming Retrieve

In contrast, swimming a jig is very effective at covering lots of water.

Bass Jig Glamor Shot

For years, anglers maintained that jigs were only meant for pitching and dragging.

However, this stigma didn’t last for long. Over the years, many anglers have unexpectedly gotten bites when quickly reeling in their jig so they could make another cast. 

This phenomenon has prompted many anglers (myself included) to incorporate a swimming retrieve more often in our fishing repertoires.

Swimming a jig is as simple as it sounds. 

Simply cast the jig and start reeling it in. Some people incorporate twitches and tugs to give the jig more action in the water.

I personally let the jig trailer do all the talking when I swim a jig. I reel it straight back, and allow the tail of the trailer to thump and vibrate to get the fish’s attention.

Now that I’ve covered a few basic retrieves that you can use today, let’s dive into how you can make your own bass jig!

How To Make Bass Jigs

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again – I love making bass jigs.

DIY bass jigs have unlocked a creativity in me that I never knew existed.

If you’ve never made a bass jig before, I highly encourage you to give it a try!

The following is a list of materials I use and recommend for making bass jigs.

There are four steps to making a bass finesse jig – pour the jig, paint the jig, tie the jig, and attach the weedguard to the jig.

For this tutorial, I will briefly go over jig pouring and painting. However, for additional details regarding these steps, please check out the article I previously wrote titled Ballhead Jigs: A Complete Guide For The Everyday Angler.

Pour The Jig

As always, I do my jig pouring in a garage or similar area that is free from the elements. 

To follow safety procedures, I also wear safety glasses, welder’s gloves, and a mask to keep out any lead fumes.

Once I am safely equipped, I turn on the lead pot and fill it with lead.

Jig mold with drill bit and round bend hook in the slots

While the lead pot is heating up, I place the jig hook into the Do-It Weedless Ballhead Jig mold. This mold also has a slot for a weed guard pin. 

For this ⅛ oz jig, I use a 1/0 Victory 10575BN jig hook, and a 5/32” drill bit for the weedguard slot. 

Once the lead pot has sufficiently melted the lead, I use the ladle to carefully scoop hot lead into the Do-It Weedless Ballhead Jig mold.

After several seconds, the jig has cooled and I am able to pull it out of the mold.

unpainted jig with sprue

Paint The Jig

Before painting the jig, cut the extra lead (called the sprue) off of the jighead. A few swipes with a metal file will clean up any burrs that remain on the jig head.

To paint the jighead, I gingerly place the ⅛ oz jig head over a heat gun for several seconds.

jig being heated over heat gun

Once it is thoroughly heated, the jig head is swiftly swished into a jar of powder paint for a quick second.

For this jig, I am using Protec Powder Paint in Coppermine color. As I’ve stated in previous articles, Protect Powder Paints have everything you could ever want in a jig paint. 

Coppermine Protec Powder Paint

Their paints are not only very affordable, but they come in a bunch of fantastic colors and are very high quality.

After a brief swish in the jar, I take the drill bit and clean out the weedguard hole of any paint. If I don’t do this step, the weedguard hole will clog with paint and I will be unable to insert a weedguard later.

I also take an extra hook and make sure the hook eye is clean and clear of paint.

A quick clean up and then the jig head is back over the heat gun to set the paint.

To further improve the jig head’s paint durability, I bake my jigs in a toaster oven for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. 

Using this process, the jig head paint becomes rock hard. In fact, I have yet to chip the paint on a single jig that I’ve made using this method.

Tie The Jig

Now we get to add some color flair to this jig!

Today’s jig build will use a color combo I call “Orange Craw.”

Orange Craw
  • 10 strands of light blue silicone material
  • 10 strands of brown silicone material
  • 20 strands of Nature’s Edge orange silicone material

To tie the skirt onto the jig, first I cut off about 3 inches of artistic wire and lay it flat. This wire is what will attach the skirt securely to the jig.

wire laid horizontally in front of a wood background

Now I lay out the skirt material on top of the wire. The blue and orange layers for the bottom of the jig will be placed first.

Blue and orange silicone material on top of wire with a wood background

Next, I place the jig on top of the skirt material and the wire. Make sure the wire is aligned just below the round head of the jig.

Brown jig lying on top of blue and orange silicone with wood background

Once the jig is correctly placed, put the brown silicone carefully on the top of the jig.

Brown silicone on top of a brown jig and blue and orange silicone

Now we are ready to cinch the skirt material onto the jig.

Carefully wrap the wire two times around the collar of the jig.

Before pulling the wire tight, be sure to adjust the silicone as needed so it is equally distributed around the jig.

brown jig with orange and blue skirt material, with wire wrapped loosely around the collar

Using needle nose pliers, grab the two ends of the wire and pull it tight. 

Once I’ve done that, I use the pliers to twist the two ends together. As I do so, I periodically pull the twist to further tighten the wire around the jig collar.

Once the twisted wire is snug up against the jig collar, trim the twisted wire so it is ¼” long. Once the twisted wire is trimmed down, I use pliers to pinch it against the wire wraps so the twist blends in.

Now, all that’s left is to cut off the tabs at the end of the skirt material. 

scissors cutting off orange, blue, and brown silicone skirt tabs

The skirt is now tied!

Attach The Weedguard To The Jig

The last step to making a bass jig is attaching the weedguard. 

Attaching the weedguard is very simple.

First, I squeeze a small drop of Loctite super glue into the weedguard hole on the jig head.

closeup of brown jig with a weedguard hole

Then, I gingerly push the weedguard into the hole. Weedguards come with one end glued together – make sure to insert this end into the hole.

After several minutes, the super glue will have set. At this point, you can use a pair of scissors to trim the weedguard to whatever length you would like.

Brown, orange, and blue jig with a wood background

Now you have a fishable bass jig!

Conclusion: Bass Jigs – A Complete Guide To Making Your Own

Orange and blue Tiny Terror Jig with craw trailer

Bass jigs may not appear glamorous, but they are incredibly deadly.

There are tons of jigs on the market that catch fish.

However, these may not be the jigs for you.

Using the steps in this article, you can make bass jigs that reflect your exact fishing style.


P.S. Want to ease into jig fishing with a simple, easy-to-use jig? 

Check out the Tiny Terror Jig, which is my answer for no-frills, easy jig fishing!


Ready to learn more about bass jigs?

Click on the banner below to check out our complete guide!

A black and blue bass jig on a wood background with the words "Bass Jigs: A Complete Guide To The Best Bass Lure" in the foreground.