Why Tie Flies with Jig Hooks?
In the ever-expanding world of fly-tying one of the more popular and recent innovations has been the use of “jig hooks”. Now, the use of jig hooks isn’t exactly new to the tying scene. They’ve been around for some time, but folks have recently warmed to the benefits of using jig hooks, and their popularity has surged. This is mostly due to the introduction of slotted beads several years ago, making the use of jig hooks easier.
The main issue with jig hooks had been that appropriately sized standard beadheads would not slide around the kink in the shank. Slotted beads solve this by allowing the kink to maneuver through the slot and the bead to nestle up to eye of the hook. Before slotted beads the workarounds to compensate for this were to drastically oversize the bead, bypass the bead and apply another form of weight near the eye, or the method which turned into the “balanced leech”. Slotted beads make things much easier and open the doors for many fly patterns, new and old, to be adapted to the jig hook.
In other forms of fishing, the jig is used in tandem with manipulations of rod to induce an erratic action upon the lure. The same can be done with the fly rod, but the there are several other, more pertinent, reasons to use jig hook flies. With jig hook flies the hook rides what is considered upside-down, with the point above the fly. The benefits of this are twofold. Firstly, snagging on the bottom is reduced (especially true for the second fly in tandem rigs), and secondly, the hook is more liable to set in the top lip or the corner of the fish’s mouth. Both highly desirable traits. Another benefit attributed to jig hooks is that since the weight in the fly is more centered under the line the fly is more likely to ride roughly parallel with bottom, in a more natural presentation. And finally, since the eye is extended out over the bend of the hook the fulcrum is also shifted and the hook is less likely to lever out of the fish’s mouth. This coupled with the long barbless stiletto points popular on jig hooks make for a hook that holds fish very well, but also is effortless to remove.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of jig hooks is that all these benefits come in an elegant simple-to-use solution. The bead is placed on the hook, and it is the work of a moment to adapt a fly pattern to be tied the other way up. Nothing is drastically different in the tying process, yet the outcome is highly enhanced. Our Bozeman fly shop has embraced the jig hook influx and offers several jig head hook styles in a wide range of sizes, from streamers to midges. as well as tungsten slotted beads in both standard colors and pained varieties. Stop by and check out our jig hook tying supplies, as well as our pre-tied commercial jig flies. Also, feel free to come in ask any further questions you may have about tying with jig hooks.