jigs vs. coneheads

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by steve, Dec 31, 2001.

  1. steve New Member

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    Does anyone fly fish for Steelhead using jigs? Do they work better then streamers with cone bead heads? I've been thinking about trying some small jigs tied with marabou fished like a nymph under either a big boyant strike indicator, or maybe a steelhead caddis or wally walker. Has anyone ever tried this? Does it work? Any advise would be apprieciated.
    -Steve
  2. ray helaers New Member

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    I don't see any difference between a jig and a bunny strip or marabou fly tied with a big conehead or a pair of clouser-type eyes. I've seen jigs that look suspicously like a woolly bugger. I do suspect that some steelhead jigs might be slightly heavier than most of the coneheads you could buy in a fly shop, and may be more difficult to cast. However, I certainly don't see how anybody could object to copying a jig pattern. I guess what keeps a fly in the realm of "respectable" sport may simply be adding the conehead on yourself rather than having the lead melted onto the hook-shank at the factory.

    "Nymphing" a weighted steelhead fly under a strike indicator (in function and intent, indescernable from a "bobber" to any ten-year-old boy)is a perfectly respectable, effective, and time-proven method, especially handy in small streams or fishing from the boat in between more "traditional" fly water. It's a great way to take advantage of very productive water generally surrendered to the plug-pullers.
  3. guest Guest

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    Last year in the summer I was up at Fortson Hole checking out the action. People were fishing the hole there.They were using john's jigs and a very large corkie as a strike indicator. Do you think that is fly fishing. Lead heads and wrapping Very thin lead around a hook are two different things. Fly fishing is trying to imitate what fish eat. I don't think that is what a jig is. Just my .02 worth Jim S. :TSKTSK
  4. bobkt76 New Member

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    sumner, wa, good old usa.
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    well i too tye up some fly that are shaped liked jig but i use 2/0 hooks ansd also use bbed chan and led wire under the body and lots of marabo i have had very good luck with pink and wight and keep the sunny side up and the krusty side down keeep on trucking
  5. guest Guest

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    Different schools...

    Nicely concise and on point. The Frankenbug lures that are so prevalent in todays flyfishing - an opinion:

    I'm the old school that frowns on such contrivances - coneheads and the like are in the realm of hardware (i.e., gearheads, to thoss out an epithet). My school discounts this bastard child syndrome preferring the purist form (which we then bastardize with a split shot when nymphing - go figure). I even draw the line with strike indicators - too gearish, too much like that "bobber".

    My school says that the act of flyfishing in itself is the reward and fish are just temporal extras not unlike the sighting of the sow and cubs at the water's edge; the eagle rising nearby with HIS catch; the particular weather phenomenum which causes the sudden foggy-mist obscuring the usual visual noise and leaving you alone, one with the waters. I guess I've gone wholeistic with my fishing but, again, that's simply my school and to each his/her own.

    My school also says that others may not share my views and that's okay (not that I'm judgemental or anything such). But please leave the fishfinders and dynamite at home...

    -Old man who likes fishing in snowstorms (as long as there is a relatively full thermos of coffee nearby), it's really cool!
  6. Paul Huffman Lagging economic indicator

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    Yakima, WA.
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    But these salt run fish aren't eating. If steelhead flys imitate anything, it might be precocial males.
  7. Rob Blomquist Formerly Tight Loops

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    Mountlake Terrace, WA, USA.
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    I have tied some egg sucking leeches with 3/16" dumbells and similar sized cones, and I really don't like casting them. Too hard to cast, and too clunky. I much prefer using a large hook (1/0-3/0) and a thin pattern to get the fly down.

    Rob
    who prefers to get the lead out!
  8. ray helaers New Member

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    To each his own; absolutely. However I would point out that all steelhead flies, especially the most traditional, are lures ("attractor patterns" to the purist). From even the most hidebound perspective, it's hard to discern what food arganism is being imitated by a Green Highlander, say, or a Queen of the Waters, or a Solduc Spey. The best, most effective, and some of the most beautiful steelhead flies in our tradition seem to me to be roe imitations.

    A more useful standard (that acknowledges history) might include the following criteria: you should be using a fly or lure that is too light to be cast with a conventional rod and reel, or at least light enough to be efectively cast with a fly line and rod (admittedly some conehead and/or lead-eye flies will be inching toward if not over this line); you should of course be casting said fly with a fly line, relatively well matched to a fly rod; you should be using a narrow-arbor, single-action fly reel, that awards minimal advantage and leverage to the angler (the real purist would eschew any but the most simple click-pawl mechanical drag system, using his palm to control a fish's run - think about that); most importantly, you should manipulate or impart "action" to the fly only with your hands, the line, or the hydro-dynamics of the fished water, rather than with reeling motion or any "swimming," "wiggling," or "spinning" device attached to the fly (again, ANY weighted fly starts to flirt with violating this criterion).

    Of course, some chaps will say they flyfish because the setup makes hooking, playing, and/or landing the fish more challenging (or more fun), and that's as far as it needs to go, justification-wise. Fair enough. Me, I like to use flyfishing to solve, rather than create, particular angling challenges (though I by no means make it a hard and fast rule -check me on a beach throwing at coho). That's why stream trout-fishing is the best, "purest" example: a trout selectively feeding on aquatic insects can ONLY be approached and caught by flyfishing; the naturals are too small and fragile to attach to a hook; the imitations are too light to cast any other way; the very light leaders necessary have to be protected with some very long, supple lever - like a fly rod.

    However, there are other worthy challenges. For instance, a relatively small food item or imitiation needs to be placed very closely to a bonefish to attract his attention, but subtley enough so as not to spook him. OR, for instance, steelhead are holding in a small pool of a small stream or in a narrow slot along a bank, where a fly must be dead-drifted straight down their "feeding" lane (I don't know, maybe it just happens to float into their incidentally open maw). I, for one, see a weighted fly and a bobber (I do insist on calling a float a float) as a perfectly honorable solution, or at least a legitimate compromise. Ultimately, it doesn't absolutely HAVE to be CALLED flyfishing for me to have fun, and I've got about all the tackle I can afford, thanks.
  9. steve New Member

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    Thank you for all the great responses. Not being a purist, other than insisting on using a fly rod at all times for all fishing, I think I will try the jigs under a strike indicator, or possibly a big steelhead caddis. Since I at least tied the marabou tails on I feel like I did something to create the fly/jig. I agree that these come close to gear fishing, but I think they also will give me a better shot at a steelhead. I fly fished for 3 years on the green and white rivers for winter and summer run steelhead before I finally caught one on a black wooley bugger on the surface in November (go figure).With reguards to those of you who are purist, and are able to catch steelhead in a more conventional manner I admire your skill and someday I to will become that efficent at catching steelhead on a fly. In the mean time, enjoy yourselves, and good luck.
    -Steve
  10. Paul Huffman Lagging economic indicator

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    Would a riffle knot push the line because it might impart a wiggle to the fly?
  11. ray helaers New Member

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    Good point. See? It never ends. Clearly, one of flyfishing's many appeals is the endless opportunities it affords to discuss how many mayflies can dance on the head of a pin.

    The avowed greased-liner could certainly argue that he was using a combination of line mending and hydrodynamics to shake the fly's booty. (The addition of the extra knot-tying mojo is a minimal modification, compared to a diving/wiggle "lip" attached to the fly, or a "Colorodo spinner" slipped over the leader.) But it would be worth bringing up when he sniffs at your clouser minnow.
  12. Peterp New Member

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    Hamilton, Montana, USA.
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    Here is some input from the Probably the First guy who ever fished jigs in Washington.
    I came here in 1957, and as some of you know, I was a Bass Fisherman as well as a fly fisher. They used to throw large salmon weights at me when I came in the Sports Bargainhaus in North Seattle, Karl Hauflers place. I spent the next 20+ yrs exploring Lake Washington and Sammamish. Most of that exploration was done with a jig. I could not tell you how many Steelhead, Chinook, Coho, Cutts, Rainbow, Large and Smallmouth Bass etc That I caught on those two lakes alone, but lets just say that you would think I was fibbing.
    I took Jigs to the Rivers, Sky, Stilly, Snoq, Skagit, etc, and fished them like I would fish for Smallmouth, finese just inches off bottom, on 4 to 8 lb test line, medium 6 foot spinning rod. Same results, you would think I am telling stories. There were people following me from my house and watching through binoculars, they just wouldnt believe that I was telling the truth.
    In those days, I am talking about up to the early 70s, most Steelheaders were mentally Challenged and were stuck in the past. Traditional colors, methods etc, were engrained into these guys. Not that they werent good fishermen, but tradition held up the learning process.
    Along about this time a thing called Beadheads were introduced into fly fishing. Flashabou, Crystal flash, Synthetics all were appearing.
    As Most of you have picked up on, the Beadhead is a basic jig. A splitshot just above the fly is a jig, so if you are weighting or dumbelling a fly, you are basicaly making a jig. Obviously the bolo effect in trying to cast one of these things makes it exciting. The Rod builders love it, as many a fine rod has had the tip knocked off by a Jig/fly hitting it on your finest double haul to reach the other side of the river. By the way, a true jig has the hook riding up, to accomplish this on a fly, tie your dumbell eyes on the top of the hook as it is placed in the vise, IE a clouser/jig. I'm being nasty.
    Years ago, the tackle makers introduced the method of the large bobber and a crappie jig, as the new wave for Steelhead fishing. Bingo, you now had caught up to the bass fishermen.
    I commercially tie a Smallmouth jig which is true 1/4 oz on a #1 jig hook. Most of my Customers are Steelhead fishermen. The jig is especially effective in the Southeast streams Grand Ronde Etc, imitating Sculpins, Crawdads, Etc. My color combinations have been called the best ever, lets just say they are as good as most and better than some. Remember, the smaller the line you use, the easier it is to feel, and get down to bottom. My jigs are a big secret, so dont tell anybody, as some of these guys are Purists.
    Now lets go back to Lake Wash. What is the main food there? Sculpins and Crawfish. Period. After taking thousands of Stomach samples from Bass, Trout, you will find out that the Sculpin/Craw imitations and color schemes are going to work anywhere in the US for any species.
    That is what a Jig Does best. It goes to bottom, Its the right color, has the perfect action, and in the right hands is probably the deadliest lure ever made.
    Beadhead flys, same o, Same o.
    Guys keep it simple. If there is a more unsophisticated way to fish than fly fishing, I would like to see it. I understand there are sections of rivers in Oregon, where they have eliminated Strike indicators/Bobbers, and any kind of weighting on the fly, and also no sinking lines, so if you want to be Pure in the nth degree, go there.
    To the guy who started all this, if you think you want to be a jig fisherman go there. I think you will find it the most challenging and difficult form of fishing you will ever attempt, but if you can get it, it will open up a whole new world for you. Lose the bobber and learn to retrieve just inches above the bottom.Some time spent in a swimming pool will give you the idea of how to swim the jig just above bottom. You would be amazed at the size fish you can land using small lines. I have landed chinooks over 35 lbs on six lb test stren, and Cohos in the Stilly, who were still packing lice on Two lb test line when fishing jigs for Searun Cutts. This means learning to change head weight to meet conditions. You can Pinch down the barb, and rename your strike indicator to "Le Bobbaire", stick your nose up in the air and say you are a Jiggist. If you really want to sink low, try throwing a Tube bait/Gitzit near some steelhead and see what happens. One more tip, if you straighten a hook on the rocks and rebend it back, the fish will probably straighen it back out for you. Dont pull on the line, get to a position the opposite of the snag, and usually they will wiggle right off.
    Good luck guys :LOVEIT
    Peter the Jiggist. :DEVIL