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Jigman Plugs

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

TimS has been kind enough to allow me access to the commercial BST forum. Let me state up front that I have no intention of turning this into a full-time job. I am a hobby builder and plan to keep things that way. I will offer plugs for sale from time to time to offset my own building expenses. As such, the plugs that I offer up will be in smaller batches and at reasonable prices. When I turn stuff for me, I'll turn some extras for SOL.

For those who do not know me, I started plug building in 2001. While I mostly fish freshwater (stripers, hybrids, smallmouth), I have spent a week fishing the surf each year since 2003 (Cape Cod and Rhody). If you see a plug for sale by me, its something that I have tested, tweaked, and tested some more until I got the action I was after and the fish liked. I will not offer a plug for sale unless it has proved itself worthy of a place in my plug bag. All plugs offered for sale are also test swum by me to insure that they'll work as advertised.

I build a variety of plugs (various metal lips, spooks, pencils, poppers, bottles, darters, hand carves, etc.). Some of the plugs I build are what I would term niche plugs: they were built with a certain set of conditions in mind. Other plugs were designed to work in a variety of conditions. When I post plugs for sale here I'll indicate the types of conditions where I use the plug, or where I would not use the plug, so you'll have a good idea of whether the plug will be of use to you or not. I’ll also try to keep this thread updated with tips on how I use the various plugs that offer. If you ever have a question on the plugs that I build, how to use them, etc., please feel free to PM me. I'm always happy to talk plugs and fishing :-)

If you buy plugs from me, you can take comfort in the fact that all proceeds will go to a good cause: the buy jiggy more fishing stuff fund Hey, it's a win-win-win situation. I get more stuff, you get plugs, and the fish will get to beat on some wood that they do not see that often. What's not to like


Edited by Jig Man - 11/30/11 at 9:32pm
post #2 of 11
Thread Starter 

I tune my pikies to swim on top with the nose down, a wide wobble, and nice tail wag. They'll throw a nice wake this way. They will handle a decent amount of current just fine. It will take a moderate to fast retrieve to get them to go subsurface as they are currently tuned. If you are more interested in fishing fast water (e.g., a breachway) or subsurface, you'll want to bend the lip up some. This will create a tighter wiggle that is less likely to roll out in addition to going subsurface.

When working a pikie, I start out with the rod tip at 10 or 11 o'clock position and adjust as the pikie gets closer. Crawl it on top with a slow retrieve. You can add a little rod tip action (a slight twitch every few cranks of the handle), vary the speed some, or just keep it at a steady slow death crawl. I'll often start slow, and then speed up for a few feet, then back to slow. When the retrieve speed picks up the tail will slap the water a little more. Sort of like a wounded baitfish trying desperately to escape. Vary the retrieve until you find out what the fish want. Since the plug is working on top, it can be very visual. By that I mean you will often see the fish coming in for the attack. Your pikie should react to any swirl or other indication that a predator is about to kill it. This is when a little more rod tip action or a faster retrieve for a few feet can make the pikie look like it is trying to escape.

If I am working the pikie in faster water, or want to work it subsurface, I bend the lip up (towards the face of the plug) some. This will tighten the wiggle and allow it to dig a few feet more easily. In addition, with the lip bent up, the plug will have less chance of rolling out. I have fished them off the end of a breachway in this manner. To bend the lip, place the thumb on top of the lip with the tip of the thumb against the vertical part of the lip. The index finger is placed along the base of the lip right at the bend. The plug is held in the opposite hand. Apply even pressure to the lip to either bend it up or down. Only bend a little at a time and then swim it to see what the action is. I recommend doing this during the day so that you can see the action of the plug well. Bending the lip up (towards the face) will create a tighter wiggle and allow the plug to swim deeper. Bending the lip down (towards the hooks) will create a wider wobble and keep the plug on top easier. As an example, the photo shows two of my 1.4 oz pikies. The top pikie is tuned to stay on top (how I send them to you) and the bottom is tuned to work subsurface in fast water.




Edited by Jig Man - 11/30/11 at 9:35pm
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Just a note on my 1 oz pikies. I typically use a small snap (30-40# test) when fishing these to give them more freedom of movement. They'll swim fine if you tie direct, though the action will be a tighter wiggle and less roll than if you use a snap. Some people may prefer this action. Like the larger sized pikies, these ones are tuned to swim on top with a nice tail wag. They will dive a little easier than the larger sized ones.

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

Baitfish swimmers (approximately 1 1/2 oz and 5 inches). I designed these as a surface swimmer for calmer conditions. They wake on top with some tail wag and some roll. Tail wag is not as much as a pikie. If you crank a little faster they will go subsurface (less than a foot), though you would have to keep reeling faster than striper speed to keep them subsurface. I have used these in lakes, rivers, and in the surf. They'll handle slow to moderate current, though current areas are not where I would typically use one. Flat conditions or low rolling waves and they'll do just fine. Rougher conditions, you’ll want to use something else.

When I use these, I cast out, bring the rod tip to about 10 o'clock position and start my retrieve. As the plug gets closer I'll drop the rod some. Keep a slow even speed to have the plug wake on top. You can add a little rod tip action in your retrieve or speed up for a couple of cranks to let it go subsurface, and the slow to have it come back on top. Sort of like a wounded bait trying to get its act together. You can accentuate the tail wag some by bending the lip down as I show above for a pikie. You will get a little more roll that way too. That's not always a bad thing


Edited by Jig Man - 11/30/11 at 9:44pm
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Jigwakers (around 6 inches and 2 1/4 oz). Basically, a topwater, walk-the-dog type plug that sits slightly tail down in the water. While they cast quite well, I would not consider them a long-distance plug. Yes, they cast much better than a metal lip, but if you really need to get it out there, go with a popper, pencil, or tin. I have used the Jigwalker from both the boat and from shore. I tend to favor a shorter surf rod for these if casting from shore. A 9 foot rod allows me to work the plug more efficiently without wearing myself out. I have worked them with 10 and 11 foot rods, but would stick with the 9 footer if I had the option. I consider the Jigwalker mostly a day time plug. They will work well in calm to moderately rough conditions (wind/waves/current).

Working the plug. Basically I cast it out and start working it as soon as it hits the water. I prefer to work the plug with the rod to the side and slightly down. In current or with larger waves, this is not possible so you'll have to work the plug with the rod tip up. Same deal if you are using a rod longer than 9 feet. With a 10 or 11 foot rod I place the butt of the rod in my crouch like I would for working a pencil (I use a conventional), but keep my reel hand palming the reel. Simply put, the plug is worked by twitching the rod to get the plug to go side to side like a fleeing baitfish. The action can be modified depending on how quickly you twitch the rod, and whether you use short, hard twitches, or long, soft twitches. In either case, throwing a little slack at the plug after the twitch will allow it to glide side to side easier. Work the plug faster if you are targeting bluefish, slower if you are targeting stripers. Those are the basics.

Most often when I use this plug I am mixing it up somewhat. By this I mean, start the retrieve with a few quick twitches of the rod tip in a more aggressive manner, and then switch up for a few feet with a slower, more subtle rod tip action. I might also add a pause in the retrieve and let the plug sit motionless for a few seconds, and then start working it again. You can work it a few feet, pause it, then work it a few feet, pause, until the plug is the whole way in. The plug can also be slow waked on top to create a V-wake (sort of how you might work a stubby needle at night ). The key is to mix it up during the retrieve. A lot of the hits will come right when the plug changes action. Since the plug is a topwater plug, you can watch the action and often see how the fish are reacting to it. If you see a fish following, but not hitting, try speeding up the retrieve for a few seconds like a baitfish that senses the predator behind it and is trying to escape. Stripers just hate that Some days they want the plug just moving along at a steady pace, but most days it's the change up that gets them hitting it hard. Vary the retrieve to see what they want. Did I mention that mixing up the retrieve is good

So there is no confusion, the Jigwalker is not the same plug that RM Smith has out under the name Jigsmith. The first thing you will notice is that my airbrush skills are nowhere near as good as Ryan's Second, the Jigwalker is a little bigger and a little different shape. The weight and hook location are also different than on Ryan's version. Action wise, the Jigwalker will glide a little easier while the Jigsmith creates a little more splash as the plug goes side to side. Both walk the dog well and quite easily. I carry both versions in my plug bag when on the beach. Last fall in Rhody, I reached for Ryan's version as much as I did my own as I have as much confidence in his plug as I do my own.


Edited by Jig Man - 11/30/11 at 9:47pm
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
My small dannys (approximately 5 inch and 1 1/2 oz) will wake on top at a slow pace with a nice S-shaped wiggle. Pretty much the traditional danny type action. If you crank faster they might dig 6-12 inches, though they work better as a topwater swimmer. They'll handle some current, though I prefer them in calmer conditions.

Those who do not like two belly hooks on a plug can remove the second belly hook and just run with the front belly hook and the teaser tail. Another alternate is to remove the second belly hook and replace the teaser with a dressed siwash (5/0 is best). You can also remove the second belly hook and replace the front belly hook with a 3/0 treble and either leave the teaser tail or replace that with a 5/0 dressed siwash. Personally, I prefer the action of the plug set up as is with the two 2/0 belly hooks and teaser tail. Removing the second belly hook will give the plug a wider wiggle and be a little less stable. A siwash on the tail will correct this some, though the action is still a little wider than with the two belly hooks. If you want to play around with alternate hook configurations, I recommend swimming the plug as I set it up first to get an idea of how I intended it to run, then modify to fit your needs.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Approximately 5 1/2 inches and 2 1/4 oz, the Breachway Swimmer was designed specifically for drifting off the ends of breachways in Rhody on a dropping tide. They NEED current to work right. Under calm conditions, shallow water, and no current, these plugs will suck. Think of them more like a bottle plug, but with a metal lip, though they will not cast as well as a bottle plug. On a dropping tide at a breachway, I cast them out and let them drift out to where I want to start the retrieve, and then engage the reel. They'll start digging as soon as you engage the reel. I like to crank them slowly letting the current create most of the action adding a twitch here and there, speeding up the retrieve for a couple of yards, or just letting it thump in the current. Basically, vary the retrieve some. Often I'll let them just thump in the current just adding a little twitch here and there, basically holding in one place for a bit, and then move them forward a few yards. When they are working right you'll feel them thumping in the current like a bottle plug.

In areas with a sweeping current (e.g., running left to right down the beach) I'll work the plug slowly, but steadily across the current (cast slightly up current). Add a twitch here and there too. Depending on the current, you may also be able to let the plug just thump in the current without reeling much.

In areas with a slower current, you might also try sweeping and pausing the plug. On the sweep it will dive and thump a bit, and then slowly float up when the pause starts. I have put this method to work off a beach in somewhat snotty weather when I needed a plug that would punch into a strong wind.

This is one plug that I'll often tweak the lip a little depending on the tide stage and the amount of current. By this I mean I'll bend the lip up or down a little to get the desired action. In faster current I'll bend the lip so that it comes out of the nose at a straighter angle. This will give it a little tighter wiggle and allow it to work in the current better. The plug will also dig a little deeper like this. Slower current and I'll bend the lip down some to catch more water and give it more action. Again, you want the plug to be thumping as it is in the current. You can see the lip bend in the pikie discussion above. You can also bend the line tie some to get the plug to work shallower or deeper. In testing the depth that these plugs will run, I trolled one off the boat at 2 mph, 20# line, 120 feet of line out. They were bumping bottom in 6 feet of water. Increase the speed and line out and they'll dig deeper. They will float at rest, just barely, and start digging as soon as you begin the retrieve.

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Freshwater plugs.

Note that I prefer to use a small snap with all of the freshie plugs. Tying direct on the pikies and spins will create a tighter wiggle. You can also use a loop knot if you prefer not to use a snap. Also note that since the plugs are wood, they'll throw better than similar plastic plugs. The pencils especially will cast real well (tail weighted). I note this as I have had friends throw them in trees on the first cast as they were not expecting them to cast as well as they did. I mostly fish these for largemouth and smallmouth bass, though do throw some for Hybrid Striped Bass at times. My northern friends also catch pickeral on these plugs.

Pikies (3 1/2 inches, 3/4 oz). I tune these the same way as I do the larger pikies: wake on top with nice wobble and tail wag. These will go subsurface easier than my larger pikies. Reel a little harder and they'll dig a foot or so. I prefer them on top, but will sometimes use them subsurface if the fish are wanting a shallow crank bait. Surface swimmer: rod tip between 10 and 11 o'clock position. Subsurface, drop the rod tip down. They'll handle current well. You can also tune the lip as I show above for the larger pikies.

Spins (3 5/8 inch, 3/8 oz): These are a surface swimmer. They have a tighter wiggle than a pikie and some roll. I prefer these in calmer water. They will not handle strong current. I keep the rod tip around 10 o'clock position. You can drop the rod tip down and crank a little faster to get them to dig a foot or so.

Jigwalkers (4 1/4 inch, .9 oz): Topwater, walk the dog plug. See the above discussion on how to use the larger jigwalkers.

Pencils (4 1/4 inch, 3/4 oz, canal style): I use these just like I would a pencil in the surf: trashing on top. They are tail weighted and sit vertical in the water. These ones will cast real well on freshwater gear. They'll work well in both calm and moving water.

Poppers (3 1/2 inches, .4 oz): These sit flat in the water. I use them mostly as chuggers (pop, pop, pop, pause, repeat), though they will walk the dog some too. I use these in calm water and moving water. One of my favorite uses of them is in riffle areas for smallies. Here I'll try to get them to walk the dog. Due to the current, this action will be rather irratic.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

The Jig30 is a metal lip swimmer that is approximately 6 1/4 inch and 2 oz. I designed these plugs to be generalized metal lips that could be used in a variety of conditions. I have used these in conditions ranging from open beaches in Rhody to the Cape Cod Canal to lakes and rivers down here. Rod tip up and it will slow wake on the surface. Drop the rod tip down and crank a little faster to get it to dig a foot. They will work in calm conditions and handle a moderate amount of current. You can bend the eye up or down as you would on other metal lips to get them to dig a little, or stay up top easier.
While the shape is similar to an Atom 40 style plug, the action is closer to that of a Danny (wiggle on top with a little roll rather than a wider wobble and a good deal of roll). They also have a little tail slap to them while worked on top. While waking them on top I like to keep the rod tip at around a 10 o'clock position and crank slowly. Subsurface and I'll drop the rod tip down a bit.

The Jig30 comes rigged with two 3/0 trebles on the belly and the teaser on the tail has no hook. I like the action of this configuration best. However, they will also swim with just a single belly treble and the teaser tail; a single belly treble and a siwash on the tail; or a single belly treble and a treble on the tail. Note that removing the back belly treble will create a wider tail action and a little more roll. In addition, the plug will not be as stable in current. Depending on where you fish, these options may be of use to you.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Some short video clips of the plugs in action.

3 oz pikie:

3/4 oz pikie:

Baitfish swimmer:



1 1/2 oz Danny:

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

I predominately use the surfsters in more calm conditions. Cast out and reel them back with a slow retrieve. I keep the rod tip between 9 and 10 o'clock position while slowly cranking them back. When worked like this they'll swim on top with a nice tail wag and some roll. Too fast or in current they'll roll too much or even roll out completely. Think more of crawling them on the surface than a faster cranking. I have used these plugs off the beach in Rhody and in various rivers down here. When fishing moving water I'll cast up current and often just keep enough tension on the line to keep the tail wagging as the plug comes downstream. If the current is moving pretty good, the surfster will roll out between the 3 and 4 o'clock position. I prefer them off beaches myself.
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