During our early days of guiding in the 1960s, my brother Ron and I began writing articles for Fishing Facts magazine. At that time, a hair jig crafted of bucktail were among the most successful walleye lures across the Midwest. The Doll Fly and a Jack Crawford Jig were favorites, either white, black, or school-bus yellow. The Upperman Jig, made in Minnesota, was another popular one and in Iowa, it was Cap’s Rockeroo. They were phenomenal for smallmouth bass as well. Veteran readers of Outdoor News may recall these lures.
Then along came Mister Twister softbaits and the tide turned to plastisol, due to its ease of production, color variety, and versatility. Many styles have come into vogue and been highly successful over the years. Today the boot-tail grub or small swimbait has gained most popularity and indeed, has caught countless fish of almost every sort.
But behind the hustle of of the plastics industry, custom crafters have continued to create specially shaped jigs dressed with bucktail, fox hair, bear hair, and more. Some have mixed in marabou feathers or flashabou, as well as strands of silicone or living rubber to create color highlights and alternate action. As it falls or is jigged, hair has a unique flair that can’t be duplicated with artificial substances, it’s that simple.
For smallmouth bass, little black marabou jigs (1/16- or 1/8-ounce) have been secret lure of anglers fishing shallow reefs and sand flats for over a decade. Now the word is out on this deadly early-season technique. In both mid-south reservoirs and northern lakes, anglers have been making great catches of largemouth bass with 1/2-ounce jigs dressed with long white bucktail.
For walleyes, my number-one presentation for the second year in a row has been the VMC Buckail Jig. This great new option comes in three sizes: 1/8, 1/4-, and 3/8-ounce and eight hot colors. I generally use the 1/4-ounce model, as it quickly snaps off the bottom, which is how you should fish it. Let it fall, then just as it starts to touch down, snap it back up. Keep up that cadence and it won’t be long till a big one is tugging back. I fish it plain a lot, occasionally adding a small, slender fork-tail minnow as a trailer, which adds a gliding action. I fish them on St. Croix’s Eyecon Snap Jigging rod, with a reel spooled with 8-pound Sufix Advanced Mono. That line is thin, strong, and supple so it casts well and doesn’t snarl.
If you haven’t yet joined the hair jig revival, don’t delay; you’ll be highly impressed whenever you do.