Jig Paint 101

NOTE: All photos in this picture look smokey because I spilled some barbecue in the oven and it made a mess. However, the show must go on.

I enjoy fishing the Ohio River in the winter for striped bass, white bass, and saugers. This typically means throwing jigs into current and letting them settle to the bottom where the big fish hang out. Because the Ohio River can move very quickly at times, and can fall off at places of up to ten feet or more, it's important to use heavier jig heads to get the lure down. Unfortunately for us big water river anglers, this means searching shelves for our favorite painted jigs which can be time consuming and expensive.

I prefer a 3/8 ounce jig head in white, black, or red. It's hard to find these, so I decided to paint my own jig heads going forward. Through this process, I realized just how easy it is and kicked myself for not trying it sooner. I wanted to encourage my friends out there in internet land to try the same if they are so minded to, as I enjoyed it thoroughly. 

Secure these first:
  • Pen torch
  • Jig powder paint
  • Jig heads
  • Lighter
  • Dowel rod
  • Supports for dowel rod
  • Pliers

To paint the jig heads just grab them at the shank with the pliers. Run them through the flame from the pen torch for about ten seconds, then dip them in the powder just long enough to coat them. Shake it off, then place onto dowel rod to cool. Place into a 350 degree oven and finish them off for 20 minutes. It's that easy!

Of course, I always have tips to give. So here you go:

  1. Use a butane pen torch or other gas fired torch. Candles seemed to leave a little bit of soot which isn't good for colors. I bought a $10 hobby torch that works fine, and also doubles to make a mean s'more.
  2. Shake the powder up periodically to keep it fluffy before dipping. It makes dipping the jigs so much easier.
  3. The jigs cool quickly, but you'll need to hang them off some kind of rack. I used a dowel rod and the supports from my fly rod building kit. You can use books or something else too. Make sure to use a dowel rod of enough diameter so it doesn't bend in the middle and ruin your work.
  4. Keep the jig heads on the drying rack evenly spaced between each other. If they touch they almost automatically get some kind of stringy paint stuck between them. This is a pain to clean and leave a chunk when it breaks off.
  5. You can put them in the oven when finished, but I don't think it's necessary. They come out of the dip pretty durable.
  6. Paint eyes with model paint, or use decal eyes and dip into an epoxy. I don't paint mine, not sure if it's really that necessary.
Thanks for reading and sorry for the smokey pictures. Again, made a huge mess spilling barbecue in the oven. Oh well!