Fly fishing with jig nymphs has been around for a while, but it’s only recently that we’ve seen a surge in their popularity. While fishing with dry flies has long been the go-to for anglers of all experience and skill levels, there are times when the fish just don’t seem hungry for your midge. While it can be exciting to hook up with a dry fly, trout and most other fish feed underwater roughly 80% of the time. This is where a good jig nymph comes in. Check out these videos to get an idea of how to tie some popular jig nymphs, and don’t be afraid to branch out with a bit of your own creativity.
There are a number of manufacturers with jig hooks for trout including Tiemco, Umpqua, Hanak, Partridge, Dohiku, and Knapek to name a few. With the hook eye situated on an upright, in-line position in relation to the hook shank, with angles varying from 60 to 90 degrees, most of these modern jig hooks are barbless, with long points to accommodate the regulations of international competition. Many of these hooks are finished in a sexy black nickel finish and all have ridiculously sharp needle points. They are as deadly as they look.
Given the upright front end of the shank, jig hooks also require specifically designed, slotted beads to accommodate this shape. Most are tungsten in gold, black, copper, and silver, as well as smooth and faceted finishes.
WHAT ARE SOME ADVANTAGES TO FLY FISHING WITH JIG NYMPHS?
As a wet fly, or one that sinks below the water, the jig nymph gets down where fish more commonly choose to feed.Jig nymphs are generally recognized as having come from the world of competitive fishing where they provide key advantages that can make a big difference.
Perhaps one of the most important benefits is that these wet flies usually ride with the hook point up allowing the jig nymph to avoid snagging and fouling. In most cases, this means more time fishing and less time rigging which is why jig flies are a staple of competition fishing where time with the line in the water is most important. What’s more, the jig hook without a barb is more likely to hook up with the end of a fish’s snout allowing you to better control the fish once on.
More advanced anglers may consider using a jig nymph with a tuck cast downstream of larger rocks where fish are known to hang out. You may also consider using a jig nymph as a point fly. That means using the heavier jig nymph to get a second fly down. The jig nymph can catch the attention of the fish, if they don’t take it, they will be tempted with a second and perhaps more realistic fly.