“Jig Flies: A Familiar Twist” Hunter Towery FFO Guide
One of the more recent trends that has rippled through the fly fishing industry are jig flies. Most commonly associated with nymphs particularly of the European variety. They’re also found with streamers in many colors and sizes. The idea of jig flies have been floating around for 40 years. Anglers such as Charles E. Brooks noticed several key things while scuba diving trout streams in the West during the late 1970’s. Aquatic insects don’t spin much during their ascension to the surface. Traditional downward hook point nymphs have a tendency to rotate during the drift. Riding hook point up allows these jig flies to drift more naturally, more snag proof, and have a better hookup ratio.
The most common style of jig flies imitate aquatic insects (nymphs). New patterns like a Duracell Jig, an Alt-Rocker have earned a place in most anglers boxes. Often seen are twists on classic patterns like Pheasant tail or Copper John Nymphs. These are typically tied on a more stout hook ready for heavier tippets. They also have bright hotspots and a wider range of colors fish rarely see. Color is often the deciding factor while using these nymphs so pack several color patterns to cover all your bases. These patterns are most commonly found tied on a size 12-16 hook. Jig flies can imitate many types of aquatic insects or just look appetizing to the trout.
A guide favorite, jig streamers offer a unique presentation that can be fished in many water conditions. Typically smaller than most traditional streamers they offer a solution when forage size is small. These flies are most commonly found on a size 08-12 hook. Popular patterns like the Jig Bugger or Mini Jig Leech can imitate a leech, sculpin, or any other non-aquatic insect. Matching the color to the water clarity is a key step in fishing jig streamers. In more stained water opt for dark or bright flies. Black, purple, chartreuse, gold are all top choices for chocolate milk fishing. In clearer water sticking with more subtle natural colors is often the best call. Olive, tan, brown, grizzly are good choices that help trick even wary trout.
The reason this style of fly has become so well received is versatility. Whether the water is fast,slow muddy or clear there is a jig fly that will work. The benefit of an upward riding hook point means the jigs are harder to snag. The minimal bulk, tungsten bead, and stout hook means they sink quickly without much added weight. Fluorocarbon tippet allows these flies to get down even more quickly. These patterns are typically tied on a barbless hook, so adding a trailer fly will need to be done off the tippet not the hook. Fishing these flies can be done by Euro nymphing, swinging, or standard indicator nymphing. In stillwater these flies are best fished while cutting the pizza with a slow retrieve.