Stuff We Like #3: The Bucktail Jig

July 19th, 2014| No Comments

Stuff We Like #3: The Bucktail JigThe humble bucktail jig – it doesn’t look like anything in particular, but it catches just about everything that swims. Here’s why we love it:

It’s the last lure you’ll ever need… If you were depending on one lure to save your life, you could do a lot worse. That might sound dramatic but it was, once upon a time, a very real choice. Legend has it the US Army Air Corps included these in survival packs for fighter pilots in World War II. Little wonder. They’re simple, compact, durable, versatile, idiot-proof and above all, they’re proven fish-catchers. If I found myself floating on a life raft in the middle of the ocean, I wouldn’t be unhappy to open my emergency pack and find one of these (in chartreuse, hopefully) winking back at me.

They catch everything that swims… There’s almost no predatory fish out there that won’t clamp its chops around a well-presented bucktail. Bass (freshwater, saltwater, stripes, no stripes, whatever) love them, as does everything else from pelagics to pike. Scaled-down skimmer jigs are a proven bonefish catcher too – with a flattened head, they’re designed to skim enticingly along the bottom of a flat, remaining snag-free and sending up puffs of sand like fleeing prey.

They’re versatile… There aren’t that many lures that can cover such a broad spread of the water column. With the heavier versions, you can get deep down in the water column, the lighter ones allow you to target species hunting in the upper layers, and if you go ultra-light you can use them on the flats. A lure for all almost all occasions.

They’re simple… They say that the best ideas are often the simplest ones and the bucktail jig is the very embodiment of that philosophy. What you’re looking at is essentially a weighted hook with some fibres protruding out of its backside. Obviously there’s some fine tuning on top of that and they’ve evolved over time, but really, there’s not a whole lot more to it. Yet, they catch fish time and time again, the world over. You can’t argue with that.

They’re easy to use… It’s pretty hard to screw up your retrieve when using a bucktail jig. Depending on the situation, you can fish them sink-and-draw style, you can twitch them or you can fish them on a straight retrieve. Whatever your method, one thing is assured – the lure will be in constant motion, regardless of the action you impart. However bad your technique, you’ll catch something.

They’re small… Obviously they come in different sizes, but even the larger ones are compact. Their weight-to-size ratio means they cast well, get down deep pretty easily and take up less room in your bag. So you see, there really is no excuse to set off without a few of these in your bag.

Rory Batho

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