There are a plethora of jig styles and colors on the market. Unfortunately there are a plethora of jig fisherman on the lakes and rivers we fish too. We often find that a slight color adjustment can make a world of difference, especially when fishing in pressured water behind other anglers.
I keep a box full of black and blue, brown, green pumpkin and other staple colors of jigs. But at times a a really unique color has gotten me way more bites. So I’ve found I often throw more custom colors as a result because I feel like they won’t get me less bites and at times can get me more bites.
There are some great custom jig makers on the market that have some slick color options for skirts. Companies like Cumberland Pro, Taylor Man’s, Dirty Jigs and others have some very unique, hand-tied skirts that offer anglers something other than the four or five staple colors everyone offers.
I however am a little OCD when it comes to fishing and tackle and got into making jigs 10 or so years ago. As a result I spend a lot of time making my own jig and spinnerbait skirts at home. Probably my top resource for this addicting habit is Fishboss.com (also known as Fishingskirts.com). A few pros like Gary Klein and industry folks like me have helped them design some of the best looking skirt tabs on the market. And their options are nearly limitless.
I wanted to finally give up the goods on five custom colors I’ve thrown a lot the last few years to catch a bunch of bass all over the country. If you need help on how to tie your own skirts, this video should help and if you want to do it with wire, this one will help as well. Again I will still back my staple colors but I never leave home without these five custom colors and here’s my thought process on each one:
PBJ & Jelly
Yep that’s Peanut Butter Jelly and Jelly. Charles Hymes is the owner of Boss and has worked with me and Gary Klein as well as other pro anglers to design tabs that work. We made a suggestion about a pumpkin barbwire skirt with just a slight purple band or two on each tab. That’s a great skirt on its own, but I found at times a little more purple is even better. So I add some bright purple to the mix to really accent this skirt.
I’ve found that by adding accents to my skirt I can have more contrast but if I get in really clear water I can just pull the strands and reduce the contrast. I like have that customizable option on the fly when I’m fishing.
Bare Bellied Lightning Craw
I designed a skirt tab called lightning bug for Fish Boss. I catch a lot of bass on a green pumpkin jig with chartreuse accents. But I was careful not to add too much chartreuse. The way this tab is made, you can cut the skirt a little shorter to make less chartreuse in the skirt.
But I’ve found one other characteristic of crawfish interesting. Typically a crawfish has a slight accent color on the ends of its claws or tips of its feet, and it is almost always a lighter color underneath. For these reasons, I took my lightning bug tabs and added some pumpkin barbwire tabs and some burnt orange to give it a lighter bottom and touch of fire accent like a real crawfish. If I want to make it more subdued, I will cut off the chartreuse and pull the orange strands.
A watermelon skirt is very useful in clear water and for some reason I really like a blue accent on certain stained fisheries. But I’ve also learned another trick that I use a lot that I’ve not shared before and that’s dipping the ends of watermelon skirts strands in a chartreuse die like JJ’s Magic. So now I’ve got some subtle chartreuse accents, blue accents and a translucent natural green base to work with. Again if I want to make it more natural I might pull some of the blue tabs and not dip the ends in chartreuse. But I love how this looks in the water and it’s one heck of a fish catcher.
Bad Bluegill Candy
Another one of my recent favorites for skirt tabs is Fish Boss’s Watermelon Candy. It’s got subtle flakes of purple and green on a watermelon base. But again I like to spice it up just a little more. So again I might dip the ends in JJs Magic. But I also add a skirt tab I designed for Fish Boss called Fry Chaser. The skirt tab has brown, pumpkin green flake, and purple. When I add that to Watermelon Candy, I get a great looking bluegill color with a lot of green. But again it’s not too overbearing that it won’t work in real clear water too.
Black and Blue Shad
I’ve fished some great black and blue jigs and have caught a pile of bass on that color but I found that when I was making my own, I could never decide on which blue I liked. Well I started experimenting with several different blues and settled on faded blue and blue barbwire and then added a blue ghost shad half barbwire strand or two because I always liked how Cumberland Pro’s jigs looked with that shad barbwire in it. This has been a great punch skirt colors, a great color for swimming jigs in dirty water and for flipping and pitching in stained water especially around dark areas like under docks.
So that’s five of my favorite handmade colors. I find it a lot of fun to give myself options and make my jigs customizable colorwise on the fly when I’m fishing. I keep jigheads and skirts in the boat so I can mix and match at anytime no matter where I go and find the whole process therapeutic to my OCD with fishing.