Over the past two decades in fly fishing, jig-style flies with barbless hooks have emerged as an effective alternative to traditionally barbed hooks. Look in any fly bin across the country and you'll more than likely find some jigs in the nymph section. The craze began with competition anglers looking for an advantage, and has since filtered down throughout fly fishing. But why are they so popular now? Are there any benefits other than being different?
Actually, yes. Here are some reasons we love jig flies at The River's Edge.
Pick up a jig fly and the first thing you're likely to notice is the placement of the eye on the hook. As opposed to a standard dry fly, the eye of a jig hook runs parallel to the hook itself and is offset at an angle from the shank. As it's tied to the tippet, due to this design, a jig fly will ride hook up. If you think about all the times you've had to re-rig a nymph after you've busted off on a rock thinking it was the fish of your life, you'll understand why that alone is an excellent benefit.
The versatility of jig flies also provides anglers with a good reason to start using them. Some anglers mistakenly assume jig flies can only work with a Euro nymph setup, which can make them seem slightly intimidating. The good news about jig flies is that they'll work just about anytime, anywhere you'd use a regular nymph, and they can be customized for a wide range of conditions.
If you tie flies, transitioning some of your favorite nymphs and streamers to jig hooks can open up an entirely new line of thinking. You can take your favorite patterns and, using slotted beads built for jig hooks, have the same pattern in the same size and color, but with several different weights. This ability to use jig flies in a lot of situations makes them extremely useful in every angler's fly box.
Jig hooks are barbless, which is a great thing if you're a fish. If you remember all the times you've crimped down the barb of your fly (which you should probably do most of the time anyway), you'll quickly understand the appeal of a hook built without a barb. Now, these hooks are quite sharp and remain thin throughout, so they will pierce a fish's mouth more easily, resulting in less missed hooksets. The other upshot of this is that the hooks will come out of a fish's mouth more readily, which is a good thing for the health of the fish. Additionally, because the fly rides hook up, you'll have fewer foul hooks. It'll be surprising how many fish you end up catching right in the corner of their mouths.
We love jig flies here at The River's Edge. If you have any questions about how to use them, stop on by either of our shop locations or give us a call at (406) 586-5373. Good luck out there!
October 12, 2023 1 min read
It's fall, and the temperatures are dropping...but the streamer action is hot. In the spirit of streamer junkies everywhere, we've decided to highlight one of our favorite ways to fish for an entire week.
WHAT: It's STREAMER WEEK, a six-day streamerpalooza at both of our stores. We've got a lot of great stuff lined up, such as:
October 11, 2023 2 min read
Interested in learning to tie your own flies? Join The River's Edge this fall for a three-week Beginner Fly Tying Class. We’ll cover basic tools and techniques along with a handful of simple, reliable patterns to get you started on your own fly-tying journey.
September 03, 2023 2 min read
After working in the shop the past two summers, as well as instructing some of our Fly Fishing Classes, I’ve gotten to interact with tons of new anglers who are just getting started. One of the biggest takeaways I’ve found from these interactions, is that people are really intimidated by the knowledge surrounding fly fishing, specifically knots and different rigs.
Perhaps one of the most helpful, time-saving tools/gear I’ve ever come across is the tippet ring. Many of you have probably already heard of them, but with how much it has helped clients and customers, I feel the need to reintroduce.