I don’t know about you but this winter seems much colder this year. To top it off that vile rodent is now predicting another 6 more weeks of this. I’m thinking that Feb 2nd should mark the annual opening of groundhog season. Hopefully some our fellow hunters in Pennsylvania will exact some revenge for me this winter on this creature of gloom. What’s an outdoorsman to do in these conditions? Make the most of it and prepare for better times I guess… So I dug out the jig making kit and got productive stocking my tackle box with another batch of homemade jig heads for the upcoming season.
- Jig Hooks, various sizes
- Jig Mold
- Lead melting pot
- Paint (if desired)
Make sure the mold is hot before pouring jigs. Otherwise the lead will cool too quickly and not fully fill in the cavities completely, particularly if your mold has small barbs to hold the jig body. Pour a couple of trial batches into the mold without any hooks to get the mold heated up. The lead can simply be put back into the pot for re-melting. Once the mold is hot and you can see that the full jig cavities are being filled, you are ready to begin.
When removing the sprues (the excess lead from the jig head), I prefer not to use any cutting tools as this leaves pinch marks in the head. I found it easier and quicker just to grasp the sprue with some pliers and gently wiggle the jig back and forth with your other hand until it breaks free from the casting, must like breaking a paper clip. This seems to leave the final product with a minimum amount of scarring and no touch up or sanding required.
If you choose to paint your jig heads, I recommend the powder type paint available at most outdoor supply stores. Once the jig head is heated (by torch, stove, heat gun, candle, etc.) just quickly dip it into the powder and remove. If the jig is hot enough the paint will quickly melt to a nice gloss over the lead. Baking the final product in the oven for 20 min at 350 F will cure the paint for a more durable finish. Be sure to remove paint from the eyes before baking. It is much more difficult to remove after the paint has cured.