Mini Jigs for Fishing
About 1974, I became acquainted with Lewis Layman. He was making a 1/64th ounce micro fishing jig for bluegill. He called it the Layman jig. I was already writing this column, in fact, was the Hoosier Outdoor Writer’s President in 1973. Lewis had given a fried some jigs to give to me, but the guy kept them. Layman assumed I had received the jigs and didn’t like them. Soon, this little bluegill lure would change the way I would fish for the rest of my life.
I was fishing with my sons Brian and Greg the first time I used the Layman. They had two lines out baited with crickets under slip bobbers. Tight-lining around the bobbers, I picked up several nice gills while the boys caught nothing. I stomped the cricket cage into the garage floor when we got home knowing I would never need it again.
Back then, there was no braided line. I used 2# test mono to enable me to cast the tiny jig; always clamping a bb size split-shot about five inches ahead of the lure tipped with a wax worm. You had to play the fish carefully and re-tie them often.
I remember fishing with Don Littlejohn (a giant of a fellow) at his pond near Sullivan, Indiana. He was using one of my outfits. The bluegill was quite large and only hitting the chartreuse color. Don kept setting the hook like he was worm fishing for bass. When we ran out of that color the bite was over.
It was a big deal when a coal company donated some reclaimed pits to the Indiana DNR. Located just east of Terre Haute, these waters were gin clear.
The DNR invited some writers for the grand opening. We were to catch a load of fish and have them ready to show a helicopter news team from Indianapolis. I was to fish with Phil Junker. I asked him to trust me and to leave his gear in the truck.
Junker and I filled a wire basket almost full of big bluegill and crappie. The other writers did not do too well. The DNR guy told Phil and me.
“You guys saved our bacon.”
I had the opportunity to fish with Lewis Layman a lot before his passing. One time, a conservation officer took us fishing on the Tony Hulman Estate. He had to unlock three gates to access a large pond. We filled two-wire fish baskets until the spring lids no longer would close. The CO said he had never seen anything like it.
Now, other folks make the Layman-type jig. Some sell them while others only tie enough for themselves and friends. These hand-tied baits are not sold on a large-market scale.
Today, I use a 6’6” ultra-light graphite rod, 3# test Berkley Fireline and weighted bobbers when I fish from the bank. Also, a “Hook Snap” allows the jig to swing freely. I prefer to tight line and countdown to different depths before beginning to retrieve. A lot of hits occur on the fall. These jigs shine when gills and redear are on the nest. Crappie like them too, I once caught a 16.5-inch crappie on one.
Alan Muey makes my micro fishing jig in two sizes, 1/64th and 1/32nd ounce. He sometimes takes orders Fire him a text at 765-610-6148. Do not buy my favorite color, blue metal flake, I’m out.
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