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How to make your own Peacock Bass Jig – Part 1 (of 3) 
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 8:51 pm Reply with quote
Art Weston
Joined: 17 Jan 2011
Posts: 238
Location: United States
In this part, I will cover the rational for making the jig head itself. In a later posts, I will cover the finishing treatment of the jig head (applying paint, eyes, and epoxy) as Part 2, and then we will go over the final steps of construction (Part 3) by adding a rattle, a two-tone bucktail trailer, and the two-tone bucktail body.

Part 1 (of 3) – The jig head


Effective peacock bass jigs are not commercially made by major manufacturers, but you can find a few companies that sell hand-made jigs online. Each company offers subtle nuances in the form of different hook choices, lead head styles, bucktail colors, and trailer options. I have purchased many of these jigs and have worked on taking the best features across the board to make an improved peacock bass jig recommendation that does not exist for sale today.

What is critical to my recommendation in Part 1, is the selection of the hook, and I have chosen what I feel is the strongest bar none, which is an Owner brand #5319 90-degree saltwater design. The 5319 is a forged, 3X strong, wide gap, round bend, super needle point, and black chrome finish hook. Not only is it expensive, this hook was not designed to fit in any ½ oz. jig head molds commercially sold (but we will address that). This is likely why it is not offered as an option for purchase as part of a pre-made peacock bass jig online. I have chosen the 5/0 size hook which is typically considered the most desirable size for peacock bass jigs.

There are many jig molds to choose from. However, since these jigs will be fished fast, a swimming or darting-style head is preferred. Also, in order to tie bucktail on correctly, we need to select a style with a “ball? or “holder? collar." The two best options are the Do-it brand Style H Jig (BTH-5-A) or the Ultra Minnow Jig (SHR-5-A) molds. I suggest going with the Ultra Minnow style for one primary reason, which is due to its ability to support the large ¼ inch adhesive 3D eyes.

Now that we have selected the hook and the mold, you’ll have to stock up on equipment and supplies and produce your first batch of jig heads.

Supplies needed for Part 1:
- Do-it brand Ultra Minnow Jig Mold (SHR-5-A)
- Dremel rotary tool with an engraving cutter bit (or equivalent)
- Sharpie black marker
- Owner brand 5319 5/0 size Jig Hooks
- 1 pound (per 30 hooks) of 99.9% Pure Lead (from rotometals.com)
- Lee brand Production Pot IV (to melt the lead)
- Lee brand Ingot Mold (for your extra lead after melting)
- Candle lighter
- Stainless steel spoon (that you are willing to damage)
- Metal paint bucket for scraped off lead impurities (or equivalent)
- Forceps
- Hook sharpening file (or equivalent)
- Lurepartsonline.com brand Lure Finishing Rack w/ both a side and middle bar removed (or equivalent)
- Large Ziploc bag
- Task Force brand Welding gloves (or equivalent)
- 3M brand Professional Faceshield (or equivalent)
- 3M brand Respirator Mask (or equivalent)
- Gate shears (to cut off excess lead of the jig head)
- Recommended: Long sleeve shirt, long pants, socks, and closed toe shoes

Preparing the mold:


We will be focusing on the ½ oz. size head mold. When you place a 5319 hook in the mold you will see that the eye of the hook is much larger than the mold allows for. While holding the hook you can trace along the outside edge with the sharpie marker. After putting on the faceshield (you don’t want metal dust in your eye), you then will take the Dremel with the engraving bit and very carefully begin to grind out more of the mold to accommodate the hook eye (you need to do this on both sides of the mold). I strongly suggest that you take your time, as if you make a big mistake here, you might need to buy a new mold. After the hook eye section is complete, you will then need to dremel out more space for the hook to leave the mold at the base (again you will need to do this on both sides of the mold). To confirm you have a successful fit, put a hook in the mold, and then close both sides of the mold. You should have no more space between mold plates than you would without the hook present.

Preparing to melt the lead:


In a well-ventilated area (preferably in a garage with door open), place the Lee Production Pot on a table or bench and prepare to plug it in (I needed to use extension cord). Put up to a pound of lead in the pot and make sure that part of the lead bar is touching the bottom of the pot and that if it melts, the remaining part of the lead can’t fall outside of the pot. If you have small children, remember to handle the lead in isolation of this process and make sure you clean up thoroughly afterwards.

Preparing to make the jig heads:

Have the hooks laid out near the Lee Production Pot so that with the welding gloves on you can grab a hook (I have part of the hook hanging over the edge of my work bench). Have the lure finishing rack ready to accept newly created heads for cooling. I needed to remove the middle and the top bars of the lurepartsonline.com rack and turn it on its side to accommodate the jig head length when hanging from the bar to cool.

Melting the lead:

Plug in the Lee Production Pot (with the lead inserted) and set it to a “5? or a “6? on the dial. It will take about 10 mins for the lead to melt. If you plan on watching it melt or being near the pot as it is melting be sure to have on your long sleeve shirt, long pants, and closed toe shoes on, as well as your welding gloves, respirator mask, and faceshield on. NEVER put water (to clean it, etc.) in the pot for any reason, as it can cause the lead to explode. There is still a chance the lead can drip from the pot and splatter, so exercise caution at all times. As the lead melts, part of the bar might get caught on the side of the pole that attached to the handle. Just use a stainless steel spoon to push it a bit so it can get to the bottom of the pot to melt (again be careful). Once melted, you may see a dark or crusty film on the surface of the lead. You can use the spoon to scrap that off and put it into your metal paint bucket to discard later. You want to remove these impurities so that they don’t clog the pot’s spout when you empty the pot.

Preparing the mold for pouring:

Warming the mold is important if you want to make sure your first jig comes out ok. To do this, take your candle lighter and run the flame along both sides of the mold for 20-30 seconds. If it turns black, that is ok.

It is a bit tricky to do with the gloves on, but grab a hook, open the mold, put the hook in the mold and close it securely. If you can’t do it with the gloves on, you can try using forceps to hold the hook and get more room to secure it in the mold. If you abandon the gloves all together to put the hook in the mold, be careful as the mold itself gets very hot, and remember to put them back on before lead pouring.

Making the jig head:


The nice thing about the Lee Production Pot and the Do-it molds, is the work nicely together. With the hook in the mold, (with one hand) securely put the hole on top of the mold under the pot’s spout. With your spare hand, pull down the pot’s handle to allow the lead to flow. It will only take 1-2 seconds to fill the mold before you should release the handle. In fact, you need to be cautious as to not letting the lead flow outside of the mold once filled (a little bit of overflow is ok).

Assuming all went well, you can immediately open the mold and remove the jig head by the hook. The lead cools instantly in the mold, so you don’t need to wait. You will have a chunk of extra lead on the top of the jig head that will be removed later. If you had a lot of overflow, you can twist off the excess lead and put it right back in the pot (watch out not to splash the lead).

You can inspect the jig and if it is acceptable, place the jig on the lure rack to cool. If the jig did not form correctly, not all is lost. Take your forceps, lock the hook down, then put the jig (head first) into the pot. Swish the hook for a few seconds and the lead should melt off the hook. Take the now bare hook out of the pot and place it on the cooling rack to use later. You can use it again right away, but be warned it will be very hot and even burn the welding gloves when you are putting it back in the mold. Best bet is to let it cool off, scrape any lead film off, and try again later.

Sometimes, even with preparing the mold with a lighter, the first few attempts don’t work out. However, if you are not getting a good pour after the 3rd or 4th attempt, your mold may still need to be modified with the Dremel some more. If that is the case, make sure you let the mold cool so you don’t burn yourself when you are using the Dremel (you might even want to turn the lead pot down or off while you do that).

If you are making a lot of heads, you can add lead to the pot when it gets low (but be careful not to make a splash).

If at any time the pot drips lead out of the spout at an uncomfortable rate, take a flat head screw driver and just give the bar that connect the to the handle that goes into the pot a turn and/or wiggle (there will be a slot of the screw driver on top).

Also if you don’t get any molten lead to come out of the spout, you might have a clog in the spout that will take more time to correct (I won’t cover that here, but there is a fix).

When finished pouring heads:

If you have extra lead in the pot you can either unplug the pot and leave the lead in the pot to cool, or you can pour out the remaining lead into the ingot molds to store for later … then unplug the pot (there is no “off? switch). After a few minutes you can simply turn over the ingot mold and if you give it a slight tap on the floor, the ingots will just fall out. It will take them a while to be cool enough to handle and store, so be patient.

Finishing the heads:




After you bang out your first set of jig heads and they have had enough time to cool, it is now time to finish them so they can be ready to paint. What I do is take one of the jigs by the hook the loosely grip the jig with the gate shears underneath where the excess lead is coming off the jig head. Then I put my hand with the shears and jig inside an open larger Ziploc bag, then instead of pinching off the lead with the shears, I lightly pinch the shears then I rock them back and forth until the excess lead just falls off into the bag. This technique is a great tip because it will usually leave only a small rough patch of lead versus a sharp pinched ridge that needs more time to ground down.

There may be some lead around the eye of the hook or the base of the hook that you can cut off with the shears. You can also do that inside the Ziplock bag to catch the lead shards.

To finalize the head, use a hook file and smooth off the rough part where you removed the excess lead and you are done! I would recommend painting the head within the next few days as the lead will begin to oxidize and that can affect how the paint adheres to the lead. If this does happen, you can put the heads in vinegar to refresh them for painting.

I would be happy to answer and questions or respond to comments.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

-Art Weston
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Thank you Art for the great info 
PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 8:13 am Reply with quote
Larry Larsen
Executive Director
Joined: 28 Dec 2004
Posts: 608
Location: Lakeland, FL
PBA member Art Weston has designed a unique and deadly jig for peacock bass, and he offered to explain to all avid peacock bass chasers how he has built his jig. This guide is a step-by-step procedure that was frankly too long to put in our monthly eZine "The World of Peacock Bass", so all PBA Forum readers will be able to get his insight on making the "ultimate" jig.

Anyone who wishes to try to make these jigs should consider his suggestions and use great care in the manufacturing process. Thanks again to Art for such great detail on the steps and the 7 images and for this time-consuming effort.

Larry Larsen
Executive Director
Peacock Bass Association
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How to make your own Peacock Bass Jig – Part 1 (of 3) 
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