Tungsten Jigs, The Other Alternative


The world of ice fishing seems to change day by day and it is a challenge for a fisherman to keep up. Some changes are for the better and some just seem to catch more fishermen than fish. Unfortunately, differentiating between the two can be a difficult process.

With the recent anti-lead movements all around the world, the fishing community, as well as others, have been forced to develop other alternatives that still offer the angler the proper presentations they are looking for. This is where tungsten has come into the picture.

A little bit about tungsten jigs
Tungsten is 30 percent heavier than lead and is also 70 percent denser. Because of this, jigs are able to be made smaller and still offer the same feel to the angler. This denseness also allows the jig to show up much better on your flasher units. It will allow you to turn the gain down to eliminate unnecessary noise and clutter from small fish or weeds.

The process of making these jigs is a bit different. They cannot be poured like a traditional lead jig. The melting point is too high and this heat would destroy any hook that you tried to use. Instead they are formed by injection molding into a CNC machine where a groove is then cut into the body. This groove is where the hook will lay and then tin solder is used to attach the hook into the body.

Clam Outdoors has answered the cry from the community and has introduced their own version of tungsten jigs. Their “Drop” series of jigs are a tungsten line that is going to change the way ice anglers view the traditional ice jig.

Clam has introduced several shapes and sizes in the new “Drop” series to meet the fisherman’s needs. The research that went into this new line allowed them to develop jigs that have actions that no other jigs on the market have. So not only have they been able to offer the fisherman a new “alternative” jig, but one that fish have never seen before.

Many of us anglers will find the heav- ier jigs offer a much larger range of presentations than we have had before. With different shapes, colors and weight-to-size ratios there is the possibility of any jig for any situation when on the ice.

The heavier tungsten allows the angler to fish deeper in the water column by getting the bait down faster to the big- ger fish that are holding lower than the smaller fish. The jigs drop much quicker than standard lead and this allows you to fish them fast with the more sensitivity than you would have with lead.

Getting down to the fish
Getting down quickly to the swimmers can be a make-it or break-it scenario for tournament anglers. Often the larger fish are holding below the more aggressive smaller fish. Getting your jig down past these smaller fish will allow you to get to those larger fish.

This premise is also important when fishing large, deep basins for crappie and white bass. The fish are moving in schools and will often suddenly appear on your flasher. It is important to get the bait down to the fish quickly to take advantage of the school that is passing through.

Another advantage of the jig being much denser than lead is that you are able to feel the bites much easier. They transmit the bite through to your line much quicker, thus resulting in many more hook-ups than their lead counter- parts.

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Fishing tungsten with braided line and a thin fluorocarbon leader will give the angler the best possible connection between the bait and the rod. The bite will be transmitted much more directly to your hand and allow you to know exactly what your bait is doing below the ice.

We all have been on the ice in conditions that are oftentimes not very optimal for fishing or even for feeling the bites. The wind is howling and this can allow you to lose the connection between you and your jig. Tungsten nearly eliminates this and the weight of the jig allows you to keep a tighter line and feel more bites on those tough days.

With the ability to have a smaller jig with a heavier weight is a great key when fishing on those high-pressure cold frontal days. The smaller jig can trigger those bites when the conditions are not optimum.

These frontal conditions at times require the angler to downsize the presentation. This can be done without sac- rificing the feel of the jig as the smaller jigs still have the weight and density to get down to the fish, but allow a smaller profile.

The extra weight and density is also a huge advantage when it comes to fishing weedy areas, since the jigs are able to punch through the weeds and get to where the fish are holding. They will also allow you to keep the slush in your hole while fishing those shallow flats and will avoid spooking fish, because the jig will easily drop through the slush.

A few things to keep in mind
When fishing tungsten jigs, pay careful attention to the small hook eye, as well as the light wire hook when removing them from fish. It is important to use a de-gorger hook remover instead of for- ceps or pliers.

The pliers can break the hooks, as well as destroy the paint on the jig. A small plastic remover will keep your jigs in good shape and will allow you to easily unhook any fish that may take your offering.

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Pay special attention as well to the jig eye since these may come painted over and a standard “eye popper” will destroy the light wire of the hook. Clam Outdoors makes a special tool that uses a sharp, short pick to remove the paint from the eye of the hook. Too much pressure on the eye can damage or destroy the eye.

Ice fishermen are always on the prowl for something new and better and the uprising of the tungsten offerings has fit the bill for most fishermen out there. Their advantages far outweigh the differ- ences in price that you may pay over a lead equivalent.

The next time you are at your favorite retailer, pick up a few tungsten jigs to round out your collection. You surely will be rewarded with a bigger and better catch ratio and the versatility of these jigs will have you hooked.