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Jigs for Winter Steelhead

Joaquin Estrella with a beautiful steelhead.

Fall fishing is winding down and winter steelhead is right around the corner. I am excited to put the heavy rods and bait away for a few months to chase these incredible fish. There are many tactics used to target winter steelhead and float fishing with a jig is a very effective way to target steelhead. I use jigs in typical steelhead holding water and fast chutes that fish are moving through. I use jigs in fast chutes because they quickly get down to where the fish are running and the action of the jig in the water makes it stand out to a steelhead on the run.

When I am jig shopping I look for jigs that are high quality and a little bit different than the rest. Waco Fishing makes my favorite jigs to fish. Joaquin Estrella, owner of Waco Fishing, is very particular about the materials he uses and his attention to detail of his jigs shows on each one. There are many things that that set Waco Fishing jigs apart from the rest; each jig is had tied by Joaquin with high quality materials. All of the jigs are made with UV materials. The jigs come alive in the water because they are made with rabbit fur and have rubber legs.  The rubber legs are something that make Waco Fishing jigs stand out to the fish in the water because of the added action.  Fish can’t resist this action.

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There are three different series of jigs made by Waco Fishing. The Intruder and Last Bite are made for steelhead fishing. There is also a line of salmon jigs. Joaquin designed the Intruder line of jigs to attract big fish. I have to say that they do catch big fish. The Last Bite jig has a smaller profile than the Intruder but is also a very effective jig. I use these in low clear water where the fish are a little more skittish.

Renee Johnson with a big native steelhead caught on a Waco Fishing jig.

 Running plain jigs for steelhead is very effective but sometimes the fish want something a little different. Bead fishing is a very poplar steelhead tactic and can be combined with jig fishing by attaching a dropper with a bead to the hook of a jig. This is a great way to change up your jig presentation and entice a few more strikes from fish. Plastic worms can also be added to jigs to change up your presentation. Tipping jigs with bait, soft plastic eggs, and using scent is something I do to increase the attention my jig presentation gets from fish. The rabbit fur that is used to construct Waco Fishing jigs is easy to clean after fishing. I wash my jigs with Lemon Joy after fishing, all scent and bait come out very easily. Jigs that are made with maribou and other similar materials lose their action in the water with scent. These jigs to do not wash easily and tend to get ruined by scent and washing.

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Waco Fishing jigs come in a wide variety of colors and are available at Tillamook Sporting Goods and at www.wacofishing.com. Joaquin also makes custom jigs that can be ordered by contacting him through his website.

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