An Adventure in Fishing Jigs
A cottage retailer sold me some micro weedless fishing jigs recently, and they turn out to be really effective. However, after observing that the hooks come quite blunt out of the box, I began to wonder how this rando in florida was sourcing their hooks (I doubt they have a hook factory in their backyard).1
The enterprising individual behind the jigs is clearly just buying jig hooks with a 60 degree bend, adding a centering pin spring, and bagging them 3 per pack. At $5 for 3, the cost is $1.67 per jig, not including shipping. After shipping, assuming I order enough quantity, it’s about $2 a jig. Very expensive for a disposable product. It seems that they have a very good business just on the basis of many anglers not overthinking their hooks, and not being aware of what centering pins are.
Fishing hooks are a specific kind of product where consistency is super important. You can buy bulk hooks from unproven retailers in China, and the vast majority of them might work well, but some will inevitably have been tempered incorrectly, the hooks will come blunt, or have other issues. I speak from experience, having played the “let’s try cheap tackle from aliexpress.com” game.
Some of the most reputable hook manufacturers include the French firm VMC, Norwegian firm Mustad, and japanese firms Gamakatsu, Owner, Decoy, and Daiichi. Personally I’ve found the hooks from Gamakatsu and Owner to be second to none: chemically sharpened hooks that come sticky sharp, insane consistency, and highly effective hook designs. VMC, while quite popular, has some trouble with brittle hookpoints in my experience. Daiichi hooks don’t come nearly as sharp as the other brands, but they make up for it by offering cheap, strong hooks in desirable form factors.
Anyway I was curious to know:
- What kind of hooks were being included in my “jungle jigs?”
- What kind of profit margin is the creator making?
- How much could I save making my own jigs?
So I did some googling: I wanted to find 60 degree jig hooks in sizes #10, #4, and #2.
60 degree jig hooks are common for fly tying, but fly anglers don’t generally use hooks larger than #6. And when they do, they go much bigger (like 1/0+). So the space of jig hooks available between #4 and #1 is relatively sparse: while #10 jig hooks aren’t hard to find, #4 and #2 are.
Here are the results of my search. Jig hooks that I would personally pick for these jigs include:
- Gamakatsu J20; #10-16; $0.40 per hook
- Daiichi 4640 (heavier); #6-18; $0.33 per hook
- Mustad Signature R73-9671; #4-14 (longer shank, less invisible because of color); $0.19 per hook
- Decoy JIG53F #2-4; $0.45 per hook
I really can’t find the jig hooks in size #2 and #4 that this dude is using. But at least now I have some options if I want to craft my own.
For #2 and #4 jigs, the centering pin is 1/8” in diameter: the Owner CPS small fits the bill and goes for $0.34 per pin. I haven’t yet found the micro-spring used in the #10 jungle jig.
This means that I can craft a #2 or #4 jig on my own for $0.79 a piece using the Decoy JIG53F. They even have a rare in-between size, #3.
I can craft the #10 rig with the Daiichi 4640 if I want the same strength as the jig I bought (this is the most similar hook), or go for a sharper, thinner hook in the Gamakatsu J20 #10. The only missing piece of the puzzle is where to get the ludicrously small centering pin springs used in the jig I purchased for #10. I could try the 1/8” diameter Owner CPS small, but I have a feeling that it’s oversized for a #10 hook.
The dude also sells tiny tungsten weights and tiny bobber stops. Maybe he actually does have an industry hookup. I would assume their partner is in China because most tungsten sinkers are made there. The melting point of tungsten is ~6200F and requires special machinery to work with; folks in the US don’t generally manufacture tungsten sinkers. The hook they use is eerily similar to the Daiichi 4640, but they make it in the two larger sizes. ↩