I’m talkin’ the type of walleye fishin’ “hair” that gained popularity in the late ’60s to early ’70s = bucktail jigs. Yup, they still catch fish — really they always have — but people seemed to forget about ’em with the rise of soft plastics. Now diehards are digging ’em back out and learning new ways to fish ’em.
One of those diehards is Al “Needs No Introduction” Lindner. I had the chance to film a TV show with Al last spring…not ashamed to say he whooped my dang butt [!] throwing a then not-yet-released VMC Bucktail Jig — fish were all the right size:
Now I can finally get you a closer look at the new VMC Bucktail Jig Al was using that day and what makes it so special. Here’s a few different colors I already have tied on as part of my starting lineup for the MN walleye opener [heart-eyes emoji]:
Al talks more about it in this full Rapala blog post, but a few excerpts below:
> Al: “The history of anglers catching walleyes on bucktail jigs goes way, way back and there were rows of them in every bait shop…. When soft plastics came on the scene, people got away from bucktail jigs — I did too — but I started fishing them again and I was astounded.
> “In all kinds of conditions and on different kinds of waters, the reaction bite we are getting is amazing. Something erratic that jumps and crashes and falls fast really triggers that reaction bite.
> “The head on it is shaped like a pear…it’s heavily weight-forward…so when you jump it off the bottom and then slack-line it on the fall, it crashes straight down, really fast. It doesn’t jump and glide forward like you see with some other jigs. You snap it, you drop it and it crashes. And that’s what’s triggering the fish to strike.”
Basically Al is fishing ’em the opposite of how most fish the fuzz…he’s snapping ’em like you would a Rapala Jigging Rap, but is able to throw it up where a J-Rap might get snagged or fouled.
> Al: “A big part of the future of walleye fishing in the coming years is going to revolve around bucktail jigs and hair jigs with different types of heads that do different things. The first big move in this area is the VMC Bucktail Jig. I believe we are really going to see a resurgence with this for walleyes.”
The 1/4-oz size is my favorite for snap jigging in say 7-14′. Would bump up to a 3/8-oz if primarily fishing deeper — or adding plastic — to get the same drop/crash rate for triggering bites.