Great Lakes Angler Blog

Back To The Future: Meatless Matching For More ‘Eyes

Monday, July 02, 2012
Share |

Pro walleye angler Scott Glorvigen shares winning ways to match new school soft plastics with old school hair and maribou jigs.

Some of my first experiences fishing walleyes were banner days sinking hair and marabou jigs with my dad. The Mr. Twister was just beginning to hit bait shop shelves, so we dressed our hair and feathers with minnows and caught a lot of walleyes doing it.

Now, some five decades later, we’ve witnessed a new age in fishing—the era of soft plastics. As jig and plastics mold technology has progressed, lure designers have been able to bring anglers smaller, more unique jigs and soft plastics designed for walleyes.

But with the advent of soft plastics —different shapes, colors, and scents—the question is: How do I correctly match the right soft plastics to bucktail and marabou jigs?

My brother Marty and I have spent countless hours experimenting with jig/plastic combos and what we’ve discovered unlocks the handcuffs of live bait fishing. Tipped with the right soft plastic, a ripped bucktail or finessed marabou can often outfish meat.

The Venerable Swimming Grub

Whether you call it a swimming grub or curly tail, it’s my number one choice for tipping hair jigs and rip jigging in natural lakes. The tail swirls seductively at just about any speed and also on the drop, pause, and while sitting on the bottom. My go-to is a Northland Impulse Grub threaded on a Buck-A-Roo hair jig, but there are a lot of other great options. Get out on the water and experiment! Let the walleyes tell you what they want! 

Do The Worm
When I fish areas populated with crawfish, I go with a soft plastic worm like the Northland Impulse Jig Worm. Nice thing about the Jig Worm is I can adjust the length, keeping it long or clipping a bit off. I’ll work it along the bottom at a molasses crawl and let the tail float back and forth, which is enough movement to trigger strikes. 

Paddle Some Tail

I give 100% credit to walleye brain Bill Ortiz for making the paddletail my number one soft plastic choice for fishing rivers. He once schooled me 4-to-1 on the Mississippi River in Red Wing, Minn.—my first lesson in the efficacy of the subwoofer-like thumping soft plastics.

Paddletails give off more vibration than any other soft plastic. Thus, in stained river systems (where walleyes aren’t necessarily feeding by sight) that can mean a whole lot more fish. Plus, paddletails are a bit bulkier than curly tails and worms, so they displace more water and provide a bigger target. New paddletail designs like the Northland Impulse Paddle Minnow have a long and skinny tail that doesn’t require a lot of water to get it going, which means they can be fished slow—or keep rocking without much rod play at all, the river current doing the work.

Uncomplicated Color

I typically color-match plastics to act as an extension of bucktail jig colors, white being the only exception. I’ll tip white hair with pink or chartreuse plastics—or black to provide the kind of contrast found in most natural forage.

Bucktail and plastics combos, fished on something like a 6’5” to 7’ medium-fast St. Croix Avid spinning rod is a great power-fishing technique to cover a lot of water. Fluorocarbon or monofilament gets the nod for this technique; 8-pound is my preferred line weight. It’s a must-know search presentation that finds larger, aggressively feeding fish and provokes neutral fish into hard aggression strikes.  

Marriage of Marabou and Soft Plastics

What bucktail is to power fishing, marabou is to finesse. I never fish them like I would a bucktail jig – they’re not for ripping. Marabou is best for vertical jigging or hanging below a slip bobber.

Unlike the 1/4- to 5/8-ounce hair jigs we use for ripping, I rarely go heavier than 1/8-ounce in marabou. And a lot of times even lighter: 1/32-, 1/16- and 1/8-ounce. At the end of the day, I want to utilize the properties of the marabou to look insect-like, leech-like. 

Less is better when it comes to soft plastics on marabou. The boat and water action alone can make marabou pulse. The whole key to getting the most of marabou is allowing the feathers to pulse in the water like a minnow or leech.
‘Bou: Three Must-Have Colors

I match marabou jig colors to prevalent food sources, whether it’s mayfly larvae, leeches, young of the year minnows (why white works well) or crawfish. Black is my first choice. My second choice is white. Some variation of orange/brown comes in third. Remember these three color combos and you’re going to score points in most situations.

Au Natural: Soft Plastic Minnows & Leeches

90 percent of the time I tip marabou jigs with split-tail minnow-type plastics simply to add scent. With bucktail jigs, I want the plastic to enhance the hair—with marabou I simply want the plastic to add scent.

I want the smallest tail I can get away with, too. On 1/32-ounce jigs I like to take the 1-inch scented Northland Impulse Minnow and thread it through to the head of the jig, then add a second Impulse Minnow like you’d hook a real minnow through the head. It pivots and you get a little bit of movement; plus, if it comes off, you still have the other plastic on, which is still loaded with scent.

The only place where I’ll offset the color of my soft plastic is with a white marabou jig. I may add a bright pink, yellow, or a white and black combo. Again, I’ll choose from minnow-type profiles. The Northland Impulse Minnow comes in a wide variety of colors.


This is the perfect combo to sink under a slip bobber or pull on an ultra-slow drift.

Another deadly combo is a black marabou jig like Northland’s Bug-A-Boo tipped with an Impulse Jigging Leech. Again, presented under a slip bobber, it can’t be beat, especially during the height of the mayfly hatch.

Biggest Mistake

Most fishermen fish bucktail and marabou jigs the same way. Big mistake. What you want to do is utilize the materials to your advantage. Remember that a bucktail is made to be fished aggressively, with the rod doing the work. The marabou jig is a finesse presentation that should mimic insect-life and the twitching of small minnows. Fish ‘bou at a snail’s pace and let the feathers do the work!

Experiment with these combos next time you’re on the water. We’ve found that in a lot of situations going meatless with back to the future hair and soft plastics pairings will go head-to-head—sometimes even outperform—live bait!


PHOTOS (From top)

Walleye pro Scott Glorvigen rips his way into a 20-inch-plus ‘eye with a St. Croix Avid spinning stick heavy lifting a Northland Buck-A-Roo jig tipped with an Impulse soft plastic.


Several of Scott and Marty Glorvigen’s favorite winning hair, feathers and soft plastics combinations.


Back To The Future: Meatless Matching For More ‘Eyes

Wednesday, July 04, 2012
Share |

Pro walleye angler Scott Glorvigen shares winning ways to match new school soft plastics with old school hair and maribou jigs.

Some of my first experiences fishing walleyes were banner days sinking hair and marabou jigs with my dad. The Mr. Twister was just beginning to hit bait shop shelves, so we dressed our hair and feathers with minnows and caught a lot of walleyes doing it.

Now, some five decades later, we’ve witnessed a new age in fishing—the era of soft plastics. As jig and plastics mold technology has progressed, lure designers have been able to bring anglers smaller, more unique jigs and soft plastics designed for walleyes.

But with the advent of soft plastics —different shapes, colors, and scents—the question is: How do I correctly match the right soft plastics to bucktail and marabou jigs?

My brother Marty and I have spent countless hours experimenting with jig/plastic combos and what we’ve discovered unlocks the handcuffs of live bait fishing. Tipped with the right soft plastic, a ripped bucktail or finessed marabou can often outfish meat.

The Venerable Swimming Grub

Whether you call it a swimming grub or curly tail, it’s my number one choice for tipping hair jigs and rip jigging in natural lakes. The tail swirls seductively at just about any speed and also on the drop, pause, and while sitting on the bottom. My go-to is a Northland Impulse Grub threaded on a Buck-A-Roo hair jig, but there are a lot of other great options. Get out on the water and experiment! Let the walleyes tell you what they want! 

Do The Worm
When I fish areas populated with crawfish, I go with a soft plastic worm like the Northland Impulse Jig Worm. Nice thing about the Jig Worm is I can adjust the length, keeping it long or clipping a bit off. I’ll work it along the bottom at a molasses crawl and let the tail float back and forth, which is enough movement to trigger strikes. 

Paddle Some Tail

I give 100% credit to walleye brain Bill Ortiz for making the paddletail my number one soft plastic choice for fishing rivers. He once schooled me 4-to-1 on the Mississippi River in Red Wing, Minn.—my first lesson in the efficacy of the subwoofer-like thumping soft plastics.

Paddletails give off more vibration than any other soft plastic. Thus, in stained river systems (where walleyes aren’t necessarily feeding by sight) that can mean a whole lot more fish. Plus, paddletails are a bit bulkier than curly tails and worms, so they displace more water and provide a bigger target. New paddletail designs like the Northland Impulse Paddle Minnow have a long and skinny tail that doesn’t require a lot of water to get it going, which means they can be fished slow—or keep rocking without much rod play at all, the river current doing the work.

Uncomplicated Color

I typically color-match plastics to act as an extension of bucktail jig colors, white being the only exception. I’ll tip white hair with pink or chartreuse plastics—or black to provide the kind of contrast found in most natural forage.

Bucktail and plastics combos, fished on something like a 6’5” to 7’ medium-fast St. Croix Avid spinning rod is a great power-fishing technique to cover a lot of water. Fluorocarbon or monofilament gets the nod for this technique; 8-pound is my preferred line weight. It’s a must-know search presentation that finds larger, aggressively feeding fish and provokes neutral fish into hard aggression strikes.  

Marriage of Marabou and Soft Plastics

What bucktail is to power fishing, marabou is to finesse. I never fish them like I would a bucktail jig – they’re not for ripping. Marabou is best for vertical jigging or hanging below a slip bobber.

Unlike the 1/4- to 5/8-ounce hair jigs we use for ripping, I rarely go heavier than 1/8-ounce in marabou. And a lot of times even lighter: 1/32-, 1/16- and 1/8-ounce. At the end of the day, I want to utilize the properties of the marabou to look insect-like, leech-like. 

Less is better when it comes to soft plastics on marabou. The boat and water action alone can make marabou pulse. The whole key to getting the most of marabou is allowing the feathers to pulse in the water like a minnow or leech.
‘Bou: Three Must-Have Colors

I match marabou jig colors to prevalent food sources, whether it’s mayfly larvae, leeches, young of the year minnows (why white works well) or crawfish. Black is my first choice. My second choice is white. Some variation of orange/brown comes in third. Remember these three color combos and you’re going to score points in most situations.

Au Natural: Soft Plastic Minnows & Leeches

90 percent of the time I tip marabou jigs with split-tail minnow-type plastics simply to add scent. With bucktail jigs, I want the plastic to enhance the hair—with marabou I simply want the plastic to add scent.

I want the smallest tail I can get away with, too. On 1/32-ounce jigs I like to take the 1-inch scented Northland Impulse Minnow and thread it through to the head of the jig, then add a second Impulse Minnow like you’d hook a real minnow through the head. It pivots and you get a little bit of movement; plus, if it comes off, you still have the other plastic on, which is still loaded with scent.

The only place where I’ll offset the color of my soft plastic is with a white marabou jig. I may add a bright pink, yellow, or a white and black combo. Again, I’ll choose from minnow-type profiles. The Northland Impulse Minnow comes in a wide variety of colors.


This is the perfect combo to sink under a slip bobber or pull on an ultra-slow drift.

Another deadly combo is a black marabou jig like Northland’s Bug-A-Boo tipped with an Impulse Jigging Leech. Again, presented under a slip bobber, it can’t be beat, especially during the height of the mayfly hatch.

Biggest Mistake

Most fishermen fish bucktail and marabou jigs the same way. Big mistake. What you want to do is utilize the materials to your advantage. Remember that a bucktail is made to be fished aggressively, with the rod doing the work. The marabou jig is a finesse presentation that should mimic insect-life and the twitching of small minnows. Fish ‘bou at a snail’s pace and let the feathers do the work!

Experiment with these combos next time you’re on the water. We’ve found that in a lot of situations going meatless with back to the future hair and soft plastics pairings will go head-to-head—sometimes even outperform—live bait!


PHOTOS (From top)

Walleye pro Scott Glorvigen rips his way into a 20-inch-plus ‘eye with a St. Croix Avid spinning stick heavy lifting a Northland Buck-A-Roo jig tipped with an Impulse soft plastic.


Several of Scott and Marty Glorvigen’s favorite winning hair, feathers and soft plastics combinations.




GlAngler Subscription

Recent Posts



Tags

Hevi-Beads Brite Wash National Guard Dunkirk, NY Jack Links Blue Collar Outdoors Triton Boats Bass lure DuraSafe Electronics Lock LineSnubber Mustad Skarlis Rods Beckson Skamania Mania Ranger Trout Unlimited Lake of the Woods Navigation Legend Extreme Traxstech Synergy Outdoors Conservation Audio Lake Ontario Conservation Marathon MWC Mary Snyder Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Custom Jigs & Spins Muskie Lure Gary Dollahon Electronics F-Series Storm Gear ATV Hunting Asian carp Telescoping JIggler Long Rod Lund clubs Andrew Dordek Normark South Haven Niagara Falls Technology Snow-Shoe Tip-Up Ethanol BASSMASTER CLASSIC The Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls LOTSA Oculus News/Social Owners tournament Shurhold YUMphibian On board Marine Radio Accon Marine Personal Flotation Device Grand Rapids Ultimate Outdoors Show Rain gear Strike King Chicago barrier Jerky Rain suit Ranger Boats jeffstackleshop.com TRAC Ecological Deck Plate Traditions Media Mazurek Traditions Walleyes Pro Polish Homeport Marine Marketing Whale Pumps LCWCC Kurt Mazurek Evinrude Keep Kool Whale Minn Kota Tyee Jeff Wenzel Greater Niagara Fishing & Outdoor Expo Marcum Contaminants Speakers splice Macho Minnow Michigan DNR Crankbait Net Swedish FireKnife FRIDAY FUNNIES Seakeeper gyro Bait Rigs Smartfind S20 Personal AIS Beacon Multitools exotic species Slide Moor Mike Seymour Bro Brosdahl Kevin Van Dam Sport Shows SeaLife Cameras ice fishing, Bro Show, Traditions Media South Haven, Michigan Fishing Clubs Games Mystery Tackle Box RAT FINKEE Scott Glorvigen weather Fiberglass boat Tournament Grade Circle Hooks Tip-Up Glorvigen Soo Locks B.A.S.S. Insect repellent inReach Balog Tom Neustrom Chatterbait Promise Keeper LineGrabber Spreads Tournaments Dave Genz Forage Minnow Jeff's Tackle Shop Scott Martin Streams Boat maintenance Sunglasses Buff Port of Indiana bimini top Fiberglass tiller Reef Runner Odd'ball Fin Spin Masters Walleye Circuit Marine Speakers Line Stabenow Honda MATE USA hardbaits Boat US Ditty bag Fort Wayne, Indiana Lures Brandon Newby Legend Gold Earth Day PLB dock lines BoatUS Angler DuraSafe Gunnison, CO Interlux Louie Stout Autotether New York Oshkosh Ned Rig Grady-White One-Handle-Does-It-All System Safe boating Grunden's Soul5 Tackle Labs USSA toilet Smart Guide to Freshwater Fishing GPS Speedometer Michigan City, Indiana Rippin' Lips FLW Bass yachtpaint.com Bait Holder HELLA Launch ramp Wind Power Plano Marsh Madness ShowSpan Beckson Marine Stowaway Bag Plate Bass Pro Shops Gift Card tree stand injury Ravenswood Media Green Bay, Wisconsin Boat lifts Muscle Squared 65 ABT Fish Hawk XD4 spoon Black Velvet Side Thruster Slender Spoon Andrew Semprevivo Whistler Spoon USO Lake Superior www.bigweeniebrand.com RedHead Gear Titan Chain Optima Iaconelli Up Stream Hydration Back Pack Fuel Knife sharpening Bethel University Weather Buoy EVOLVE FISHING CO SeaEra QC Bass Pro Shops Four-Person Dome Tent with Screen Porch Holland Scholarship Sphaera Torpedo Divers Alaskan Extreme Baitcast Reel Aquatic AV marlin Airmar Steve Wood Turning Point Props Lake Assault Rushton Gregory Dave Mull Blog Safety Brian "Bro" Brosdahl Ascend tackle storage Angler Bug bite relief Trade Shows University of Buffalo Lead USCGA John E. Phillips Boga Power Walleye tournament Swanson-Russell Chronglobal Marine Lighting PRADCO Tournament Footwear Sharpeners New Zealand Dogwood Canyon Trail Runs spreader light Accessories Ranger Aluminum Deep V Series Pop-Up LED Bowlights Lights STRATTEC 580P lenses Baitcast Fishing Pole BBQ Lighter Kayak Aqua-Vu Mark Zona Glacier Glove Batteries Ice Features fitness Fishing boat rental Wounded Warriors Insurance Tools Big Bear Products Larson Electronics Manistee TRAC Angler 175T CUSTOM JIGS 'N' SPINS Yamaha Nautical Contest Patrick Hurst Evolve Bass Pro YUM Dinger Radial Mr. Twister Mercury Marine KVD Speedbag Wormfile Bristol Bay Plano Tackle Boxes Blue Heron Communications Tommy Skarlis MUSHING Gene Larew LakeMaster Western States Version Lake Michigan Ultracoat Endura Kevin VanDam IGFA Shock Wave Ditch Sportsman's rights Mosquito repellent Practical Sailor Black Earth Creek Bibs Storage Salmon Clay Dyer Ryan Wilson Husky Jerk Beckson Marine Personal Flotation Devices Quantum PFDs DSC BOLT Padlock Chaco Boat Covers KVD Speedbag JBL Cabela's Records Team Aqua-Vu U.S.S.A. Dogs Volvo Penta Great Lakes Troller Mack's Lure Bug repellent River Fishing iPilot Global Spectrum Line Recycle Bin Uncle Norm's Venice, Louisiana Tides Catch & Cook Mag Light Kayaks Army Corp of Engineers Dollahon ChartSelect Church Tackle Beckson Marine Deck Plate WeatherStation Downriggers Ice Fishing Costa Del Mar treestand injury Innovative Outdoors Jeff Gustafson Minnesota Apps Goby EZ Dock Swim bait Clam Swim Whizz Bristol Bay Salmon Alabama Rig OHIO Costa YUM NMEA Lakemaster Hamlin binoculars Video Ultimate Flannel Shirts Extended Warranty Marine NewsWire Davis Instruments Size limits SOG KVD Hobie Catfish Acme Boating Magnum Flow-Troll Lock Kill switch Raritan Multi-species redfish Rig'N Tails Delorme Boats Orca Fin System PulseTech Bass fishing exotic invader Deep Sea Diver Dollohan Chargers Gill NA BASSMASTER blue marlin Shipping Smart Guide Publications AmVets Free Fishing Weekend Aqualuma Foul weather gear Brian Brosdahl Todd Sokolow Humminbird McMurdo Mack's Lures Frigibar Lake Huron Pharmaceuticals spinning rod ASA Frabill Costa Sunglasses iPilot Link Tight Lines Jewelry Gary Giudice Boat names Okuma Brad's Radio Walleye Lip-Stix Yamaha ATV ODNR Home Port Marine Marketing Corey Schmidt News Rovermax LR 100 Lighting New Lures Tracker Marine Rescue NAIFC Championship GPS for Lightning Connector Coast Guard EZ BoatPort Marine General Aluminum Deep V Series Plano Synergy Brown trout Lake Erie Rugged Shark Mark Chmura Invasive species sunglass Soft Jigwobbler Flat Slider 75 Fish America Foundation Dave Mull Rubrail Izaak Walton League Bass Pro Shops Onyx Prosepec Electronics Shoes Topwater Lake trout Kindle book St. Croix Rippin Lips eZSplice Northwest Indiana Steelheaders Wild River series CMP Global Alaska BoatUS iPad Spencer Yachts Cannon Coleman Micro-Mobile Pro Viewing Case JVD Beckson Marine Stowaway Bag Plates and Kits AKOYA Jonathon VanDam St. Croix Rods Bad Elf Faria MULL BLOG Coleman cooler Aqua Vu Wake Fishing Moisture Muncher Indiana DNR jigs InvisaSnap CLASSIC Youth Vick great lakes 1675 Pro Guide Sun protection Air show Betsy Boating safety Wedding Ring Gull Lake Marine Northland Monel Metal Tackle Bag Milennia MIL-iDock Dan Egan Wisconsin Ranger VS1780 Bob Schmidt Matt Straw Salmon Unlimited of Illinois Martin-Flory Knives Camera mount Matt Serbenski EZ Splice Fasteners Hobie Pro Angler Bheestie Bag Olcott, NY Cliff Pace iPhone cruzin Future Fisherman Foundation Barry Brown Marine Wildlife Forever Michigan Ryan Kleckner Sheldon's Z-Man Gravity Thermacell Water Buddies Berkley Rough Weather 360 Green Bay mudsnail Shelter Rapala Fishouflage ABT X-2 Countdown Tim Popfinger Silver Horde Side Imaging The Harry Lure VMC Lund Boats Sunstream Boat Lifts ONIX Absolute Outdoor, Inc. WFN Reese High school bass fishing Bait head Full Throttle WileyX Serious Shine Oakley Sunglasses Lowrance Headgear La Mar Princecraft USCG Shoremaster

Archive