As part of my preparation for a steelhead fishing trip,I tie some jigs. My skill level is beginner and my equipment is very basic, but the finished jigs look okay and they catch fish.
I started tying to repair jigs that I had purchased and worn out catching fish. Even the best jig looks bad after fish have pulled off all the hair or marabou. I just wanted to add some more hair or feathers to make it look like it did when I bought it.
Once I got proficient at adding dressing and cementing that into place on the hook, I graduated to buying painted jig heads and making my own jigs from scratch. I have no plans to cast jigs head with molten lead, but I do buy unpainted jigs which I then powder pait. I also purchase painted jigs in the weight and color I need.
The tying material/dressing I use is black, white, brown, and green marabou, black fox tail, deer tail in natural and black and squirrel tail. I have some flash material or tinsel that I tie into the jig body too. I have black, white, red, brown, and green spools of thread and the bobbin for holding the spools, a whip finish tool, a cheap tying vise and head cement. The whole tying kit and materials fit into a small plastic box.
Before I say what comes next let me confess that I have dozens of different jigs on me while fishing. Most never get wet! I usually fish black, white, green/white and brown/white.
Steelhead jigs come in many colors, but I believe that you only need 4 color options to cover most situations. I believe that black, white, brown/white and green/white all tied on gold jig heads are all you need. The jig head weight you choose is determined by water conditions. A 1/64 ounce jig is the typical selection. Low, clear water may require a 1/80 micro option. A 1/32 ounce head will help you get down closer to the bottom in higher water with a strong flow. Adding split shot helps with depth control. In addition to marabou or bucktail dressing, all jigs need some flash. I always use red flash along the hook shank on all jigs I tie. I also add blue and gold flash to black jigs, green and sliver to white, gold and green to olive/white and brown/white.
You can tie your own jigs with a small investment for equipment, jig heads and tying materials. The following photos/video show the what and how.