Turrall Top Tips: Do the Jig! One Hook Style, endless possibilities...

Turrall Top Tips: Do the Jig! One Hook Style, endless possibilities...

Jig style flies that fish “point up” have never been more popular than right now. From grayling bugs to streamers, they hook more fish while catching fewer snags. Dom Garnett has a host of tying and fishing tips, along with some neat, easy fly patterns to tie yourself.

Not so very long ago, fly anglers were far more limited in terms of tactics and species. Some purists would object to nymph fishing, let alone trying for coarse or sea fish. How much more open and innovative the scene is these days, thankfully. 

Jig style flies are a brilliant example of how embracing change can bring us more success and enjoyment. As we’ll see shortly, this style of fly has so many applications: grayling bugs, worm imitations, streamers and even flies made for ultra light lure fishing with LRF tackle. And they can all be produced with very simple materials- in many cases little more than some suitable jig hooks and a few tungsten weights.

Arm yourself with some jig hooks and beads and you’re away!


Mimicking the lure angler’s weighted artificials on a tiny scale, these flies are characterised by special hook designs and slotted weights, to give fast sink rates and flies that fish “point up”. Why should this make a difference? Well, here are just a few reasons:

-“Point up” fly designs snag up less. This not only means fewer losses, but the ability to fish deeper and tighter to the bottom. This is a huge advantage for cold conditions and low lying fish.

-Jig style flies hook more fish. As heretical as it sounds, traditional ‘J’ hooks are not always very efficient on the strike. Picture a “point down” hook when the fish takes and the angler reacts with what tends to be an upwards movement. In a fair few instances the bend will hit the top jaw, or the fly will pull clean out! With a jig hook, that point is always turned up and will be the first thing that finds the top of the mouth.

-Jig style hooks don’t blunt as easily. Even in less snaggy waters, “point up” designs suffer less wear and tear. This is an especially big factor for saltwater use or any scenario where we regularly trip the bottom.

-Jig style weighting adds movement. Jig type designs offer an attractive “up and down” action with even the slightest rod or hand movements from the angler. This principle is especially true when we’re dealing with streamers and predatory fish.

Still not convinced? The clincher for me was fishing with a top grayling angler a few seasons back. I looked hard but could not find one conventionally dressed nymph in his box! Everything was barbless and jig style- and the fish got the point as quickly as I did.  

So, without further ado, lets have a look at some flies to look out for, or better still tie yourself!


Watch grayling in late winter- or even trout in the cool early spring- and you can see why deep searching nymphs can be a blank saver. On those days when the fish refuse to come off the deck, your fly needs to search low, perhaps even tapping the streambed. A jig style fly makes this a far more effective and less risky process!

Bottom hugging grayling love flies dressed on jig hooks.

Here are three bugs to tie yourself. In truth, anything with straggly materials and reasonable proportions should trick grayling. It’s all about the fly design!


Hook: Turrall Barbless Jig, 12-16

Head: Tungsten Slotted bead, 2.8mm or 3.2mm
Thread: Olive
Tail: Partridge
Rib: Strand of Turrall UV Enhancer
Body: Hemingways UV Peacock Dubbing
Thorax/ Hackle: UV dubbing and partridge

Simple and scruffy is best with so many grayling bugs. If your finished fly is a bit neat, pick out the dubbing with a needle or velcro patch before fishing.


Hook: Turrall Barbless Jig, 12-16

Head: Tungsten Slotted bead, 2.8mm or 3.2mm
Thread: Olive
Tag: Red yarn
Rib: Flat UV tinsel
Body: Natural peacock
Hackle: CDC fibres

Another very simple bug. I’ve also caught roach on this pattern in very small sizes, down to 16 and less. CDC isn’t the prettiest for wet fly hackles, but has wonderful movement and is very attractive when wet.

Which bead colour is best on flies? That depends. Gold and silver are most popular, but hot orange can be useful if the water is a bit dirty. Or, for a subtler finish to trick fish that regularly see beaded flies, black is worth trying too.

A few turns of thread should stop your bead sliding down the hook- but you could always start each new fly with the hook at a slight angle to help! It’s always worth using purpose made, quality beads; twist each bead on the hook, initially, to find the slot and get a really snug fit.


Hook: Turrall Barbless Jig, 12-16

Head: Tungsten Slotted bead, 2.8mm or 3.2mm
Thread: Tan or Olive
Tail: Dark partridge or Coq de Leon
Body: Hemingway’s synthetic quill
Thorax: Tiny pinch of hare’s mask

Appearances are deceptive with bug type flies. While the bulkier patterns look like the fastest sinking, it’s actually slimmer flies that get down most efficiently. I love a varnished, quill body for this style of fly- and in many cases I prefer synthetic quill these days, as it’s so durable and fuss-free to use.


These creatures are either a get out of jail free card or the slag of all flies, depending on your tastes! While they’re not the easiest on the eye, you can’t deny this style of fly is darned useful.


Hook: Turrall Barbless Jig, 10-14

Head: Tungsten Slotted bead, 3.2mm
Thread: To match body
Underbody: Mylar or other tubing

Tail: Squirmy worm material

Thorax: Hemingway’s UV dubbing

This style of fly needs little introduction- they might annoy purists, but trout, chub and other species love them, including carp and even barbel!

TYING TIP: tying in soft rubber

A tiny section of mylar tubing stops your thread cutting into the rubber.

One common headache with these flies is cutting the rubber with your tying thread, which is rather harsh on the softer materials. A “base” is therefore a great idea to get a snug fit without slicing up your wormy tail. This is easily done with a bit of suitable tubing- a carefully cut piece of mylar is ideal, and the frayed ends add further attraction!


Any fan of saltwater fly fishing or American streamers will tell you that “jig style” patterns are anything but new in predator angling. The classic Clouser Minnow is a simple, very effective jig fly! Experiment with your own ideas and the options are endless.


Hook: Turrall Barbless Jig 10

Head: Slotted bead or dumbbell eyes
Thread: To match body
Body: Synthetic fur or Savage Hair, with a hint of flash material
Head/ cheeks (optional): Jungle cock + hint of red dubbing

Jig style small fish lookalikes are easy to tie and very effective! Brilliant for perch, or indeed larger trout.

Tying tip: Double down for easier tying

Save yourself the pain and fiddle of tying in smaller hair wings by simply using longer lengths and “doubling” over with tight wraps of thread. Just remember- if you tie with the hook point down, your colour scheme will be upside down during tying (hence you will tend to start and not finish with any darker colours for the “back”!).


Last but not least, I also wanted to quickly mention some exciting new saltwater applications. LRF (light rock fishing) is immense fun. And there is no harm whatsoever in casting a suitable weighted fly on a lure rod… or using a tiny jig on a fly rod! Quite often in LRF, this means using scented rubber such as Isome- which can be “tipped” onto a smallish hook.

A striped sea bream, tempted on a jig fly while the author was on holiday in Lanzarote!

The huge benefit here is that tiny jigs – the sort that are seldom sold in the right sizes!-  can be easily created right down to hooks in sizes 10-16,  perfect for blennies and miniature monsters when armed with tungsten beads.


Hook: Turrall Barbless jig, 10-16

Head: Tungsten bead in 3.2mm or larger (4mm gives you over a gram of weight)
Thread: Black
Hackle: Bright grizzle cock or any suitable game hackle.
Tail: Squirmy- or can be tipped with a section of Isome! 

These miniature jigs are as simple as it gets- a hook, a weight and a hackle, and that’s it! Very useful when tipped with a soft plastic of some kind, whether you present on a light fly rod or LRF tackle.

Find further flies, tips and tying materials from Turrall

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