Make Your Own Worm Jigs for Steelhead
By Mike Lunde
Here’s a question to ponder: When and why did someone start fishing a plastic worm for steelhead? They’ve been the bread and butter for bass fishing for as long as most people can remember. But steelhead? Conventional wisdom points to their popularity with steelhead fishing in the ’90s and their origin from British Columbia. What has transpired over three decades is the simple fact that plastic worms are now a staple for all steelhead fishing. And there are countless ways to rig them.
One of the most recent introductions to worm fishing is to thread a soft plastic worm onto a darter or round jig head and tie it with marabou and a collar of Schlappen or New Guinea to give it a good profile in the water column. Enter the worm jig.
By adding marabou with long fibers to your worm jig you’ll have a lure that gives you a large profile in the water column, at the same time providing the vortex effect steelheaders desire in marabou. As it drifts through the current, the combination of a jig head, plastic worm and marabou is deadly-effective. Fishing it correctly involves a slip float rig attached to braided mainline via fluorocarbon dropper with various weights of split shot depending on depth.
The various color combinations are endless. As is the case with most pink worms when it relates to steelhead fishing, pink is the favorite color. Other combinations that are extremely effective are black/chartreuse, orange/red, black/ blue, black/purple, and pink/white. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Tying the worm jig is simple and straightforward. I’ve included tying instructions and a material list, which should get you started.
1. Insert and thread soft plastic worm onto jig head until the hook point is briefly exposed.
2. Start tying thread near hook curvature. Tie in marabou feather and advance thread forward slightly.
3. Palmer marabou feather forward.
4. Tie in additional marabou feather and palmer forward.
5. Tie in schlappen or New Guinea feather for collar. Palmer 2-3 times and trim excess.
6. Center-tie 4-6 strands of flash and fold over. Repeat 360 until even distribution.