Big Manistee, March 3, 2021 Swim Hex Jig takes 5

Center Pin Jigs Steehead

A few new bright fish have moved up river.  It makes sense for some of the dark fish that have held downstream for some time, to move up with them. 

Not many angler an nothing happening until a skilled bobber fisherman arrived and quickly hooked 2 good fish above me and later got a small silver male.  He told me he got them on wigglers so I tied on a 1/48 ounce #6 Swim Hex Jig.  I finally got my depth right and got two hens.  


This years fish are mostly big and fat with small heads.  When fish have been very successful feeding out in the lake, it makes them more likely to spend an extra year out in the lake feeding.  Next year we may get more huge 4 year fish.  Hoping for more fish this year and next because the Pandemic has reduced fishing pressure.

I tried spinning tackle to mostly cast farther and using a center pin to fish more precisely within a limited casting range.  Without success, I tried jigs that worked well this winter.  After a spell of no action, I took a lunch break and first cast after the break, using the center pin got a male on the Hex Jig.


  • Swim Hex Jig
  • Hook:   1/48 oz #6 Black Jig head
  • Thread:  Flymaster+ 140 denier dull natural orange (not UV)
  • Tail :      Tan Natural rabbit fur
  • Gills:     After Shaft (Pilo Plume) back over tail and forward over thorax
  • Thorax:  Hare's Ear, mixed natural brown colors fur dubbing
  • Shell Back:  Pheasant Tail pulled over thorax and gills
  • Legs:         Forward Pheasant tail tips (3/4 inch) tied back to each side

 Later this smaller hen took the Hex Jig.  She ruined my over 30 inch average, the first two hens were about 30 inches and the male was 32 or more.


 I had warn out this spot with the same jig fly perhaps presented with the better drift on center pin tackle, got nothing on the Spinning rod.  I didn't want to give up this spot to try another spot.  I tied on a brown-gold & opal version of a Steelhead Big Hole Demon which is normally a Black & Silver pattern.  First cast with this brown version got bit.  This fish's deformed gill plate means it is almost certainly a hatchery fish, possibly from another state that doesn't protect the gene pool their steelhead as much as Michigan tries to.

  • Big Hole Demon,  Opal Steelhead Jig versions
  • Hook:    1/48 ounce #6 black or brown jig head
  • Thread:   Black or Brown
  • Tail:        Webby Grizzly hackle barbs
  • Abdomen:  Black or Brown Thread under Opal Tinsel
  • Rib Black version:   silver oval tinsel over opal abdomen
  • Rib Brown version:   gold oval tinsel over opal abdomen
  • Thorax:    Black or Brown bulky dubbing or chenille
  • Hackle:    Soft Grizzly palmered over the Thorax

Near dark in shallower water at the tail of the pool the last fish took the Swim Hex presented spinning tackle on a short cast to smooth water where it is easy to control the speed of the drift. 

Do Hex Nymph patterns work better downstream from someone using wigglers for bait?  This hex nymph jig had not worked this fall when given a trial that was perhaps too short or was it just the wrong day.

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