Synthetic hair gives bladed bait a different action
An Opelousas fisherman has given the bladed jig a new look, and bass apparently are going ga-ga over it.
It’s all about the skirt, which is a synthetic hair material, something vastly different than the skirt on many bladed jigs.
Ross Wager’s Calcutta Jigs is turning the heads of bass and bass anglers near and far. The owner of Wager Baits — whose motto for his line of artificial lures is “So good you can bet on ‘em” — is proud of the splash his jig has made in a short time.
The Calcutta Jig has caught bass after bass for bass pro Tyler Carriere of Youngsville; Andre Oliver of Eunice, who loves to chunk it at Chicot Lake; Zachary Dubois, who owns Cajun Lures in Nunez, and many others. Carriere has used the bladed jig to catch bass while prefishing and in tournaments on the Bassmaster Elite Series circuit, including a few weighing more than 5 pounds, according to Wager.
A hairy wonder
The feedback he gets is encouraging, he said. Perhaps its main selling point, he said, is the synthetic hair skirt.
“The way the hair works in the water compared to silicone skirt material gives the bait a bigger profile and looks more realistic the way it moves in the water,” Wager said. “People are catching fish on them, big fish, too.
“Anglers are telling me it gives more of a thump in the water, more vibration in the water. I think that’s due to the size of the split ring. It gives it more range of motion.”
Wager, 32, who worked eight years with a machining company in Lafayette, began making sac-a-lait jigs about two years ago. He decided to make artificial lures full time in December 2019.
“I was just tinkering with different lures,” he said. “After I discovered the material to use for a skirt, (that) is when I created the Calcutta Jig. It just blew up from there.”
The skirt is a synthetic hair, he said; he likes it a whole lot more than the rubber and silicone skirts he fished with from his childhood years on up. The synthetic hair he’s using has a longer life compared to standard bucktail hair.
Each Calcutta Jig is hand-tied.
“The only thing that separates mine from others on the market is the skirt material,” he said.
Wager’s sac-a-lait jigs are tied with marabou feathers and/or Krystal flash. Silicone skirt materials also can be used for the sac-a-lait jigs, he said.
For saltwater too
In 2019, Wager’s fledgling company sold between 200 and 250 Calcutta Jigs, mainly in Louisiana and nearby Texas, but some of them as far away as Georgia.His plan is to branch out and market the bladed jig for saltwater fishing, too, saying he has caught redfish on the Calcutta Jig.
“That’s one way I want to go with it, to be universal with it,” he said.
Wager also markets a Flippin’ Finesse Jig and makes football jigs that aren’t sold elsewhere at www.wagerbaits.com.
Calcutta Jigs are made in only one size: ½-ounce. It is the preferred weight of most bass anglers who use bladed jigs, Wager said.
The skirt color schemes and matching head colors are striking, bold in their appearance.
“I have 10 available color patterns on the website, and I can customize any color needs the customer wants,” he said.
The Calcutta Jig “hot craw” color’s head is hand-painted rather than powder coated to match the color of the skirt.
The bladed jigs are armed with a 5/0 Mustad extra sharp hook, one so sharp that it’ll nip your fingers or hands if you aren’t careful.
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