Ice Fishing Field Test: VMC Tungsten Jigs for Bluegills, Crappies and Perch
Dave Maas 03.07.18
Call me old school if you must, but I was a bit late getting to the tungsten jig party. Sure, I’d read about the advantages of using tungsten and watched a few videos. However, it wasn’t until the winter of 2016/2017 that I gave tungsten an honest field test. Like many of you reading this article, I was impressed with the high-tech jigs, so I made it a point this winter to expand my tungsten horizons even further.
A month ago, I got my hands on several offerings from VMC. The company produces a wide selection of tungsten jigs, and I liked the fact that some versions came pre-rigged with enticing, lifelike soft-plastic TriggerX bodies that imitate common forage species. Specifically, I tried the VMC Tungsten Nymph Jig, Wax Tail Jig, Luv Bug Jig, and undressed Tubby Jig. Note: I also have a couple Tungsten Fly Jigs in my tacklebox, but I have yet to give them a shot. Perhaps I can make that happen this upcoming weekend.
There’s no other way to say this: VMC Tungsten Jigs are gorgeous. To steal language from some car/truck reviews I’ve read, the fit and finish of these jigs must be seen to be believed. The paint jobs are flawless, there’s no need to open the line tie of a jig due to extra/misplaced paint; the insanely sharp VMC Power Gap hooks have a 5 percent wider gap than traditional hooks for better hooking percentage; and the jigs are precision balanced, meaning the 90-degree line tie keeps the jig balanced at all times.
On the Ice
While the shallow-water bite will certainly come at some point during mid- to late-March in my home state of Minnesota, my ice time during February was mostly spent targeting deep-water sunfish, crappies and perch. Of course, this is where tungsten excels. Tungsten’s fast drop allowed me to fish quickly, making finding fish more efficient.
A high-speed drop enabled me to make the most of limited feeding windows. As the sun hit the trees to the west and crappies began feeding aggressively — but only for about 30 minutes — VMC Tungsten Jigs made it easy for me to quickly get my lure back into the strike zone.
Finally, heavy-for-dimension tungsten jigs seemed to attract more perch when I pounded the jigs on the bottom. I don’t know if they make more noise underwater than lead jigs — I suspect they do — but they certainly kick up a lot of silt for such a tiny profile.
VMC Tungsten Jigs are outstanding. Even on finicky mid-winter panfish, they entice strikes due to their great appearance/action, and the hookup rate is tremendous. Give them a try this winter if you still have safe ice in your area. And if you don’t, I’m sure the jigs will be deadly this spring on open-water panfish, too.