Molten metals such as lead and tungsten poured into molds produce weighted jigs. This mold forms the head of the jig, which is the heavy portion near the eye of the hook. The collar extends down from the jig, and anglers will attach materials onto them to make the jig resemble aquatic creatures that fish eat. Some collars have small barbs which secure softer plastic baits that anglers slip onto the jig and up the shaft of the hook. Common materials used to create the jig "skirt" to hide the hook include feathers, tinsel, plastic, silicone and rubber strips, and animal hair. Many jigs are painted.
The weights of jigs differ greatly. The lightest jigs weigh as little as 1/100th of an ounce and can be used to fish for panfish through the ice. The heaviest jigs, intended for large fish such as muskellunge and striped bass, weigh more than 2 ounces. Some of the more frequently used weights weigh 3/4 ounce, 1/2 ounce, 1/4 ounce, 1/8 ounce and 1/16 ounce.
Jig hooks come in various diameters and strengths and bend at angles between 60 degrees and 90 degrees at the eye, which affects where the eye is in relation to the jig head. This placement affects the motion of the jig when fished. Hooks that have shorter shanks can be fished with a live minnow on the jig. Those with longer shanks can handle plastic worms, tubes or other soft lures. Jig hooks typically are bronze, gold, black or red. Jigs fished in heavy cover will have strong hooks that can pull through weeds and rocks. Lighter hooks can be used when fishing in spots where snags occur often, such as brush piles and over downed timber.
The design of the jig head directly affects how it moves in the water. The round-headed jig will sink rapidly, while the sleek bullet-shaped jig head cuts through water. Jig heads shaped like aspirin fall toward the bottom quite fast, and anglers choose these when fishing in strong current. Tube-head jigs have a cylindrical shape that lets the jib fit inside a plastic tube to lure fish such as bass. Other jig heads have football, banana or mushroom shapes.
Jigs dressed in certain materials target specific species of fish. Bass jigs will have weed guards of plastic or strong fiber along with skirt of hair or other materials hiding a larger hook. The hooks on tied-dressing jigs are a bit more exposed, and the material used to dress the jig goes directly onto the collar. Plain jigs, which anglers can bait with soft plastic lures such as curly tailed grubs, fake minnows or artificial leeches, are versatile. Weedless jigs (with wire weed guards) work well with live bait.