I like to emphasize this point that what separates OE TACKLE from other jig manufacturers is that the product is tested on the water, tweaked, tested again and constantly being improved upon even during the season. It is like coming out with a diamond jig 2.0, then coming up with revised versions 2.1, 2.2, then 3.0, as OE TACKLE manufactures terminal tackle that has been found to be most cost effective in consistently catching fish in this region. It is what you see some of the top fishermen who fish upon party boats, along with captains of a number of vessels are now using in this area.
Gold metal jigs have been around for a number of years, but were seen as more as a novelty or just one of a number of pieces of tackle that you should have in your tackle box, not the primary lure for fishing for various game fish. Over the years, the gold colored jigs were popular down south for species such as redfish (red drum) and speckled trout, but were very rarely used north of Virginia.
One party boat in this region, the Flamingo fishing out of Knapp Street in Brooklyn became the first to start using gold diamond jigs and latter gold hammered jigs for bluefishing and striped bass fishing on a party boat. No doubt with the Wiegand family and their incredible almost 6 decades fishing history of becoming one of the first party boats to chase and jig fish in this region, doesn't surprise us when it comes to slinging metal lures for our most popular game fish. A few years later, Bob Sapanara of the Brooklyn started also to use gold hammered diamond jigs.
From what these two party boats saw and caught using gold hammered jigs, the popularity and fish catching success has quickly grown over the last decade to the point where it is now the premier metal lure to use for both squidding and jigging striped bass, bluefish and weakfish (when they were around).
Originally when gold diamond jigs were locally made here, they were in fact flash plated with gold. The covering is only a few microns thick that is applied by placing the object (in this case the diamond jig) in a chemical solution and an electrical field is then used to attach the gold particles to the thin layer of copper or nickel on the lead jig.
Even with such a very minimal amount of gold used, the cost has rapidly increased of gold plating when compared to chrome plating, even as the price of gold hovered around the 300-400 dollars an ounce range! One should compare the price of gold in the commodities market, as it has gone up and over a 1000 dollars an ounce to close to 1400 or so dollars an ounce, making it so cost prohibitive to use gold plating on what really ends up as a 'throw away' piece of fishing tackle.
A second dynamic which also comes into play when we talk about gold plating diamond jigs, particularly over the last few years is that you have to find a business in the area which does gold plating. As we have seen here in NY and NJ metro area, many metal platers have gone out of business due to both of regulatory and economic reasons. Though there are still a handful of businesses left that do plating, they now concentrate on the more popular chrome, nickel, silver and other metal plating instead of gold.
Thus the one-two punch caused by the escalating high price of using gold plating along with finding a local plating business that does gold plating, led to diamond jig manufacturers to look for reasonably priced alternatives to gold looking jigs, either through the use of other plating materials that give a gold-like hue, or from overseas sources that do metal plating. The one key component in making gold looking diamond jigs was to find a cheap alternative that would first be as close in color to gold and second, would hold up reasonably well to the destructive nature of sea water and saltwater fishing.
The reason why I am giving this background information, is to give a brief understanding on how true gold plated diamond jigs have now changed to diamond jigs that have a gold colored appearance. For a fishing forum and from my limited knowledge on plating, this a very laymen-like discussion on the history, why and what on the plating of gold or other metal products. I know there are a number of people in the metal works business like Codkilla, Microwelder and a few others who I would imagine could give you many more details on this process.
From this point, I am going to walk this discussion through in a power point like format since there are a number of intricate points when talking about gold diamond jigs. I would like you to not only keep in mind about the color gold, but also on the other inherent properties that make up a p[professionally casted diamond jig.
1- First take a look at this table which is called an Ternary plot found on WIKIPEDIA which gives you an idea on the RANGE of GOLD COLORING, as far as the shades of GOLD which are accepted as being within the gold colored family.
2- Gold is nearest to the color yellow and that makes it very recognizable when compared to other common metals (not alloys). This color is important in saltwater fishing as we have mentioned on this site when we talk about using YELLOW tubes for striped bass when the water has a dirty look to it. Yellow has been found to be maybe the most successful shallow water color on those days the water has that cloudy appearance to it. This maybe why gold lures in backwater areas are so successful in catching fish like redfish, striped bass and speckled trout.
Lets look at this water absorption color spectrum table found on ULTRAMAX ENTERPRISES INC - HOME PAGE to give us an idea on what happens to each of the 'ROY G BIV' colors as sunlight descends through the water depths. I have never seen a table which clearly illustrates the color break down in water.
3- This is a comparison of the two types of GOLD COLORED DIAMOND JIGS that are at the center of our attention. The one to your left is the product that is being sold to the boats that is an off gold color or rose like hue. I will also point out that it weights LESS then what the fishing fleet normally uses for blue and striped bass fishing in this region (Both myself and the captain of the vessel in question weighted BOTH jigs up and the weight was noticeably different from what it was stated it should be).
The Gold Diamond jig to the right is an official OE TACKLE 4 oz gold hammered diamond jig. Take notice of not only the color, but the shape of the jigs body and the hook type. I hope that many of you can see the difference in color, though in real life the difference in color is more apparent.
4- Here is the gold colored jig in question. The image does not do justice in highlighting its rose (red)/copper colored appearance. Yes it is in the range of acceptable gold colors, but this color is towards the bottom on the Ternay plot, and MAY be one of the reasons why this jig is not as effective as the other jig we have mentioned here.
5- Some of you may still have doubts on what I am discussing here as far as the colors, shades and plating on the jigs we use. Let me just slip this image in as a reference to the debates we have had in the past as whether to use plated or unplated jigs for deep water cod jigging. Ask yourself, what have fishermen found to be their favorites as far as the color of the metal.... plated or unplated? This is a similar discussion here on the color of gold that we prefer and find most effective in catching striped bass and other game fish on our diamond jigs.
From left to right, Nickel Plate, Chrome Plate, Unplated and Stainless Steel Jacketed jig.
6- Below is a better image of the difference between the gold color of OE TACKLE metal lures, next to this other diamond jig. The contrast between an OE TACKLE 5 oz GOLD KROC to the left, and an OE TACKLE 4 oz GOLD HAMMERED JIG to the right is very apparent. This leads to the question why.
As I stated above, true gold plated diamond jigs can no longer be economically produced. A much more economical alternative is COBALT, which when used will give an off yellow 'rose-colored' appearance you see on this jig. But unlike gold, cobalt is more susceptible to oxidation, thus darkening its appearance on the metal surface once used in salt water. A clear lacquer is then typically applied after the diamond jig is plated. More on what this does later as you will easily see.
After much research, it was found that a much better (fish catching wise) and more economical alternative then cobalt plating, was to use a brass plating on diamond jigs. Brass which is an alloy with a copper and zinc mix, gives the bright yellow appearance closest to gold, along with holding up well when exposed to a marine environment. It will tarnish as we normally see with the familiar 'green-rash'. If the surface is NOT covered in a protective clear lacquer, it can be easily polished and will quickly return to its bright luster which I will also show below. I will not mention what the protective coating is on the OE TACKLE gold hammered jig though.
7- The next two images below show true 24 karat gold plated jigs next to the rose colored diamond jig to the right. These were made a number of years ago and plated here in Brooklyn, New York. Over the years, these gold plated jigs have darkened very slightly, and now have been retired. Looking at this image I can see the old style eyes which are no longer used, since OE TACKLE uses an upgraded heavy duty stainless eye on all their jigs. There is no need to apply a clear lacquer covering over this real gold surface.
Who would of ever thought that at one time 24 karat gold plate was used on a diamond jig? I cannot imagine what these jigs would cost now to plate, per piece!
I have posted a % Gold by weight karat scale. By using lower karat grades of gold, its DURABILITY in the saltwater environment diminishes as we go from almost pure 24k gold to lower karats. The lower karat grades of gold, have been tried, but will not hold up at all as some of us have seen here, as they literally 'wash-off' the jig after fishing.
8 - In the image below are of the same style 4 oz original Viking jig design, with the left jig being plated in SILVER and the jig to the right being plated in GOLD plate. I want to point out that the silver plated jig was made by the same manufacturer who made the rose colored hammered jig. Notice the SEAM (straight line) running down the front surface of the jig unlike the OE TACKLE manufactured jig which has its seam on the edges of the jig.
It is much easier to make a mold where the jig is cast in this manner, partly due to making it easier to place both eyes in the jig. The OE TACKLE mold compensates for this, thus no seam is seen on a flat surface when the jig is cast. This shows the attention to detail that all OE TACKLE diamond jigs are made with. The difference is very evident with the same jig being made by two different manufacturers.
9- As we move along, I want to show you some brass plated sample jigs with a more flattened design that were made earlier this year that we actually fished with. They look rough due to these jigs being left a little too long in their acid bath at the plater! But they fished incredibly well and led to the current design in which you now see for the all the OE TACKLE GOLD & CHROME HAMMERED jigs. I happen to have a bunch here at home that I would never part with.
Isn't it interesting that they have an similar surface appearance and thickness to the rose colored jig to the right? Which jig is more close in color to looking like it was gold plated?
Now let me turn the jig on its side so you will get a better idea on what I am getting at as far as copying the jig design by OE TACKLE. The brass plated OE TACKLE hammered jig is to the left in this shot. One thing in COPYING any jig design...... if you do not have a 'true master' copy (that is what is inserted into the soft material to make the original mold), then any jig that is made from this mold will have its jigs not weigh the weight that the original 'true master', due to a 7-10 percent loss in weight as a result when the mold cavity is made.
Jig makers have to compensate in this area to bring their copy to meet the true weight of the jig they copied. We saw this on the party boat when the rose colored jig was weighted against a OE TACKLE gold hammered jig. It was NOTICEABLY underweight.
A while back, and you can find this on the internet, someone copied the original S&G VK 3 oz Vi-ke jig and it came out to be a 2 plus oz or so jig, because they did not compensate for this. It was even noted that it weighted less then the true original which actually came from the earlier designs from Bridgeport and VIKINGs version 4 oz!
This is the latest version of the OE TACKLE 4 oz gold hammered diamond jig. Look at the thickness of both jigs. OE TACKLE compressed its jig making it bulge out slightly to maintain its desired 4 oz weight. OE TACKLE gold diamond jig is to the left (its the brighter colored jig). Also the seam on the OE TACKLE jig is clearly seen on the edge of the jig (no cuts to the sides of the jig).
10- Remember how I mentioned previously that there is a clear lacquered covering on the rose colored jig? Here is where you can work wonders and can bring out the luster on a brass plated jig by using a very common metal polishing agent which contains ammonia. I mention this so that once you polish the metal surface, make sure this brightening agent is thoroughly removed from the metal surface.
With either a brass, gold or even silver plated jig, you can quickly bring them back to life, especially those that have been fished with and have tarnished in color. Grab a rag and apply the Noxon on the diamond jig:
Look at the black residue left on the rag from polishing this gold metal surface. This was after only a few passes. This is another original gold Viking, not the ones seen in the pictures above.
Here we are working on the silver plated 4 oz viking jig:
Now look at the comparison in this image with the rose colored hammered jig on top with the OE TACKLE brass plated jig on the bottom. The jig at the top of the image has the lacquer covering which does protect the plating underneath, but also makes it impossible to bring out a 'glowing' luster which the brass plated jig on the bottom now has.
This is a gold plated jig that was polished up with Noxon. Notice the white Noxon cleaner on the jig and on the JIg Makers fingers. That is the 24k gold plated jig brought back to life.
We have just skimmed the surface on this topic as their is so much more that can be brought up as far as the gold plating on diamond jigs, but it would start to be outside the realm of this fishing based discussion. The main observation that you can walk away if you decide to buy a gold diamond jig based upon its color, is to realize the difference in the shades of a what is being called a GOLD DIAMOND jig. You want to get as close to the top of the gold colored period which I had posted above.
It would be much easier to use other plating processes (cobalt brightened) that looks similar in appearance to an off, rose colored gold, but we know from much trial and error that their is a big fish catching difference when you pay attention to coming as close to the color of yellow gold as possible on the jig.
We also know that getting the weight of the jig right for fishing in this region, since these jigs are made to FLUTTER DOWN through the water column requiring slightly more weight for its size. Four sided diamond jigs are more aerodynamic due to its shape, and require less weight for its size to speed down through the water column. But they require more action by the angler or the use of a tube to make it look more life like.
A number of different versions have been made of the OE TACKLE gold hammered jigs, and along the way the jigs shape was continually flattened, a scale like surface pattern was added (not hammered), a quality brass plate applied that can be easily brushed up, making the jig being THRU-WIRED (it can be cracked and will not break into two pieces), and hardened with more antimony put into the lead when this jig is cast. The jig also is designed with a top and slightly wider bottom which makes the jig swim noticeable swim better when it is being squidded through the water column.
Also all OE TACKLE jigs use a unique hook design that no other hook manufacturer uses with an Ringed-Open eye, 4x strength, offset bite and gold plating on its jig hook. This hook cannot be bent like the hook seen above, and it hooks and holds better due to is offset, beak point.
I know there will be many questions, and I will try to answer them concerning your questions on these gold hammered type of jigs. I know there will be also be some questions on plating, which could be more accurately answered by those who work in the metal products/production industry. The thoughts I have collected here are based upon what have been passed along to me by those who work in the manufacture and design of OE TACKLE diamond jigs.
Remember the old adage that you get what you pay for, and for the few cents more you will spend on a higher quality diamond jig, it is well worth it's cost. Already this season, the OE TACKLE 4 & 6 oz GOLD HAMMERED DIAMOND JIG, along with the 5 oz GOLD KROC, 5.5 oz HAMMERED NICKEL PLATED 'MONTAUK' DIAMOND JIG and 7.5 oz TUNA CANDY HAMMERED NICKEL PLATED DIAMOND JIG have been the 'go-to' diamond jigs to use in this region. If you don't believe that, come on down and fish upon some of the party and charter boats that use OE TACKLE diamond jigs. The proof is in their fish catching success among anglers.