Tips on Building Fishing Parachute Rigs

by Zach Lazzari
Vertical jigging from a boat or dock works well with parachute rigs.

Vertical jigging from a boat or dock works well with parachute rigs.

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Parachute rigs are built on jig hooks and used to catch fresh and saltwater fish. Building parachute jigs is similar to fly tying, and fly-tying tools are useful in the process. The parachute jig is fished as a solo rig or in tandem with a second parachute or bucktail jig. Building the parachute rig is a simple process requiring several tools and materials in the desired colors.


The parachute jig is built with the hook clamped in a fly-tying vise. The hook is a heavy-duty model in most cases and any vise grip will suffice. A dedicated fly-tying vise is the best option because it clamps on a table and provides a stable grip. The fly-tying bobbin is also a necessary tool. The bobbin clamps on the thread spool and provides a gripping point for wrapping and controlling the thread.


The parachute rig requires a jig hook, nylon hair, instant glue and gel-spun thread. The color of the hair varies, according to your needs, and a combination of two colors is possible on a single rig. Other hair materials are available, but nylon provides a good average consistency. The hair is stiff enough to hold a thick profile on retrieve and soft enough to flutter on the drop. The rig is built on any size jig hook and the head color is determined by the angler. White or black heads are common and large 4-ounce jigs are typical in salt water while 2-ounce and lighter versions are common in fresh water.


Secure the hook in the vise and attach the gel-spun thread spool to the bobbin. Push the end of the thread through the tube on the bobbin. Cut a chunk of nylon hair with a diameter roughly equal to the jig head. Trim the hair to match the hook length. Hold the hair against the jig head and wrap the thread around the hair and hook until it is stable. Cut a second chunk of nylon hair with slightly less diameter than the original section. Measure the hair to match double the length of the original section. Push the hair around the entire circumference of the hook and make four light thread wraps to hold it on the hook. Adjust the hair with your fingers to create a parachute-style flare and make several more thread wraps to hold the flare. Add two drops of instant glue to the thread and cut the thread spool off the hook.


The weighted head sinks the fly so a leader rigged with weight is not necessary. Tie the fly directly to the line with a clinch knot or Palomar knot. Swivel attachments are also effective for changing the weight and style of the jig throughout the day. Tie an additional length of line to the hook bend for fishing a second parachute or bucktail rig. Use the same knots on the hook bend and second jig.

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