How to make a homemade jigging tip-up

Discussion in '' started by ih772, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. A wind powered jigging tip-up.
    Designed and built by ih772

    This is an idea I've had in the back of my mind for a while now, a wind powered jigging tip-up, aka, windlass tip-up. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I started with the old classic “crossed arms” tip-up, modified it, and turned in into a jigging tip-up. I know there are other designs out there, but I wanted to make one that was my own.

    This design is primarily for Walleye, Crappie and Perch. Use braided line as backing and wind a few layers of mono on top, being careful not to over fill the reel. The mono will resist freezing should the line get wet. The current design can handle up to a ¼ ounce jig and Walleye minnow. If someone wanted to use heavier tackle and minnow, the weight of the egg sinker counter balance would need to be increased. This is my take on a wind powered jigging tip-up. I'm sure other types of tip-ups could be modified as well. Be sure to read the construction tips before getting started. Have fun and tight lines!




    1 – Cross arm style tip-up.
    1 – 12” length of 3/8” square dowel.
    1 – 5” x 5” corrugated plastic sheet.
    1 – eye screw. (Screws into 3/8” square dowel)
    1 – 4-40 machine screw 1” long.
    1 – 3/16” OD nylon spacer 1/2” long. (Make sure 4-40 screw fits inside)
    1 – ½ oz. Egg sinker.
    1 – small cable tie. (Must fit inside egg sinker)
    1 - #6 sheet metal screw.

    • Construction Tips:
    • Triple check the 'flag release' wire is oriented correctly before bending the new offset. Be sure the wire is inside the plastic tubing before making the first bend. Refer to the pictures.
    • Make sure you have copied the old offset a closely as possible.
    • When finding the reel location, be sure the flag end of the release wire is seated against the plastic sleeve.
    • Leave the cold temperature grease on the release wire and inside the plastic sleeve.
    • Make sure the nylon bushing ends are smooth and so are the surfaces it will rub against.
    • Take your time finding the exact balance point of the jigging arm.
    • You may need to increase or decrease the size of the egg sinker depending on the weight of the tackle and bait that you normally use.
    • Drill the appropriate size pilot holes for all screws, especially the pivot screw. The pivot screw will thread into the tip-up.
    • Use a machine screw for the pivot point, don't use wood or sheet metal screws.
    • When the jigging arm is pointed straight down, make sure the eye screw in the end is below the center of the reel. If not, the fish will feel extra resistance when pulling the line off the reel.

    The first step is to remove the reel.

    The next step is to move the flag release wire and re-size it.

    Cut off the end of the release wire that goes into the reel. Make your cut just above the offset.

    Remove the release wire from the plastic sleeve. Measure and cut the plastic sleeve to 4 ½ inches. Throw away the remaining piece, it will not be used.

    Re-insert the release wire into the plastic sleeve. Don't remove the low temperature grease.
    Now the offset bend needs to be put back into the release wire. Use the offset you cut off earlier as a pattern for the new one. Take your time doing the bends and make any necessary tweaks to get it to match the original one. Make sure you pay attention to the end of the wire that holds the flag and be sure to make your offset bends correctly or else it won't release the flag properly. Its vital to get this right as its one of the most important parts of the project.

    Lay the old offset on top of the wire and make a mark at the start of the second bend. The start of the second bend is the end closest to plastic tubing.


    Using needle nose pliers, make the second bend.


    Wanna kill these ads? We can help!
    #1 ih772, Mar 6, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2015
  2. Lay the old offset back on top of the new one. Bend and tweak the new offset until it matches the old one.
    Once the bends match, cut the excess wire off the new one.

    Here's what the flag release wire should look like when its completed.

    Mount the newly shortened flag release assembly. Lay the new assembly on the tip-up on the same side you removed it from earlier.


    Make sure the top end of the plastic sleeve is even with the lower edge of the bevel on the top of the tip-up.Staple the new flag release assembly back on to the tip-up. Make sure the staples don't crush the tubing and make the release bind. I like to give each corner of the staple a little pinch with some channel locks to embed it farther into the wood. This makes the staple form around the tubing and keeps it in place nicely. Now the assembly has been raised several inches from its original position.

    Now the reel will be mounted in its new position. Take the the reel and line it up with the flag release assembly. While holding the reel in place, turn it and make sure the flag release operates properly. Be careful and don't let the flag hit you the eye! Once the proper location is found, make a pencil mark for drilling a hole for mounting the reel.


    Screw the reel to the tip-up and that part of the build is finished. Measure down from the top ¾ of an inch. This will be the location for the jigging arm pivot screw. Use a machine screw for the pivot point. Make sure the hole is small enough to be tapped for a 4-40 screw thread. The pivot screw can be used to tap the hole since the wood is soft enough.

    The jigging arm is made from a 12” long piece of 3/8” square dowel rod.

    Drill a hole for the screw that will hold the wind vane ½” from one end of the jigging arm.Now flip the rod over and on the opposite end drill a hole for the 'line guide' eye screw.

    Cut a piece of material for the wind vane. I used a 5” x 5” piece of corrugated plastic sheet.

    Attach the wind vane to the jigging arm. I drilled a hole in the plastic sheet roughly 1/4” from the edge.

    At the opposite end of the jigging arm, install the eye screw. The jigging arm should look like this. Use an eye screw with a large diameter and pinch the eye all the way closed with a pair of channel locks.




  3. Balance the arm as shown. Make sure you only have the eye screw and wind vane attached to the jigging arm at this point. Mark the balance point so hole can be drilled for the pivot screw and nylon bushing. I used a 4-40 machine screw and made the bushing slightly wider than the jigging arm.




    Attach the jigging arm to the tip-up. Make sure the jigging arm pivots freely up and down and doesn't have excess side to side slop. Be sure you are using a machine screw for the pivot as it allows for finer adjustments.


    The counterbalance is made from a ½ ounce egg sinker and a cable tie. Its installed on the bottom side of the jigging arm between the pivot screw and wind vane.
    There is one mod I've made to it already this season.

    Put the egg sinker between the eye-screw end of the jigging arm and the pivot point instead of on the rear by the corrugated plastic.

    #3 ih772, Mar 6, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2015
  4. The counterbalance slides back and forth to counter act the weight of the jig/sinker and minnow. It needs to be farther away from the pivot point for heavy bait and closer for lighter bait.


    Now the project is complete and it should look something like this.


    Here's a pair folded up and ready to go.

    Tips on using

    • Use braided line for backing then wind a few layers of mono over the top. This will help keep the line from freezing and its a good way to rig for Walleye, Crappie and Perch.
    • Don't over fill the reel.
    • When adjusting the counterbalance for light winds, make sure the jigging arm always points down toward the hole when there isn't any wind. You want it sensitive enough that the jigging arm moves when there is the slightest breeze but always returns to pointing straight down when it calms.
    • On really windy days, adjust the counterbalance so the jigging arm is nearly horizontal. On light wind days, adjust the counterbalance so the jigging arm is almost vertical and points toward the hole.
    • To keep the hole from freezing, use a black 5 gallon bucket lid. Cut a hole about halfway between the center of the lid and the outer edge. Then cut a slot from the hole, across the center of the lid and to the edge on the opposite side. The bottom of the tip-up slides down into the hole and the cross arms rest on top of the lid. The slit gives the mono a way to get down into the water.
    #4 ih772, Mar 6, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  5. I also made a .PDF of the build instructions than can be printed. Its much easier to use a paper copy out in the workshop and you don't worry about getting it dirty or dropping like you would a laptop.
  6. Pretty cool, bump this in November.
  7. A bump for the hard water season.
  8. Send me your address an i'll email it to you.
  9. Brand new to this site. This is a great ideal and great information on your post. If possible I would like to get the pdf from you to build a couple of these for this season. My email is I would appreciate it very much. Thanks again for the great information.

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  10. I sent the pdf file to everyone I got an email address from.
  11. Very cool DYI project! Have you used them on HL? :)
  12. I used them at the end of walleye season on HL last year.
  13. Thanks IH got the PDF it looks great be out in the shop tomorrow working on it for the next trip

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