Donkey Tails & Mule Jigs by Mule Fishing Supply Co. | Product Review & Field Test

Mule Jig Donkey Tail Review

The Mule Jig paired with a Donkey Tail allows you to cover water quickly while targeting gamefish of every size. The light-wire hooks mean you can use it on ultra-light tackle, and the small paddletail is irresistible to panfish, attractive to larger fish, and durable enough to take a beating and keep on catching ’em! Quite the saucy little nugget, and now a staple in my freshwater fishing backpack.

– The Minimalist Fisherman
Mule Jig Donkey Tail by Ethan Dhuyvetter (The Online Outdoorsman)
The Mule Jig: a finesse jig by Ethan Dhuyvetter (The Online Outdoorsman) & Mule Fishing Supply Co.

Last season, my most pleasant surprise… was a Donkey…

While watching YouTube I came across a video on “minimalist fishing”, by The Online Outdoorsman (Ethan Dhuyvetter). Obviously I was intrigued, and after watching the video, subscribed to his channel.

Shortly thereafter he mentioned Mule Fishing Supply Co. (his tackle company) on Instagram, and I emailed him. We hopped on a call and discussed his company and his goal of providing hard working baits that are accessible to anglers of any age or skill level.

Inspiring!

I purchased some Mule Jigs, simply to support a small business – and when they arrived I was surprised to find a few packs of Donkey Tails to pair with them, along with a hand-written note. The gesture was appreciated, but… I didn’t really think anything of it… until I started to use them…

Mule Jig Donkey Tail by Ethan Dhuyvetter (The Online Outdoorsman)
The first of several orders from Mule Fishing Supply Co.
Mule Jig Donkey Tail by Ethan Dhuyvetter (The Online Outdoorsman)
Class Act: “Thank you so much for the support of both Mule & my social media efforts.”

Throughout last season, they proved themselves to be fish catching machines again and again, and have since earned a permanent place in my freshwater fishing backpack.

Here’s why:

Mule Jig Features: How They Look

The jigs themselves feature a light wire hook in a brass finish, along with a 90° line tie. There is a light metal keeper made of the same wire to hold ultra-stretchy plastics in place. Keep in mind though, keepers this small will easily rip straight through traditional plastics in just a few hooksets.

Sizes currently run as small as 1/80 all the way up to 3/32 ounce, with hook sizes ranging from #10 to #4 respectively. Colors include: black, chartreuse, white, fire red, pink & green pumpkin.

Mule Jig Donkey Tail by Ethan Dhuyvetter (The Online Outdoorsman)
My initial order included a few favorite sizes & colors.

Donkey Tail Features: How They Look

The standard Donkey Tails clock in at 2.8″ (8 per pack), while the smaller Donkey Tail Jr. measures just 1.6″ (12 per pack). They float, and contain no salt or scent. The baits come packaged in a plastic tray, and they all came out in perfect condition with no defects or extra flashing. There was a slight bit of variation in the coloring (meaning how much of one color or another was present on the two-tone baits), but nothing abnormal.

Donkey Tails are super stretchy – the material is very similar to Z-Man’s ElaZtech – which means they won’t tear off of jigs utilizing slim wire keepers. This stretch also means the baits are extremely durable. In fact, it’s not uncommon to catch 20, 30 – even 50+ fish on a single plastic.

However, like all super stretchy materials, you need to make sure you store these baits by themselves, either in the package they came in, or in their own compartment within your Plano container. If they are stored with other traditional plastics, they will “melt” (I got it to react with a Zoom Trick Worm and a Strike King Ocho). However, I did not experience any “melting” when I stored my Donkey Tails with ElaZtech baits like the Z-Man Hula Stick or Ned Rig TRD.

Colors include: Black, True Chartreuse, Karma, Green Pumpkin Black Flake, along with my personal favorite Pasture Fire, and the runner up Dakota Sunrise.

Mule Jig Donkey Tail by Ethan Dhuyvetter (The Online Outdoorsman)
A Donkey Tail Jr. in Pasture Fire – my personal favorite.
Mule Jig Donkey Tail by Ethan Dhuyvetter (The Online Outdoorsman)
The standard Donkey Tail in Dakota Sunrise – my second fav, paired with a chartreuse jighead in a combo I dubbed Shock & Awe.

Differences that make these Mule Fishing Products Unique:

Mule Jigs have a few key features that help them stand out from the crowd.

First, the head design is rounded, but flat on the bottom. This is similar to the traditional “mushroomhead jigs” popularized by Gopher Tackle some 40 years ago. This allows the plastic to sit flush against the jighead. The hook shank is also on the shorter size – which is absolutely critical if you want to get the maximum amount of action out of your smaller plastics.

The shorter shank on the hook means less metal up in the trailer, allowing for a wilder kick back and forth – even at a slower retrieve speed. Watching a mean green sunfish track a tiny kicking swimbait, then deciding to swipe up and hammer it like a mini-muskie, is truly a sight to behold!

Mule Jigs paired with Donkey Tails, Fat Albert Grubs and Strike King Lightning Shad plastics
Mule Jigs paired with Donkey Tails, Fat Albert Grubs and Strike King Lightning Shad plastics – just remember that the light wire keeper will easily rip through traditional plastics.

Donkey Tails are super stretchy and durable – which means they can be a pain in the butt to rig up until you get the hang of it. One quick tip is to get the bait started on the hook, then PULL the top part of the plastic up past the jighead and release – don’t try to PUSH it like a standard plastic (it won’t get past the keeper without bending it).

The lack of salt & scent is no problem because the Donkey Tail is a visual bait. It needs to be seen and felt in the water to get bit – which is why it pairs so well with the lightweight Mule Jigs and their shorter shank. Even in the smallest size, the little segments on the body, and the chunky paddletail coming off the slender rear portion kick out a ton of vibration.

Mule Jig Donkey Tail by Ethan Dhuyvetter (The Online Outdoorsman)
That chunky little tail kicks, provided you match it with the right kind of jig…

How to Fish a Donkey Tail:

Rigging & presentation are pretty straightforward. I like to use the Donkey Tail Jr. on a 1/32 ounce Mule Jig when I am targeting panfish. If I’m looking for bass or a slightly bigger bite, I’ll bump up to the standard Donkey Tail on a 1/16 or even a 3/32 ounce Mule Jig.

I rig the trailer straight on the jig with the tail facing up or down, and spool up with 4 to 6 pound test mono or fluorocarbon depending on the water clarity and structure. If I’m around rocks or sunken bushes, or if I know we’ll need a stronger hookset without stretch, it’s fluoro all day. Peaceful afternoon panfishing is much more sporty on stretchy monofilament.

Mule Jig Donkey Tail Green Sunfish Pumpkinseed
This chunky green sunfish decimated a 1/32 ounce Mule Jig in white with a Donkey Tail Jr. in Pasture Fire on 4lb mono.

In either case I like a 6’6″ to 7’2″ medium light rod with a moderately fast action, paired with a spinning rod in the 1000 size range. Shorter rod if I’m in a creek or close quarters, longer in open areas or if I need to increase my casting distance with such lightweight baits.

Mule Jig Donkey Tail by Ethan Dhuyvetter (The Online Outdoorsman)

The presentation is simple: cast it out, count it down to whatever depth the fish are at, engage the reel and start to reel it straight back. Test slow, fast, and occasionally toss in a few twitches here and there to see what works.

I do not deadstick or jig this bait & presentation combo, but instead focus on covering water. If you decide it’s time to slow down, look to different options.

Where to Use a Mule Jig:

This presentation will catch anything that eats… well, smaller baitfish, insects… anything that swims. I’ve caught crappie, panfish of every sort like perch, bluegill, green sunfish and pumpkinseed, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, drum – even trout. It mimics their food.

Well.

Mule Jig Donkey Tail Green Sunfish Pumpkinseed
Pumpkinseed or Green Sunfish (or a mix) caught on a Mule.

With the exposed hook, this bait is not the best choice if you are fishing weed beds, unless you keep it up over the top or make short, precise casts that allow you to effectively work up and down the holes and pockets visible to the naked eye. That said, don’t be afraid to whip it as far as you can when you’re fishing rip rap shorelines, floating over sandy flats, or wading through moving water in a creek or river.

Mule Jig Donkey Tail by Ethan Dhuyvetter (The Online Outdoorsman)

The depth will also be determined by the fish. If you need to go deeper, put on a heavier weight and upsize your plastic. Pay attention to how long you’re letting the bait sink before engaging your reel. How deep are the bites? If you can get away with the smaller size up shallow – DO IT – some of my favorite days this past season were spent fishing aggressive panfish in super-shallow water. Pumpkinseed and green sunfish with demolish this bait if they are around in certain bodies of water – and depending on the time of year, when you’re fishing up shallow you never know what you might catch…

Mule Jig Donkey Tail Largemouth Bass
3-pound largemouth bass on a Mule Jig up super shallow. The definition of a “bonus fish”. Click below to see this catch, and another day spent tossing Donkeys all about for some quality panfish!

Current Mule Fishing Tackle Pricing:

Mule Jigs (1/80 ounce / 5 pack) – $4.29
Mule Jigs (1/64 ounce / 5 pack) – $4.29
Mule Jigs (1/32 ounce / 5 pack) – $4.29
Mule Jigs (1/16 ounce / 5 pack) – $4.29
Mule Jigs (3/32 ounce / 5 pack) – $4.29
Donkey Tails (2.8″ / 8 pack) – $5.49
Donkey Tail Jr. (1.6″ / 12 pack) – $5.49

Mule Jig Donkey Tail by Ethan Dhuyvetter (The Online Outdoorsman)

Visit Mule Fishing Tackle Co. to view their current catalog.

Final Thoughts on Mule Jigs & Donkey Tails:

The Mule Jig paired with a Donkey Tail allows you to cover water quickly while targeting gamefish of every size. The light-wire hooks mean you can use it on ultra-light tackle, and the small paddletail is irresistible to panfish, attractive to larger fish, and durable enough to take a beating and keep on catching ’em! Quite the saucy little nugget, and now a staple in my freshwater fishing backpack.

I strongly recommend you try this combo.

Mule Jig Donkey Tail by Ethan Dhuyvetter (The Online Outdoorsman)

Make room for it in your everyday tackle backpack or glove box so you always have them on hand. They have a different look & feel than similar baits like the Z-Man Slim SwimZ, or the Bruiser Baits Super Swimmer Jr., giving you extra versatility without breaking the bank.

Mule Jigs & Donkey Tails can make a tough day memorable, and a good day even better!

Quality:

4 Star Review Rating

Performance:

5 Star Review Rating

Durability:

5 Star Review Rating

Cost:

4 Star Review Rating

Total Score:

4.5 Star Review Overall Rating
largemouth bass rod and gun club Sheridan mule jig donkey tail
Largemouth bass caught at the Sheridan Rod & Gun Club on a warm summer afternoon with “Shock & Awe” combo.

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How our rating system works:

Our 5-star rating system gives you a quick overview of the bait in question, but please read the details we provide in-depth. Even baits with lower ratings can have value in certain situations!

Quality: Rates features like salt, scent, material(s), paint & finish and/or flashing.
Durability: Rates the backbone of the components, hooks, finish and overall build.
Performance: Rates how the bait looks & works in & out of the water.
Cost: Rates the overall value vs. the MSRP, not just the price.

Some days… it all comes together…

MMB 35 Northern Wisconsin Fishing Tips

Fishing is always fun – especially in Wisconsin – but it isn’t always as exciting as we’d like it to be. However, the slow days are what makes us appreciate the days when everything seems to come together, and you find loads of fish… like on this awesome morning.

Let’s have some fun!