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Local tackle companies are what make the fishing world go ‘round. Yes, the huge tackle conglomerates make some fantastic products that many of us rely on every outing. Who doesn’t have a Strike King spinnerbait or Berkley Power Worm in their tacklebox? But it's these smaller tackle companies that fill the niches and drive the industry and the innovation forward. I met the owner of Sammy John Jigs back in 2010 at a Bassmaster Open. He was co-angler for the day, and we had a great day catching big smallmouth on Champlain. This year he sent me a batch of his jigs and I found the quality to be they outstanding. What first stood out to me about these jigs was the hook. I am a fan of smaller, finer wire hooks, especially for fishing

smallmouth. Most football jigs on the racks at the tackle shops have large gauge hooks. These jigs have a real nice, small wire hook that I believe is necessary for effective smallmouth fishing. I will definitely work these into the lineup on the lakes I fish here in the north, even on St. Clair where jigs are not traditionally used. The next thing that impressed me was the profile. When matched with a Strike King Menace grub they are the perfect size of the typical northern crawfish. They come with wire-tied skirts which is always a plus as they are less likely to slip down, and generally provide a more natural action to the skirt. Adding to my favorable impression is Sammy John's color schemes. Not only is the finish durable, well applied and cured, they provide the subtlety needed in our clear northern waters. I am not a fan of loud colors, but I do like accents. I feel that the right accents can often make the difference between the fish eating the bait, or just staring at it. Sam does a great job with his

jigs in crafting those subtle accents. Sam also offers tube jigs and ball-head jigs which have become less common at the shops. Sam said he has found that with low lying weeds- like sand grass and some eel grass- or even when the bottom has some mucky spots, the ball-head will fish through it better than a football head. The ball-head also creates a little more rocking action to the skirt and trailer which can entice additional bites. I found that they produce high quality traditional swim jigs, and have also added a willow leaf blade off the back to create an underspin type of bait. I have noticed this trend of adding willow leaf blades to baits like stick worms and swimbaits, and now we see this same trend on swim jigs. I am looking forward to fishing these this spring, and believe they may come in handy as an

alternative to a vibrating jig when the water is not real clear, but not dirty enough to warrant a spinnerbait. Overall, Sammy John Jigs lineup is very impressive. You can also order custom jigs and have them built to your specifications- your choice of well crafted jigs with beautiful colors, skirts, weights, and profile- at a very reasonable cost. To complete their lineup, they offer a full range of terminal tackle including dropshot weights. Check them out at and see for yourself!

Ryan Said is a tournament angler and U.S. Coast Guard licensed guide on Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie, as well as many of Michigan's inland lakes. He books trips through Marcels Guide Service - an affiliation that is beginning its eighth season. In 2011, after winning the Bassmaster Northern Open points championship, Ryan had the honor of fishing the Bassmaster Classic and the Bassmaster Elite series trail. He has fished the Bassmaster Open Series several times, as well as the Costa (now Toyota) Series. Ryan is an engineer and teaches high school math. He coaches the college bass fishing team at Lawrence Tech, and offers seminars and "on the water" instruction for high school anglers. Ryan is pro staff for Dobyns Rods, Lew's Reels, Costa Sunglasses, P-Line and Blackfish


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