My oldest grandson, Ayden Dietrich, has been fishing with me since he was 5 years old. He is 13, now, and has caught almost every type and size of fish available to him here in the Midwest.
So it came as quite a surprise last month as were fishing together in a local pond when he started yelling like it was Christmas morning.
It has been a long time since I heard him get THAT excited over a fish he caught.
“Grandpa!” he shouted. “It’s the biggest one I’ve ever seen!”
I had no idea what he had until I got over there and saw one of the biggest bluegill I had ever seen. It was easily in the top 5 size-wise that this 61-year-old angler has ever laid eyes on. I was truly impressed.
A few days later, at the same location, Grandpa Mike caught another monster gill. Two like this in one season was amazing, much less in the same week.
Then, a week later I caught another jurassic bluegill in a lake three counties away. What in the world is going on?
The only common factor in these three catches certainly has nothing to do with the size of these fish; however, it does deserve a mention.
The lure for all three of these amazing fish was the Crappie Thumper jig, from crappielures.com.
I was introduced to these jigs last year by Central Illinois’ top pan fish guide, Reagan Smith of Reag’s Guide Service. We used these jigs and we put three limits of nice slab-sided crappie in the boat in under three hours.
We then teamed up this summer to hammer big bluegill on them. These Crappie Thumper are the real deal for panfish.
Thumpers are just one type lure offered by David and Wendy Maas on crappielures.com. The folks have been in the lure business for about 30 years and have been very successful in providing their customers with the undisputed best panfish baits available anywhere.
The unique thing that attracted me to these jigs is that they are handmade, individually, in the Midwest. David is a former art teacher who loved to fish. He began to design lures but was having trouble in the manufacturing process.
He showed his designs to enough people to find and partner with expert lure makers to produce many of his designs. Now, they make and sell over 100,000 jigs a year and I can tell you the results of these jigs are nothing short of amazing.
David and Wendy established DWAZ Lures and “The Crappie Shop” and created an online catalog along with a printed version to better serve their customers.
The Thumpers come in many different variations and other jigs they sell are hand-tied from chenille and marabou on varying weights and colors of lead jig heads.
Besides the hand-tied jigs, DWAZ Lures also has a huge selection of small plastic “add-ons” for some of their products.
There is no way for me to go into any depth on the vast variety of their jig offerings. My best recommendation is to check out crappielures.com and be prepared to do two things: make your first order and get the grease hot.
(Mike Roux is the Midwest Regional Director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Outdoor Ministry. To become a Home Team Member of this new ministry, call him at 217-257-7895.)