I recently had an opportunity to meet a truly remarkable inventor and sportsman – Mr. Dennis Crocker. He is the inventor of the QUIKSET Weedless Crappie Jig, which was invented in 1997.

Dennis, who is a man of many accomplishments, remains very down-to-earth. He invited me to his beautiful country home in New Bloomfield, Mo., where he gave me a tour of the house and large shop.  0221161356-00

He built his own house and it is evident that it was built with the highest quality material. The design and construction methods are likewise top-notch. He has applied the same attention to detail and the use of only the best quality of materials and state of the art manufacturing technology to the crappie jig business.

Here is how it all started.

Dennis, who goes by “Denny” to his friends (which apparently includes everyone), has worked in construction and concrete for over 40 years and now has his own construction company. He was a professional tournament fisherman from 1995-2004.

He explained to me that during tournaments, he was finding a lot of ”down time” on his hands — which meant a lot of time getting hung up, breaking off and re-tying crappie jigs.

He knew there were fish down in the brush piles, but he couldn’t get them out. He had tried other so-called weedless lures, but nothing worked, so he invented his own.img004

He gave some of his new lures to other fishermen and they universally proclaimed, “Man, these work! You ought to market them!” These jigs went on the market in 1998 and sales have gone through the roof steadily since then.

The name “QUIKSET” comes from the simple fact that when a fish strikes, it sets the hook quickly: hence; QUIKSET. Part of the beauty of the jig is that it not only works for crappie, but virtually all game fish such as bluegill, smallmouth, and even walleye.

The QUIKSET jig has a patented flexible, kick-back action fiber weedguard that enhances the feel when fishing structures such as brush piles, rock beds, and stumps. In addition to the original weedguard, it has an extra-long shank hook. The hook enables fishermen to catch fish on the slightest bite.

Some lures come with skirts attached and others are bare jigs without skirts. You can add your own skirts which are available in the seven proven most effective colors. The ones with skirts attached are for less experienced fishermen and are ready to go straight out of the package.

To attach the skirt to bare hook jigs, you simply slide the skirt over the hook and up to the front of the spur. Next, back the skirt back a little bit. Stick about 1/8th-inch of the end of the flexible weedguard into the skirt. Then, slide the skirt all the way up to the back of the head.  quikset logo

Finally, while holding the lead head between thumb and first finger, lift the weedguard straight up way past the eye of the lure until it is extended straight out. Release it and it will stay in position and IT IS WEEDPROOF! The skirts will NOT pull off when a fish bites nor when colliding with underwater structures, and they are easily repositioned as needed.

The hooks come in different sizes and weights. Weights are 1/8th, 1/16th and 1/32nd ounces. Hook colors are gold, bronze, and red and are available in #4, #2 and #1/0 sizes.  My favorite, based on appearance and concept (I haven’t tried them YET) is the 1/16th oz. red #4 hook which has a chamfered shape and fits a crappie-size mouth perfectly.

These hooks are very sharp and with the slightest pressure will penetrate the crappie mouth into the upper jaw. A fish simply bumps into the weed guard and is instantly hooked.

Here are some suggestions Denny provided to help increase your fun by catching more fish:

• Try putting some scent on the lure. This will enhance the lure and attract more fish.

• Use the appropriate size hook and weight for the time of year and water temperature. All this is based on the crappie spawn. Use a 1/32nd oz. jig early in the season and in shallow water, even with a bobber.

• The 1/16th oz. jig and #1 hook is the one to use during prime time, when water temperature is about 58 degrees – say mid-March or so. After the feeding frenzy is over the water will start to warm up and fish will be heading for deeper water where it will be cooler. So, now you should shift to a 1/8 oz. jig for deeper water.

• Also, when the water warms up a bit, fish your lures on the shady side of a tree or brush pile. Many fishermen have success using a dipping pole with minnows or QUIKSET jigs after the spawn.

Denny likes to share his success and encourages others to enjoy fishing by sponsoring fishing derbies across the United States. He has donated thousands of lures as prizes for these fishing derbies. He also conducts seminars at outdoor sporting goods stores.

In addition, he is a patriot and every year takes several different disabled veterans fishing in his own boat, usually in the fall near Veteran’s Day.

Denny still has his own construction company which is a full-time job. He is an accomplished deer hunter, both archery and rifle, which keeps him very occupied when he isn’t fishing and making crappie jigs.

QUIKSET Weedless Crappie Jigs have gone a long way from hand manufacturing in a small garage in Holts Summit, Mo., to the current state-of-the-art computerized technology of today. American ingenuity and the desire to make catching fish easier for everyone have combined to make this a deserving success story.

There are lots of imitators, but only one QUIKSET Weedless Crappie Jig. The patented weedguard with springback action is the key to its success. From humble beginnings, this jig is now been recognized as the top tournament fishing jig in the nation.

Fishermen use it for corking, pitching in the fall, spider-rigging, deep trolling, and long-pole jigging. This has simply outperformed all other weedless jigs. It is sold in the biggest big name outdoor sporting goods stores as well as lots of “Mom and Pop” bait shops and marinas literally all across the nation.

For more information, please see the official website at www.quiksetjigs.com. The website includes an order form.

Meeting Denny and interviewing him was a rewarding experience in itself. Now I really can’t wait for warmer weather and the chance to try out some of these jigs!

By Gary L. Arnold