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Capt. Bill Smith on making his own jigs

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Old January 21st, 2018, 07:38 PM posted to rec.outdoors.fishing.saltwater
Ed Wicks[_3_]
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Default Capt. Bill Smith on making his own jigs

Capt. Bill Smith, Islamorada guide for 50 years, first person to catch
bonefish on fly, on making jigs—taken from an audio recording in 1980s

I made my own jigs. You couldn’t buy anything with decent hooks in them
those days. Most everything was tied on freshwater hooks. So I would take my
little tools and dig out a place in a block of hardwood and lay my hook in
there and pour the lead over it, cut off the surplus, and I’d tie some
feathers and some hair on these blanks. I could only make about fifty a day,
and it finally got disgusting so I had a friend of mine in Philadelphia, Mr.
Langworthy, he was in manufacturing, and he made up a mold for me that I
could lead up about six different size leads on hooks and different sizes.
The one that was so popular, and it’s listed in Joe Brooks’ Salt Water
Game Fish book on page 107 and they call it the Bill Smith Bucktail. Well, it
wasn’t really a bucktail. I used an ostrich for the wings, and on the body
I used a squirrel hair, a brown squirrel hair with no hackle on it at all,
and that became very popular. I found that the fish would take it better if
there wasn’t any paint on the lead. When I started selling those to Hopkins
Carter Hardware Company in Miami, I put them on a card, they were not in
cellophane envelopes, and Lee Cuddy was a very good friend of mine and he
walked in the store there one day and he said Bill Smith is so stingy he
won’t even put paint on the lead of these lures. So I had to put some paint
on the lead to be able to sell them to the strangers that came in the store.
And that’s the story of the ostrich, and I’m still tying the ostrich. I
like the white for bonefish, and I tie the same thing on an orange ostrich
for permit and trout and redfish in the back country.


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