Creating a new bass jig, part 1

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Creating a new bass jig, part 1

Creating a bass jig from an established design is not that hard. It’s easy enough to get a small mold from a company like Do-It Molds, select the

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Creating a bass jig from an established design is not that hard. It’s easy enough to get a small mold from a company like Do-It Molds, select the proper hook and pour it. After that you powder coat it and then you can add a weed guard and a skirt. You’re done. All that’s left is to tie it on and go fishing. 

To make a totally new design that is sold on a mass scale is much more complicated. It takes more time, money and research.  

In 2012 I started Missile Baits soft plastics. In 2014, I started Missile Jigs. My longtime friend and now returning fellow Bassmaster Elite Series pro Mike Iaconelli is the face of the brand and is also the co-designer of our jigs. Basically, his job is to tell me what he wants and what will do what he wants it to do under a certain set of conditions. 

Then it’s my job to get a prototype designed and pitch it to him for testing. Once he’s done he tells me what tweaks we need to make, and then I get them done. That system has worked well for both of us. We’ve brought six different jigs to market so far. We’re proud of each of them.  

Before I tell you how we get our new designs to market, we need to reflect a little on the history of bass jigs. 

By any reasonable thinking Lonnie Stanley is the father of the modern bass jig. He’s passed now, but one of his longtime friends, John Hale, now owns his company, Stanley Jigs. John told me many stories about how Lonnie had to get the skirts made, perfected the head design, selected the right hook and much more. It’s important that we understand all he went through before we talk about how Ike and I are doing it. Our process may not be easy, but it’s nowhere near as tough as what Lonnie went through.

It all starts with an idea. In our case that starts with Mike.  

When we first started Missile Jigs we were working on two baits at the same time. Mike wanted a smaller, more compact flipping jig. He also wanted a football jig that would come through any type of cover. 

We designed Ike’s Head Banger Football Jig that was an altered football design At the same time we designed Ike’s Mini Flip Flipping Jig. After much testing and changes both prototypes performed to our standards. We decided to come out with the Head Banger first because the production process was farther along. It was the better business decision at the time.  

But that was before the 2014 Bassmaster Elite at Delaware River.

Mike won that event with our Mini Flip. That was the good news. The bad news was that he used up all of our prototypes, and I do mean all. In fact, I also fished that event and didn’t have any of them for my own use. Remember the old saying, “I know the guy who makes them.” Well … 

Nevertheless, we decided to change course 180 degrees and come out with the Mini Flip first. We wanted to take advantage of his win from a marketing perspective, and we wanted to give other anglers a chance to fish with a winning bait. That turned out to be a very good decision — for us and for thousands of other guys too. The Mini Flip is the top-selling jig in our entire lineup, and for good reason. It’s one of the best and most unique jigs ever made. 

Next time we’ll talk about exactly how we put something like that together. 

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