Some Lures That Really Catch Fish
Boise, Idaho — Ron and Pam Murray’s living room in Meridian, Idaho, looks like a steelhead angler’s candy store.
Spread across tables and kitchen counters are chartreuse, red and black bucktail jigs. Packages of neon pink, yellow and green steelhead bobbers are tucked in boxes ready for shipment.
The Murrays’ business, called RPM Weights LLC, is one of several fishing-lure businesses in the Treasure Valley that manufacture fish-catching rigs.
For the Murrays, their rigs come from years of personal research and feedback from anglers and fishing shop owners.
If one customer wants more black jigs, the Murrays tie a bunch.
“We are able to custom build orders for our accounts so when a customer has an idea for a product we will try to make it happen for them,” said Ron Murray.
Their focus is producing fishing gear for steelhead, salmon, sturgeon, trout, perch, kokanee, bass and crappie.
In addition, the Murrays manufacture large weights, such as pyramids, cannon balls and large sinkers for sturgeon fishing, as well as trolling sinkers and small sinkers.
The shapes and sizes of the weights are also varied and include roundhead jigs, tube jigs, minnowhead jigs, drop shots, banana jigs, darter jigs, bullet jigs, football jigs and bass-caster weights.
The Murrays, who have been in business since 2007, really weren’t that savvy about fishing weights.
They fished for kokanee and traveled around to fishing holes with their fifth-wheel camp trailer.
They were down at C.J. Strike Reservoir and came across a man in a chaise lounge with a huge fishing rod.
“We asked him what he was fishing for,” said Pam Murray.
He said “sturgeon” and took the Murrays under his wing and showed them how to fish for the largest freshwater fish in North America.
The snag for the Murrays was the expense of weights for sturgeon fishing - anglers lose a lot of weights.
They did some research and started making their own. Then people started asking them about their weights.
That was the start of RPM Weights, and they have been in business since.
One thing led to another, and they expanded into gear for other types of fish.
Their production line for tying jigs is in the garage, except when it’s too cold. Then they move into the living room and kitchen.
“I’m the grunt — he’s the brains for selling,” said Pam Murray as she tied bucktail jigs.
Now their business covers 75 accounts in six states from Washington to Colorado.
Even though the Murrays are “twice retired” from other professions, they enjoy the new business.
It allows them to travel around the West servicing their accounts and customers.
“We pride ourselves in being able to service any requests,” said Pam Murray.
Those requests and feedback from customers also have led to other innovations in fishing gear.
Their steelhead floats and weighted bobbers, for example, are manufactured with metal tops.
Plastic tops will freeze the line to the float and may break the line when a fish strikes, Pam Murray said.
One of their signature items is the chickabou jig.
They use chicken feathers instead of turkey feathers for the jigs.
“Chicken feathers open up when in the water. Turkey feathers stay stiff or closed,” said Pam Murray.
The fluff of the chicken feathers attracts more fish, she said.
Their fishing gear is in Howard’s Tackle Shoppe in Nampa, Sportsman’s Warehouses, Ridley’s stores, the Outdoorsman in Ontario, Ore., and the Riggins Tackle Shop, in addition to stores along the Clearwater and Columbia rivers and in Utah.
All Dean Teegarden of Boise wanted to do was give his wool-head sculpin fly a little more action to entice giant trout at Silver Creek.
Back in 2000, he kept trying to figure out ways to make a clear plastic disc to go on the line in front of the fly to make it wiggle.
After experimenting with cutting out pieces of the bottom of the cups on disposable contact lens cases and using the stems from the sprayers on cans of WD-40, he came up with his ActionDisc and caught the big ones.
He established his company, WiggleFin Tackle LLC, in 2001 and says ActionDiscs now have a proven track record for more than 13 years.
They have been sold all over the world in those years and are popular with salmon anglers in Alaska and as far as Sweden and even with anglers in the South jug fishing for catfish.
The business is Web-based at wigglefin.com, but Teegarden also supplies 20 dealers across the Northwest and five internationally.
ActionDisc was first intended for, trout, but Teegarden has found that it is being used for salmon, kokanee, pike and even tarpon.
He’s planning a larger saltwater version to come out next summer.
It’s all about wiggle.
When an ActionDisc is put in front of a fly or soft plastic lure, it creates an action like “a stop sign fluttering in a hurricane wind,” Teegarden said.
“It just makes the lure go all over the place,” he said, as he recalled a 10-pound trout he caught at Henrys Lake with a fly and ActionDisc. “It’s phenomenal.” Teegarden says he has been a fishing nut since he was a kid growing up in Bozeman, Mont. He moved to Meridian in 1978 and graduated from Meridian High School in 1982.
He was an art director and a freelance artist in the advertising business for about 15 years, but had to quit four years ago to devote all his time to WiggleFin.
Now WiggleFin is a family company that he runs with help from his folks, wife Kirsten and three sons.
“It’s turning out to be kind of like a Fish Dynasty thing,” he said.
Teegarden kept tinkering, even after ActionDisc, and came up with the Swarm Flasher System. It’s an inline flasher for salmon, trout and kokanee. He introduced the rig last summer and said it’s catching big fish.
“This is the first flasher ever designed to accurately and naturally represent a group of feeding fish,” he said.
Teegarden explained that with many traditional flashers, the fish are attracted to the flashers, but when the fish approach the lures, they are scared off at first.
He believes the natural silhouette of the blades on his flasher system more naturally represents feeding fish and attracts larger fish.
His flasher system has proved popular for kokanee fishing in waters from the Sacramento, Calif., area to Wyoming’s Flaming Gorge Reservoir.
Teegarden’s sales are Web-based with sales all over the world, even in countries like the United Kingdom and Hungary. His gear also can be found at Howard’s Tackle Shoppe in Nampa.
He knows his lures work because he has tested them out on local waters. He frequently catches stringers of trout at Mountain View and Sheep Creek reservoirs trolling his flasher system with flies from his 18-foot fishing boat.
That makes him excited about the business.
“I enjoy the challenge of designing innovative fishing tackle from scratch,” he said.
Alan Greenhalgh of Meridian is an avid fisherman and dreams a lot about fishing.
One of his dreams came true with the start of his business, called Kokabow Fishing Tackle LLC, in Meridian.
Greenhalgh was never satisfied with the quality of tackle being produced and sold to anglers.
“Most kokanee and trout fishing tackle is manufactured in foreign countries with plastic beads, poor-quality hooks and a non- brand named line,” he said.
While on a business trip in 2006 and after years of being dissatisfied with poor-quality tackle, as well as low kokanee catch rates, Greenhalgh came up with the idea for his fishing gear.
“I went to sleep with fishing on my mind,” he said. “When I woke up I had a vision of what was needed to create a unique quality kokanee spinner.” He talked to his older brother about the dream, and his brother told him to write down his ideas and find all the components necessary to build a spinner.
After finding the components in craft and tackle stores, Greenhalgh took his first spinner out for a test run.
“My hit and catch rate increased four to one,” he said.
Not knowing if it was a fluke, he went out several more times, each time being just as successful.
Greenhalgh said other anglers started to notice and would ask what he was using.
“Like most fishermen, I was hesitant about sharing my secret, and for years I only shared it with my family and close friends,” he said.
When he started dating his wife, Wendi, Greenhalgh told her if they were going to continue to date, she’d have to enjoy fishing just as much as him, or at least tolerate it.
Now they catch stringers of fish together, and for his birthday in March 2012, Wendi presented him with a white envelope that included a business license and the paperwork to start Kokabow Fishing Tackle.
The business name is a combination of kokanee and rainbow.
Sales began in July 2012, and now the company serves Cabela’s and Sportsman’s Warehouse and will be in Bass Pro Shops in April.
The gear is sold in nine locations throughout Idaho and Utah, including Howard’s Tackle Shoppe and Larry’s Sporting Goods in Nampa and Pennywise Drug in Caldwell, Tackle Tom’s in Cascade and Turners Sports Fair in Boise.
The manufacturing is done in Meridian with the help of family members.
Greenhalgh said his primary purpose is to manufacture a unique spinner series that offers outstanding craftsmanship made in the United States, utilizes brand-name components and is a proven fish catcher for anglers.
Kokabow spinners are double-snelled with two Gamakatsu No. 4 Red Octopus hooks, two crystals, hand-blown glass beads with a reflective coating, hand-polished willowleaf blades with holographic tape, a Clev-R-Clip Clevis, and Maxima 12-pound-test line.
The Clev-R-Clip Clevis allows anglers to change blade color in a matter of seconds. It is designed so an angler can slide the line out of the clevis clip, insert a new blade and slide the line back into the clip.
The system allows anglers to change the color or the size of the blade without untying the line.
Greenhalgh’s color combinations are designed for various weather conditions, from cloudy to sunny days.
He said darker colors are used in the early morning, when there’s little sun, or in cloudy conditions.
The combinations of gold, silver, red, pink, white, chartreuse and yellow are used on sunny days.
Greenhalgh said the names of his spinners “are a reflection of nature’s best fishermen, which are birds of prey.” They include Osprey, Eagle, Black Eagle, Hawk, Raptor, Talon, Harrier, Harpy, Kingfisher, Blue Heron, Merlin, Kestrel and Falcon.
Greenhalgh has seen his spinner series become what he calls “the go-to favorite” across the Northwest, for not only kokanee and trout but coho salmon, walleye, bass, catfish, crappie and perch.
“There’s a sense of pride in knowing that our design and craftsmanship is being successfully used among fishermen throughout the Northwest and western Canada,” he said.
The business also offers the Greenhalghs a chance to talk with and create friendships with anglers throughout the Northwest.
He gets comments on his blog from trout and kokanee anglers all over Idaho, and walleye fishermen as far away as South Dakota.
©2014 The Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho)
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