Kahle hooks have been a staple among live bait fishermen along the Mississippi Gulf Coast for years; whether fishing with croakers or shrimp or bull minnows, you name it.
Soft plastics on wide gap hooks have been the preference of coast bass fishermen since the aforementioned big-bite hooks hit the market.
Why has the saltwater angler who prefers the "thump" of a nice speckled trout or redfish while fishing a soft plastic on a jig head been left out?
There's a multitude of J hooks in every conceivable size color and shape on tackle racks at stores across the coast, but nothing else ... until now.
Last May, Dana Sanders went to Port Sulphur, La., with a group of friends on his first wade fishing adventure. What he experienced was a speckled trout bonanza like he'd never seen. All of the fishermen in the party had their limit of fat Port Sulphur trout before most of us had sat down at our desk to start the day!
They caught their fish on a multitude of plastics ranging from Matrix Shad to Sparkle Beetles. One thing that they had in common was that they were using a jig featuring a wide gap hook Mr. Charlie Bush of Luling, La., had poured.
The wide gap Mustad hook on the 3/8-ounce jig head had a hookup ratio that surprised everyone ... except Charlie Bush.
Fast forward to earlier this year.
Dana touched base with Charlie and asked for advice on pouring a similar jig head for his son David and himself. Along with the advice, Charlie sent the mold, melting pot, and enough lead to get started.
Dana and David sat down one rainy day and started pouring jig heads; jig heads they initially thought they'd use for themselves and maybe pass out to a few friends.
After they'd poured several, David had an idea.
"Poppa," David said, "I bet I could sell these jig heads because they're different."
Dana shared in David's enthusiasm and decided to survey some friends on how they felt about a jig head with a wide gap hook.
"After a little talking," Dana said, "if you want to test the waters we have a great platform to do so (on a local fishing forum). Let's put it on and see what happens."
When news of a wide gap jig head hit the web, the first 200 jig heads went quickly.
At this point Dana knew they had a decision to make; think small or think big.
"After I saw how that happened," Dana said, "I told David he had two options. He could pour a few on the side and just have fun or he could set up a business and just see where it goes. He opted to do the latter."
Within a month David, who was 15 at the time, had an LLC, set up a web page with PayPal, a Facebook page and had his own email address.
Shortly after the fledgling company got rolling David had jig heads in tackle shops from Pascagoula to Biloxi as well as a handful of charter captains using his jigs.
"My short-term goal is to get established in shops across the coast like Sea 2 Swamp (in Gautier, Miss.)," David said. "My long-term goal is to get into shops in Louisiana and Texas. I want to get my name out there."
David isn't shy when he discusses the difference in his jigs compared to others.
"What distinguishes my jig heads from others is the wide gap hook," he said. "When you compare it to other hooks, the hook size is tremendously different.
"My jigs are a lot wider, they have a big gap on it, and they don't tend to bend. It's a really strong hook and doesn't break.
"I do a lot of different colors so it's nice to be able to custom order them," David said. It gives them the say so on what color jigs they want."
He also offers different size hooks ranging from 1/0 to 4/0 on jig heads ranging from 1/8 to 3/8-ounce.
Since I interviewed David he has introduced two more jig designs, introduced more colors, and gotten into two tackle shops in south Louisiana.
David isn't your typical teenager who's satisfied with sitting around playing video games. He is on a mission; a mission to raise the bar for inshore tackle.
You can find his jig heads in tackle stores from Pascagoula, Miss., to Metairie, La., or on his website at http://davidscustomtackle.com/.