Creator’s grandfather was inspiration for this unique jighead
Collier Thornton of Baton Rouge, La., never forgot a 15-second or so conversation 37 years ago with his beloved grandfather. As a result, crappie fishermen the world over can get their hands on the deadly new Flashin Assassin.
The triangular-shaped lead jighead featuring two flashy, tinsel-type strips called mylar has a back to the future-type story behind its unqualified success even before going into 43 Academy stores from Texas to Alabama and in-between on Jan. 1, 2024. They also are being sold on his website www.flashinassassin.com.
While Thornton, 50, overcame challenge after challenge to perfect joining a lead jighead with mylar, he remains eternally grateful to the man behind the gem of an idea, the late J.B. “Pap” Holley. His grandfather was more than a cotton, soybean and corn farmer to the little boy growing up… “Pap” was a great crappie fisherman, Thornton said.
They fished as much as possible in a jon boat at Catfish Point in Greenville, Miss. Thornton still remembers one particularly productive day on the water.
On the way back to the boat ramp with an ice chest full of crappie in the boat, his grandpa held up one of his hand-tied crappie jigs, Thornton recalled.
“He said, ‘Do you want to know the secret to catching all these? They think this is swimming in a bait ball. This is what they like, the flash. That’s what they like.’”
Thirty-seven years later, long after “Pap” died in 2004, Thornton was bummed one afternoon by a subpar solo crappie fishing trip on a private lake where he lives. While trolling motoring back to shore after an unsuccessful fishing trip, he looked at one pole with a tube jig and another pole with a hair jig. He recalled what his grandfather said.
“Pap’s” words came to mind. Flash and bait ball. Thornton felt a burning desire to follow up. A single dad with three sons who visit regularly, he went to work in his house, nearly burning it down during development, which started in 2020.
“It’s been a process” figuring out how to imbed mylar inside a lead jighead, he said.
Embracing the challenge
It took sheer determination on his part and the help of friends Dana Rushing and Rushing’s son-in-law, Clay Parker. Parker, a minority owner in Flashin Assassin, assisted him in the making of the first of many molds.
“I like a challenge,” Thornton said. “I’ve always liked a challenge. It’s been neat, it really has. It’s been fun.”
First, he bought a 3D printer to determine the shape of the jighead. Later, he poured a silicone mold that dried around the jighead.
Next, Thornton used an elimination process to identify what mylar brand could be successfully molded into the jighead with a special — albeit undisclosed – technique, then located a mold maker in Mississippi. There were other considerations.
“It took seven or eight tries until I found one brand of mylar durable enough to catch multiple fish and didn’t break off,” he said. “It was a very delicate process.”
Delicate? It took approximately one year to get it right. Try powdering and baking a jighead at 350 degrees and pouring at 500 degrees.
The wait was worth it. When Thornton had prototypes, he sent samples to fishermen gratis for their honest feedback on the jighead’s effectiveness. The feedback was very positive.
That was enough to get the ball rolling for 700,000 jigheads to be made overseas and to contact both Bass Pro Shops and Academy.
“The guy at Academy got back within 24 hours,” Thornton said.
He also shared the three weights preferred by customers – 1/32-, 1/16- and 1/8-ounces.
Outfishing the competition
Do they catch fish? The new company’s future salesman, an Alabama fisherman, urged Thornton to travel there and prove it. Thornton arrived ASAP and the anglers fished side by side targeting a brush pile off a dock. Thornton’s Flashin Assassin outfished the host’s tube jig/hair jig 14 to 1 in 30 minutes.
“He said, ‘I am sold,’” Thornton said.
And that was that. Get your Flashin Assassins, add your favorite soft plastic to the jighead, cast and reel ‘em in.
How durable are they? Thornton said he has caught 37 crappie without the mylar pulling off.
“Pap” would approve with a big thumbs up.
For more information on Flashin Assassin Fishing Lures LLC products, go to www.flashinassassin.com or call (225) 279-4444.