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In 1934 Eddie Wigston, an avid fisherman and shooter, started an electrical and sporting goods shop in the small Tasmanian town of New Norfolk. The business thrived and in 1960 Eddie’s son Ian joined him in the shop, followed at a later date by Eddie’s other son, Garth, and the family firm was established.
Ian, like his father, was also a keen angler and spent considerable time experimenting with home made fishing lures that were used to advantage by many similar “backyard fishermen” who enjoyed the challenge of using their own devices. Other anglers at times asked Ian for some of his lures following his successful fishing trips.
With the popularity of the TV market slowing down in the late seventies, the “firm” considered other options for the continuation of business and began examining the possibility of commencing commercial production of fishing lures.
One evening enjoying a quiet ale
The lure was to consist of a lead core surrounded with plastic and painted in various colours in different designs. The original design was a two-inch long torpedo shaped piece of lead 3/8 inch in diameter with a 1/8 inch hole through the centre.
This piece was then clamped between two warmed pre-shaped brass moulds after two sections of flat celluloid sheet, coated with model aircraft glue, were placed between the lead and the mould. The clamp was left in place for 12 hours until the glue finally set, and then it was trimmed of excess celluloid, and coloured as required by shoe dye.
A local engineer, through his experience with bullet casting, was able to come up with a moulding device to cast the lead core component in a multiple cavity mould. This was required to give sufficient weight to the lure to ensure a satisfactory depth would be maintained under the water or with the casting retrieve speed which later proved to be optimum 2.75 mph.
the two sons approached their father with a request, the result was that Eddie would allow the boys to use his old wood shed and they were able to proceed with the concept of “mass production”. This stage would have been the inception when the company name of Wigston’s Lures was initiated.
From the outset the two brothers were aware that the shape and curvature of the design were of extreme importance to the action of the lure in the water, and a great deal of experimentation was carried out to achieve the required desired action.
Likewise a name was all important; a fishing friend of the family, who had been very supportive of the concept, suggested “Tasmanian Devil”. This proved to be extremely satisfactory, and is more affectionately known as “Tassie Devil”. Wigston’s Lures have duly been granted official TradeMark registration of this name in several countries throughout the world.
Over the next few years further development took place with the plastic enclosure of the lure, and eventually the shell was made in two pieces which were then glued around the lead core prior to painting. The type of plastic that best suited the application took a considerable time to research, firstly polystyrene was used but this was found to be far too brittle, although it painted and glued well.
Experimentation with other types was carried out, including acrylics, and eventually a product was located which is still being used to this day. In 1985 the Company made a decision to do their own injection moulding and a machine was purchased and set up, the process then changed to a one piece insert moulding operation.
Eddie passed away in 1990, leaving his two sons to carry on the business. In the early nineties they decided that they needed more space due to the increasing sales demand, and relocated to an industrial location in Hobart which gave them the room they needed to expand the facility.
The current range of colours is varied, and with at last counts over ninety variations and six sizes; Tasmanian Devils suit all types of fishing. A more recent development is the dual depth lure, which can be set to run at 2.2 or 3.3 metres, ideal for trolling and getting to where the fish are.
The action of the Tasmanian Devil gives a positive pulsing rod tip movement as a visual guide to the angler that the lure is performing correctly in the water. Should the action cease, this is an indication of weed or similar fouling of the hook.
Market acceptance in fishing tackle is largely supported by word of mouth and as one angler greets another, the inevitable question arises “what are they biting on?” The Company motto, “they bite like the devil” perhaps is justified by the fact that a successful angler naturally likes to boast about his success and of course what he is using to entice the fish to bite.
In fact, the biggest ever brown trout taken on a Tasmanian Devil set a new a record for“Down Under”.
Today the company is going through further developmental stages by looking at the international market and will be out their vying with the best of them; one of the major advantages of the Tasmanian Devil lure is their fishability — highly successful in salt or freshwater locations. The Tasmanian Devil lure has come a long way since it’s early beginnings in a shed in a backyard in a small Tasmanian town, the magic lure from Down Under.
The company is also actively seeking representation in North America and would like to hear from any major distributors who would like to form a partnership. The range of Tasmanian Devil lures has been hot amongst Aussie anglers for many years, and their reputation is starting to spread to other parts of the world. Contact Garth Wigston or Harvey Taylor phone +61 3 6273 4744; wigstonslures.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Tasmanian angler Trevor Wright managed, after a short battle, to land his biggest trout and also one of the largest ever taken in Australia, fishing on a small river on the outskirts of Hobart. I saw that fish at the recent Las Vegas ICAST show this summer, and met up with the folks spinning out the spoons. And it was a monster. Wright caught the lunker on the Xmas Tree model No. 51, which is successful in snaring both brown and rainbow trout.
Garth Wigston, Managing Director of Wigston’s Lures, said “I am most impressed with the fish and also how Trevor eventually managed to land this monster. It weighed in at 27 pounds and will be one catch he will never forget.”
BOCAS GRANDE DE MEXICO
I recently spoke with the California State Parks folks, and the Delta region of San Francisco Bay is going to get the largest funded revitalization of any project in the United States, bigger than the Everglades. And surprise, surprise, the Delta region is rated #3 for bad-ass big bass in North America, with February and March peak spawning and spincasting seasons. Flip your jigs and worms in the tule banks and maybe you can catch something as big as the new record set in 2002 — 18 pounds.
Wait until after the revitalization!! And California has a new National Park — Big River, surrounding Mendocino on the North Coast. The former logging property has never been fished heavily, and it is an excellent estuary for free roaming salmon!
BACK TO BONEFISH SCHOOL
I came across a unique company at ICAST in Vegas, called Fly Fishing Videos Magazine, but they also develop DVDs for fine tuning your saltwater fly casting with some new secrets. Thought you knew everything about bonefishing? Ha!
On the North American Continent, it is official — Mexico has some of the best and biggest largemouth bass fishing anywhere. Lake El Salto, in Sinaloa, Mexico, offers the best bad-ass bass fishing from October through December. The best bait? Ten inch worms, large soft jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, deep diving crankbaits, and guess what I am going to add to that lineup? Yup, a Tasmanian Devil. Recently an 18-1/2 pound largemouth bass was caught in the lake.
Further down into Mexico is Lake Aguamilpa in Navarit is another hot spot. Best time for largemouth here is the same season as El Salto, but with January and February totally awesome. Aquamilpa is rated the #2 lake in North America for largemouth. This high mountain lake sees on a regular basis eight pound bass caught on plastic worms.
Professional instructors guide you on the DVD; you will learn single haul, double haul, flies, lines, lures, reels, bonefish, tarpon, sailfish, and redfish, plus tying the Crazy Charlie. All within a two-hour info packed interactive graphics and videos.
DVD menus allow you to pick and choose what to watch and in what sequence. Watch Steve Rajeff teach the double haul, then switch to Billy Pate with double haul secrets. It is wonderful.
This is the best saltwater instruction you could find anywhere, with fishing celebs like Billy and Steve, Jamie Dickinson, Bob Hyde, and Jake Jordon. Billy Pate has had over 20 flyfishing world records, so you are learning from masters. I liked the bonus section: Fly Tying the “Crazy Charlie”, with well-known Florida Keys guide and expert fly tyer, Lenny Moffo. Also view some wonderful underwater permit sequences.
Wait for the new remastered version of Bonefish School DVD that will give you all the pointers online and off to make you want to head down to Boca Grande, Florida in late April or early May to late June for some breakaway jigging. Fish for spring tarpon as well in Boca Grande Pass, but not until after you have viewed your Bonefish School DVD, with some other great pointers on flats fishing.
For a full line-up on fly fishing, tying and baiting, contact Fly Fishing Videos Magazine (will the name change to DVDs soon to reflect more people buying DVDs than videos?). Call them at 800/327-2893. They have the most amazing catalog of educational fishing resources I have ever seen for fishing, including remastered fishing shows once aired on the Outdoor Channel. Find them on the web at www.ffvm.com They have a new series on travel destination coming out soon also, and we will review those DVDs in the future.
Picnic at Ascot has created a new era of outdoor style with their unique picnic baskets and luggage. Everyone loves a picnic, and with the innovative European-styled and English manufactured gear, you can have a bon appetite moment in the wilds with charm and grace. Eat with stainless flatware and dine on Italian ceramic plates. Keep liquids hot or cold in the stainless steel flask; bring along the wine in the convenient insulated wine holder; slice the brie on a wooden cheese cutting board. Click here for picnic gear.
Picnic at Ascot carries the English tradition throughout their backpacks and wicker picnic baskets, with all the handy items needed for a picnic, fishing trip, or outing to the city park. You never have to wonder where things are; they are packed tightly and conveniently. Each backpack in the Hiker or Adventurer lines offer efficiency for two, for four, or more picnickers.
Each bag has a thermal insulated compartment to keep food fresh. They also construct coolers and bags just for wine and cheese aficionados. The latest addition is the Golf Backpack with a day cooler and, “Eureka” — a pocket for the cell phone and a golf bag clip.
Their new French Provincial Waverly Toile bag offers coordinated denim with a Gallic flair. Designed for two or four people with a thermal shield system with brass buckles, snaps, and pulls (zippers). The bottle pouch is detachable. Viva la France on the French Riviera with this haute couture fashionable bag.
The Beetle Cooler kind of looks like a bowling bag and also offers as all bags do, all the essentials for fine outdoor dining. More people go to the beach each year than any other destination, and I am no stranger to the strand myself, so when I noticed Picnic at Ascot’s redesigned Beach Sports Backpack I had to have one. It comes in Royal Blue or Bright Yellow with food and drinks carried in the bottom compartment, with the mesh upper layer a parent’s delight for beach towels (gritty and wet on the return), swimming suits (soggy and sandy), and suntan lotion (greasy and messy). You can place the Serengetis in the side pockets. The design is great for rollerblading or cycling on the beach. What a wonderful tote bag. Get your Cool Coolers here.
Another new item is the Lunch Pack.
Keep your sandwiches fresh and tasty and close at hand for the office or on the road. Really made for one, or two diners, the Lunch Pack even comes with utensils, napkins, and beverage holder. Use this bag in combination with other Picnic at Ascot products.
For the serious picnicker, the Deluxe Cooler on Wheels is constructed of high quality canvas, and offers a setting for four. The detachable setting pouch makes it convenient to separate the dinnerware from the cooler. Place settings include melamine plates, acrylic glasses, stainless steel knives, forks, and spoons, corkscrew, bottle opener, cutting board, cheese knife, salt and pepper shakers, and napkins.
One thing I missed and I had to add to my cooler was a can opener. You can take the entire cooler to the beach or park for the gang, or detach the utensil pouch and carry it like a briefcase for smaller outings, but with all the necessary essentials. Picnic at Ascot baskets are so perfectly designed, that they won the prestigious NASFT award for best non food specialty item at the Fancy Food Show. I know I never go anywhere anymore with out my wonderfully designed gear. The cool folks at Picnic at Ascot must go on a lot of picnics to dream up these new features. That’s my idea of a dream job.
— By Kriss Hammond, Editor, Jetsetters Magazine.