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Historic Upper Allegheny River (PA) jigs
11-30-2020, 12:00 PM,
Historic Upper Allegheny River (PA) jigs
I was rootin' around  my old tackle and actually located an old "Tionesta JIG" that was "custom tied" for me by PA bait store owner, Mrs. Grace Avery .  The Averys, Harold & Grace, ran a little, musty tackle shop (1950s-1960s) along the upper Allegheny river in Forest county ( a magical place in my youth, the small village of Tionesta,PA, as it was untamed & rustic  and completely surrounded by mountains and thick forest everywhere; the Allegheny river still flowed wild then ,before massive Kinzua dam had been constructed). Anyway, Harold sold the jigs in the small, quaint beside-the-river shop, labelled as "the Home of Tionesta jigs" along with a LOT of bait, including BIG suckers & such for muskies (the place smelled it too -to me it was DELIGHTFUL!!). Directed upstairs to their living quarters (yeah, same smell!!) to meet the "jig tier", I met Gracie who delightfully tied jigs all day long in between preparing sandwiches for Harold(!!) and, as I visited to special order BLACK bucktails , was astounded to witness fresh tied/painted drying bucks hanging on dozens of lines criss crossed along the ceiling - living room, kitchen, probably bedroom & bathroom,EVERYWHERE !  The simple, basic jig construction ; Heavy ( the standard being 5/8 oz up to 1 oz ) painted (think they used red house paint!) jighead, lots of dots on it for contrast , cheap mono as tying thread, and VERY thick(beyond just FULL),long,  bucktail ( mine was special, but most were tied in either white or yellow bucktail only, and actually much thicker and longer than my black bucktails!!) . Must have been tied to last, tho, as mine is 50 years old and still in great shape! Probably most guys tossed them with heavier  ole fashion bait-casting reels & broomstick fiberglass rods of the era. But articles in PA fishing magazines of the day called these jigs "shaving brushes" due to their size & thickness & look similar to the old time lathering brush &soap mug shaving gear! Also the mag stories often related how the Upper Allegheny anglers would go out fishing in late winter as the river thawed & was high & fast, locate swollen back water pools, and casually took 80-100+ pounds of fish most everytime out on these huge bucktails  ! I've a hunch that much of this total tonnage was big carp & suckers that "may" not have been exactly lip hooked (!!!), but many muskies, pike, bass, and walleyes fell prey legitimately! I can well remember trolling big,deep Kinzua reservoir many years later and tossing out a Tionesta jig on a lark, just to put it on a boat rod holder & then ignore it, to cover more ground ,while my main hand held rod trolled my highly touted special muskie plug ; yep, hadn't gone far when the rod in the holder bowed over and one of my prettiest, thickest muskies ever came to boat with the T-jig clamped in his chompers! So,I'm wondering, perhaps in nostalgia , or to resurrect a proven,productive tool, if any individual in the Pennsylvania area still has any of these jigs ( 10,000s were sold in Northwest PA) for sale, or even one of the unique cardboard display cards they used? I have a hunch that these less than a dollar (then) rugged lures would be great for OBX cobia and red fish , not to mention still appealing to muskies, walleye, and pike! Bigfish Jig Jig
12-07-2020, 05:24 PM,
RE: Historic Upper Allegheny River (PA) jigs
Just recently discovered this - if anyone is interested in the old PA "shaving brush" jigs or their fantastic results ,check this vintage site of old mags - Pennsylvania Angler Legacy Issues - and read these very interesting stories : Nov '72 "untapped riches" , Nov '69 "We Came Back" , and Oct '68 Jig Jockey". Best stuff ever written on bucktail jigs!
12-07-2020, 09:17 PM,
RE: Historic Upper Allegheny River (PA) jigs
Yeah man, read how good fishing was 50 years ago !
12-08-2020, 03:58 PM,
RE: Historic Upper Allegheny River (PA) jigs
Great story, Thanks for sharing. Icon14
12-11-2020, 08:59 AM,
RE: Historic Upper Allegheny River (PA) jigs
Two other great old time jigging articles from the Pennsylvania Angler Legacy issues (online) are the Nov '71 issue "tailrace Trophies" and the May ''67 issue on muskie fishing with jigs! Some hardcore jig fishermen back then !

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