pushing water


Active member
Mar 23, 2010

I'm starting with this image above, as I'm loving the concept that a small company, husband/wife team (Thomas Custom Lures) from NM is doing with their jigs. They seem to understand the concept of WATER PUSH, and vibration in their well tested, colorful little jigs. First they tie in short deer belly hair, which flares much more than straight bucktail for the moving of water (which I'm always convinced  is a huge factor in initially alerting fish to its incoming presents ; ever lay on a water bed and have your dog jump on???), and then they later added a short, simple straight shaft ,online spinner to really make "noise" and flash! Yeah, Mrs. T is a genuine ARTIST, who ties absolutely beautiful patterns (for US anglers appreciation - perhaps not so important to fish!!) but this robust ,short length jig is bound to be a water-elbowing trigger!! Melissa Thomas tells me that they originally started tying these deer hair models for the big trout in northern NM rivers, and were mildly surprised that they caught the living heck out of them (just using the unspinnerd jig). Then they started adding this small panther-martin type blade on a short wire and found largemouth, smallmouth, especially white bass, plus big blue cats went berserk over it! Excites me as to use of MATERIAL / minimal hardware to create a ruckus and improved action in a jig! Maybe it's cabin fever overtaking me, another cold morn (but with sun!), but am quite anxious to try a jig set-up like this! At one time I have actually used something similar (even with that type blade) with my jigs, and it DID work great (esp early season largemouth) ,much better than overhead spinner harnesses, but being typical fisherman-stupid, never followed up on it ! Maybe a concept (at least for me!) who's time has come -pushing water in 2021!


Oct 9, 2016
John, I do like his combo of hair and silicone skirt. Will tie one soon.

I would add that the visual and vibration attributes of a lure are different between moving lures and lures at rest.
Lure profile and action on the move get a fish's attention visually and via lateral line sensitivity. If a lure is paused on the retrieve - either mid-depth or on bottom, vibration is less significant than visualized subtle motions and lure shape/profile.

Blade lures are in a totally different category than most lure types - especially subtle action types. The flash & thump of the spinning blade I compare to a loud marching band vs a strumming guitarist. Fish either love it or hold their ears (if they could). As with all lure types, there is a time to use them though many lures have a greater success used anytime fish are located.

The other factor I've found to be prevalent when choosing lures: the species and the larger the size of fish targeted allows me to go up in size and use lures that have more of everything: size, action, flash and profile. Larger fish are used to dominating the area they are suspending in and don't tolerate itty bitty trespassers. We humans swat biting insects; fish swat little fish by turning its head. But when the intruder is an exhibitionist - oh boy, look out! The fish becomes a torpedo-tracking animal bent on domination.

John and I discussed replacing the paddle tail of a swimbait using a Colorado or willow leaf blade and well as adding a blade at the end of a leader attached to a jig hook and mop or some other body.

This spring should be informative when it comes to fishing outside the box.
Last edited:


Active member
May 22, 2012
Butch Neil use to always tie in a sparse amount of deer hair as a base for a second tie of silicon hair. When Butch's store got cleaned out, I started copying them for personal use. And a few select fishing buddies. They are fish catchers.

The jury is still out for me on the spinner - the way it's picture in Sam's pix leads me to believe it would get in the way of a fish biting the lure. I would have to see a pix from Mrs T to get a better idea how she does it. An old JC member Bo pours a jig with a tail/spinner like you described, but I've never seen them work. Maybe a big ol' Greenie would take the bait? Definitely a mean musky or pike just out of spite

Then again, I'm fishing for small mouth primarily. With that said Thomas Custom Lures' deer hair jigs or special hair jigs are right up my alley. I remember Billy Westmorland writing allot about the productivity of deer hair jigs on SM


Mar 23, 2010
Ogallala, NE
No doubt hair jigs work for smallmouth. Past Monday caught a day window where the ice cap had melted enuf from a canal pool to allow open water fishing and a simple black mink fur tie on a 1/16 #6 Sickle head got bit pretty well considering the freezing cold water. Half dozen 12-15" smallies + a few smaller ones.

Altho I've caught a fair share of fish on metal flash Boolie propeller jigs especially at night I'm noticing more & more that KISS plain hair or soft plastic jigs seem to produce as well.