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Jim DeZurik -or- "Jimmy D"

Jimmy D's
River Bugs

4418 Pine Point Rd.
Sartell, MN 56377

All stories are from actual Jimmy D's River Bug users.

Matt with Marabou Fly
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Matt showing off a catch on a River Bug
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Matt and I woke Friday morning to this guy in the yard. He watched us load up the truck to go fishing and just laid there on the ground.
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Matt and I woke Friday morning to this guy in the yard. He watched us load up the truck to go fishing and just laid there on the ground.
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— From Idaho to Minnesota's North Woods —

I picked Matt up at the airport on Thursday afternoon and spent a couple hour drive catching up and filling him in on the river conditions we will be faced with. With Matt being an avid fly fisherman, I told him he is in for a real treat. These smallies have been extremely shallow, pinning minnows up against the river bank, and Jimmy D's specially-made flies should work perfectly. Friday morning I pulled Matt up to one of my favorite spots, and we were greeted with several smallies on a feeding frenzy. I positioned the boat so Matt had a perfect lane to present these delicate flies to these fish. Lets just say we sat in this spot for 2-hours and watched these smallies put on a feeding clinic to these minnows and Jimmy D's flies! As aggressive as smallies feed at times, you would think they would hit anything… well definitely not always the case. This particular day presented us with a challenge, and we found that our casts not only had to be precise on the bank… but also had to be thrown downriver and slowly let the current wash the fly out away from the bank to look as natural as can be!

I only had 3 days to fish with my cousin Matt this year, but there is never a shortage of words and together the utmost desire and respect for river fishing! Thank you Matt for sharing my boat with me!

— Steve DeZurik

"Greetings from Idaho!!! Jimmy D could not have done it without you!!! Best River Bugs EVER!!! You are the best!!!

I could not have done it without your tackle!"

— Matt from Idaho; Summer 2019

Ron Horvath showing off a Walleye; Guided by Jeff Knapp from Keystone Connection Fishing Guide Service out of Pennsylvania
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Steve Gierl showing off a Smallmouth Bass; Guided by Jeff Knapp from Keystone Connection Fishing Guide Service out of Pennsylvania
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— Riverbug Tips —

By Jeff Knapp, Keystone Connection Fishing Guide Service;
Full Time Guide and Writer

As a full- time fishing guide whose primary water is the free-flowing Allegheny River in northwestern Pennsylvania, I rely on a wide variety of presentations to help my clients dupe smallmouth bass and walleyes throughout the year. One of them is the bucktail jig, more specifically Jimmy D's Riverbug.

Here, in no particular order, are some of my thoughts on using bucktail jigs:

  • Though bucktail jigs will take smallies and walleyes throughout the year, I rely on them most heavily during the spring and fall, when water temperatures are below 50 degrees. There's something special, seemingly magical at times, about how productive hair jigs are in cold water.

  • Bucktail jigs that feature a modest amount of hair, the Riverbug being a prime example, provides the freedom for the dressing to breathe in the water, which undoubtedly has much to do with its triggering qualities. You need not move a hair jig much to make it look alive. If fact, most days the less action imparted by the angler, the better, keeping in mind we're talking about cold water.

  • Both smallmouth bass and walleyes are creatures that associate with current, even when the water is cold. One of my favorite tactics is to hold the boat along a current seam, slowing its drift with the bow mount trolling motor. A properly presented hair jig can then "hang" right along this seam. It's uncanny, once you get in the groove, how you can allow a hair jig to glide a few inches off the bottom as the boat drifts along, and then feel the sharp tap of a bite from a smallie or 'eye.

  • In areas likely to gather up numbers of bronzebacks and/or 'eyes — like the mouth of a feeder stream — the same thing can be accomplished from an anchored position with the boat hanging just inside the current seam.

  • In the river situations where I most often fish hair jigs, it's a short game. Not a situation where you're looking to bomb a long cast. Short, accurate casts that drop the jig into quiet, shoreline pockets, allowing the angler to maintain peak control, succeed. It's common for a smallie to hit the jig on the initial drop. Barring such a hit, I like to work the jig back to the boat by way of short hops, a foot or so, where the jig slowly glides back to the bottom on a semi-tight line, that is if the descent is not interrupted by a bite.

  • The proper weight of the hair jig has much to do with its ability to provide just the right amount of hang time. For the situations I fish, where the depths are typically four to 10 feet deep, a 3/16-ounce jig is right. 1/8 ounce often feels too light; ¼ ounce, too heavy. A 3/16-ounce jighead is outside the parameters of most mainstream jig makers. Another reason why custom ties like the Riverbug excel.

  • When it comes to fishing a hair jig, I'm a braid guy. I like 15-pound test Gamma Torque, finished off with a three-foot section of 10-pound test Gamma Edge fluorocarbon line as a leader. The connection is made with an Albright knot. St. Croix's Mojo Bass spinning rod — medium power, extra fast action — teamed with a quality 2000/2500 sized spinning reel, makes an ideal combination for fishing hair jigs in the cold water of spring and fall.
Brady, age 14 fishing in Canada
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— 4th of July Canada Trip —

Brady, holding the huge Smallie, is 14 years old. His dad's name is Shawn (age unknown).

This was a special trip for me as it was just Brady and I only. Normally we take a trip with family in August. Those trips in August are always fun, but the fishing techniques are usually limited to trolling crank baits or bottom bouncers with spinners because casting with 4 to 5 people in the boat would be problematic.

This trip, I was able to show Brady some more casting techniques, including how to use your River Bugs. The Smallies were in post-spawn and sitting in 4 to 8' of water in traditional rocky / gravel shoreline with mixed-in boulders (the surface water temp was 75 degrees). We also hit some off shore rock reefs that were adjacent to deep water. They were really stacked in tight there. The 3/32oz. River Bug was the perfect size for this depth. It took Brady a little bit of time to figure out the slow gliding retrieve, as he was previously fishing a Carolina Rig which allowed him to fish a little quicker. I had him count to four after the River Bug hit the water before he would start his slow gliding retrieve. Once he did that, it was game on and he was catching Smallie after Smallie.

Brady put on a clinic catching 15 to 18" Smallies using your 3/32 oz. River Bug. It was a fun sight to see him all smiles with every fish he caught. You have another sold customer in my son on your hair jigs.

We also had good luck using your Swim Jigs tipped with a plastic grub tail.

Thanks for helping me make lifetime memories. The picture is Brady's FIRST ever River Bug small mouth!

— Shawn & Brady's 4th of July Canada Trip

— Log of Fame —

Each of these bugs have earned their passage to the white pine log of fame on my porch wall. That's not before some very serious battles with mighty fish. Black Beauty was the first one you suggested I use a dozen years ago. Life changing event that was! She was shelved after 60 inches of bass in three consecutive casts. 19-21-20 inches a piece. Olympic Olive has become my most consistent heavy lifter. This gal retired after murdering the walleyes while wading mid river, mid-summer. She tagged the most and largest fish I have ever seen in that area. You gained a new customer and I a new friend that day. He saw all the commotion and wondered what (not who) was kicking his behind. And finally we have Bumblebee. I call her The Switchbait. Whenever the bronzies or eyes aren't cooperating I switch over to Bumblebee and let her put the sting to em! Time and time again big fish just needed that something different to inject enough venom to strike. This particular bee confused more than half a dozen giants, the largest at 22.25" is my heaviest smallmouth to date.

Now each of these riverbugs have landed 50+ fish. They are still beautiful and could tackle another 50 more. However, for now they rest until neither you nor I can ty no more. When all other bugs are spent or retired they may get one more chance to become superheroes!!

Thanks for everything Jigfather.

— Scott S. (April 2019)

— Out-Fishing the Hotshot —

Good morning Jimmy

Yesterday I fished a quarry lake with a friend. Air temp was 50 degrees and water temp was 46°. Used my custom color jig the whole outing. The 3rd guy fishing with us was a hotshot local tournament angler. This guy makes his own jigs also, but more of a pitching style. I am not a big fan of this guy as he is way to full of himself. Fished with him once before and he kind of put down my style of fishing. Handed his ass to him that outing.

This time first thing he said was I didn't need the chartreuse head on the jig. At the end of the 4-hour outing I had 12 largemouth and he had 0 fish. My friend caught 5 on the Ned Rig. I could not help myself, but at the end of the day I said maybe you need to add some color to your presentation.

I feel he was going at it all wrong for the day's conditions… finesse fishing was definitely a better choice than throwing big heavy jigs and plastic trailers. Absolutely love your jigs, definitely fit my approach to fishing. Thank you for creating that custom colored jig for me. Again thank you and have a fantastic day.

— Your Friend, Frank (April 2019)

— Fishing Tourney Frenzy —

This was a frantic situation. Twenty minutes to go before tournament weigh in… my brother, Tony, and I make a last ditch effort and run up to a spot in the opposite direction of the weigh-in dock. Knowing we had enough time to make a couple casts at the very most. As we pull up to the spot… I run up, drop the trolling motor, grab one of my rods and make a very quick cast. While I am doing this (the boat has not even come to a rest yet from pulling up to the spot), I hear "I GOT ONE…" from the back of the boat.

I look back and see this fish jump in the air and I quickly realized we needed this fish bad, but in my mind I am thinking, "how on earth did Tony hook into this fish so quickly." So I dropped my rod on the deck of the boat (my lure is still in the river now from my quick cast). I grabbed the net and ran to the back of the boat and net this big fish.

After a collection of high fives and some slight obscenities… I hear a commotion from the front of the boat… and there goes my rod off the deck of the boat from a fish grabbing my lure. I tried to grab it and missed it. We both looked at each other and realized we had no time to try to retrieve this rod. We made it back to the weigh-in dock with a minute or two to spare… EXCITING TIMES!

— Steve D. (May 2019)

TOURNEY RESULTS: The last fish got Steve and Tony into a check cash, but they missed first place by 2 oz.