A Follow Up on Flipping and Living Rubber Jigs

The Brawley Bass Bug, one of the earliest living rubber jigs on the market

The Brawley Bass Bug, one of the earliest living rubber jigs on the market

I recently added a lot more magazines to my bass fishing library, and as I’m going through them, I’m coming across some great historical articles. One of those I just read was in the April-May 1977 In’Fisherman magazine. The article is titled “Seek the thickest cover…Dave Gliebe’s Frontal Tactics for Largemouth On Hill-Land Reservoirs.” The story covers more than a dozen pages, documenting what are largely “the basics” of flipping, though they refer to what Gliebe was doing as “‘lever jigging’…an outgrowth of a widely used California system called ‘flipping,’ which itself is a variation of the old ‘doodle-socking’ (vertical jigging) system.”.

Of interest is the fact that to get this article, Al and Ron Lindner, Roland Martin, and Dave Gliebe all got together immediately after Gliebe and his partners had weighed more than 150 pounds of bass in a B.A.S.S. event down on Toledo Bend Res., TX. They talked, fished, and photographed everything. How does Roland Martin fit into this? This issue of In’Fisherman was the first to feature Roland as a new contributing editor/consultant to the magazine, joining Bobby Murray who had just been introduced as their reservoir specialist a few months previous.

On the subject of flipping, Terry has already documented that story well in a 3-part series , so be certain to read that great piece for all the details. There’s really not much to add in regard to the history Terry documented. What I did find interesting though in this story, which ties in with another previous topic that can be built upon, was the discussion of jigs used for the technique.

National ad for LIMBER-LEGS living rubber jigs, perhaps one of the first national advertisements? photo April-May 1977, In'Fisherman.

National ad for LIMBER-LEGS living rubber jigs, perhaps one of the first national advertisements? photo April-May 1977, In’Fisherman.

Terry recently wrote a piece on the history behind living rubber: Frank E. Hauck – The Living Rubber Connection. In that piece, the primary dates of mention about that particular material becoming popular run from 1977-1979. Here is where this particular article can add a little more to that part of our understanding of bass fishing history. In this April-May 1977 story, a living rubber flipping jig is shown as one of the 3 options available to anglers, the other two being hair and original flat rubber. What they termed as a “rubber band jig” might be one of the first national magazine mentions of the early living rubber jigs. The story mentions a jig called a “Brawley,” what they label as a west coast product that is “very regional in nature, they lack national distribution.”

The "LIMBER-LEGS" jig in action. April-May 1977, In'Fisherman

The “LIMBER-LEGS” jig in action. April-May 1977, In’Fisherman

The “Brawley Jig” was a product of Brawley Lures of Modesto, Calif. named after Wayne Brawley, it’s creator/owner who passed away on May 23, 2008. Brawley was a founding member of the Modesto AmBassAdors and an early jig pioneer, credited with helping begin things (jig fishing) out west in the 1960s. His living rubber jigs went by the name “Bugs”, and there was the “Baby Bug”, the “Bass Bug” and the “Weedless Jig” (1/8-oz., 5/8-oz. and 3/8-oz. respectively). Other lures the company made included spoons, “Baby Spins” and “Tail Spins”.

Another jig featured in this issue, and a company that had a full page ad for their living rubber jigs included in the issue was the “LIMBER-LEGS,” a living rubber jig made by Marathon Tackle of Mosinee, Wisc. Here again, this might be one of the earliest documented cases for a mass produced/advertised living rubber jig. It at least sets a benchmark for future articles or ads.

The LIMBER-LEGS came in black, crayfish orange, white and yellow. You could order three sizes, 1/4-oz, 3/8-oz., and 1/2-oz. From the pictures though, it doesn’t appear to be weedless. They recommended it for cold water and suggested using live bait, pork rind or other dressings to increase its effectiveness. Also of interest are the comments made by Al (I assume) concerning the living rubber material. He stated, “The jig is great at 55* and below. However, its full potential is still unknown. Preliminary testing shows that it may well be a lure for all seasons.” How prophetic that statement would later turn out to be.

National advertisement and order form for living rubber jigs, 6 for $5.

National advertisement and order form for living rubber jigs, 6 for $5.