Rural Missouri - June 2018 - 18
The Lure Legacy
Fishing runs in the family at Sedalia bait business
by Zach Smith | firstname.lastname@example.org
Tony, Karigan, Penny, Gabe
hen it comes to ﬁshing, Tony Dixon has been hooked as long as and Richard Dixon all had
he can remember. Some of his fondest memories as a child were of a hand in making Dixon
following his dad, Richard, and late grandfather, Clinton, around Outdoors' signature
the Midwest to ﬁshing tournaments on the Bass Anglers Sportsman Swarm Jigs, seen at right.
When Tony and his wife, Penny, started their own family, the tradition and brown heads with orange bodies simremained although the quarry of choice became the tastier crappie. And on a ulate crawdads for stream anglers, and Tony says
darker colors tend to work better in muddy water. He adds that
frigid winter day about eight years ago when the slabs were bitsome of the color variety is as much about catching the ﬁshermen as it is
ing but his baits weren't holding up, Tony's idea for Swarm Jigs
"We've got guys that would rather use this blue and then you have
"I'd catch a ﬁsh and the lure would either get ripped or pulled
guys that say 'Oh no, you've got to have purple,' " Tony says, holding
down the hook, and I spent more time messing with the jigs,"
the jigs side by side. "To me, there's not a lot of difference, but grown
Tony recalls. "I didn't want to waste time freezing my ﬁngers and
men will argue it."
looking for the tackle box."
Although the jigs were invented with winter-schooling crappie
The goal was to create a solid-body jig that would handle more
in mind, Tony says customers in Missouri and around the counbites than the hollow-body tubes but keep the action of a thinner
try have found them to be effective lures for other game ﬁsh such
bait's loose and wiggly tail. Once the idea caught ﬁre and the family
as walleye, smallmouth and white bass. Bluegill, red-ear sunﬁsh
started tinkering in the machine shop owned by Richard and Tony's
and even a 9-pound blue catﬁsh also have taken the bait.
brother, Brad. It wasn't long before they came up with a set of molds
So did Truman Lake ﬁshing guide Bob Bates. Introduced to
that checked all the boxes on the ﬁsherman's wish list. Soon the Central Missouri Electric Cooperative member developed a homemade system for manufac- the lures by fellow guide Steve Blake, Bob says he was impressed by their performance before meeting Tony or becoming part of Dixon Outdoors' pro staff.
turing the jigs - including heads and hooks - from start to ﬁnish.
"As it's evolving I have buddies who start saying, 'These are awesome. I'm Bob uses the jigs almost exclusively during the spring spawn, and is excited to
try out the new bait Tony is experimenting with for
catching ﬁsh with these, what would you sell them
hybrid striped bass - one of the most popular ﬁsh
for?' " Tony recalls. "Word got out, we started makfor guided trips at Truman.
ing more and it kind of turned into another job."
"You can ﬁsh with one jig practically all day,"
Tony turned his idea into a cottage industry,
Bob says. "I was surprised how many white bass
churning out between 1,500 and 1,600 jigs per
we would catch before having to change jigs
evening. The numbers may seem like overkill, but
because they just beat them up. Kind of like Timex
as the empty racks in the shop suggest once the
- it took the beating and kept on ticking."
bite is on, it's all the family can do to keep up with
While Tony ﬁlls most of the company's online
the demand. A support services coordinator for
orders every night from the small shop in his
Lee's Summit School District, Tony manufactures
garage, he enjoys the weekend trips to restock 20
the jigs in the evenings. Penny, who designed the
bait shops in central Missouri. He hears feedback
company's logo and keeps the books, often helps
from the retailers and customers about what's sellbag jigs for retail sales with son, Gabe, while Riching, what's working or what he should try next.
ard and his wife, Mary, paint jig heads. Even Tony
Like a born ﬁsherman, he can't resist a good ﬁshand Penny's granddaughter, Karigan, sometimes
ing story and he feels both proud and privileged to
makes a game of loading the jigs into Tony's homebe part of creating a fun time for folks on the water.
made painting tubes.
"Sometimes people say they just want some"Without their help I could never pull off these
thing for their grandkids to use, and that's neat,"
orders this time of year," Tony adds. In fact, he's
already had to restock many Truman Lake area
"Once in a while I get a letter or phone call or a
bait shops more than once this year.
message on Facebook that says, 'Hey, I just want
Dixon Outdoors' baits come in two sizes - the
you to know those work awesome.' I love it."
2-inch Swarm and nearly 3-inch Bandit - and a
rainbow of colors. Many crappie anglers swear by
For more information on Dixon Outdoors, visit
chartreuse as the color of choice, and unsurprisingly the neon yellow-green jigs with black or red In his garage shop, Tony ﬁlls machined jig molds with a molten mix them at www.dixonoutdoors.com, call 660-8290727 or follow them on Facebook.
painted heads are the most popular style. Green of plastisol and a proprietary blend of paint.
RURAL MISSOURI | JUNE 2018