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Bill Babler
Bill Babler

Turner Jones micro jigs

First question, first.  Yes he made several jigs and prototypes.  He made Bill Beck and I some float and fly jigs also and they were unreal for early season Bass.  Merlin Olsen was a fly fisherman and was fishing the Green River, either early 80's or late 70's.  His guide used the "New fly/jig and of course they ripped them."  Merlin immediately wrote Mr. Jones and asked if he was in need or would like a spokes person for his Micro's.  Merlin said he would be that person free of any obligation other than Mr. Jones giving him all the Micro Jigs he needed to keep catching trout.  Deal was done and a match was made.

Prior to and after Turner's passing his Grand Daughter who lives pretty much off the grid made them for Phil and a few other of their better clients.  She  ran out of materials and there was some problem with stolen molds and other equipment from Turner's estate.  Kind of a tangled web, to say the very least.

At one time Turner took a partner, a young woman who he thought was going to help him.  She immediately stole lots of written information and molds and sold them to Lucky Strike and that's how they started making the product.  Thru much legal battling Mr. Jones got this stopped as he related to me. The jigs Lucky Strike made were similar but trash, there is a bonding process that adheres the  miniscule single strand of Hen Hackle under a colored collar of shrink wrap that holds this together.  There is no tie thread or no marabou as Turner said it makes the jig way to heavy and not realistic.  Both thread and marabou add bulk and this fly is extremely streamline and zero bulk.

After he molded and painted the head and added the eyes he then added the shrink wrap and hackle body and then clear coated the head and the attaching wrap.  Multiple steps that he said had to be exercised correctly to make the fly as life like as possible.  He said it is either a newly hatched sculpin or a small minnow imitation.  He also made Sculpin jigs that the head was an identical match for a very small sculpin.

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We ended up this morning with 62 fish for 3 clients on this jig.  The fish here are extremely fat and healthy with lots of fish in the 13 to 17 inch range.

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As far as I know, Phil and Tim's Flyshop near Roaring River are the only two places that carries them anymore.

The little guys at the top of the pic are the Turner Micros.
jigs-jig-and-float-500.jpg

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This is pretty much it for them.  Phil has a fantastic supply but when these are gone that's it as the maker has passed and there has been problems with his estate and we have lost our source.

They are not marabou, the body is hen hackle and it is extremely soft.  They come in sizes 12 and 14 or 156oz and 256oz    They are the complete BOMB, and a tool that I use in my business every time  the water gets slick or is not flowing.

On flat water they have no equal in the restricted zone.

Yes they cost about half of what a bottle of power bait cost, but you can catch 50 fish on one before it goes poof.  You cannot use a forcept on them you must unhook the fish by hand.  If the water stays like it was this morning,  I have 3 clients in the morning and they will catch between 40 and 80 in 4 hrs. depending on how many they miss and how many of these lunatic fish jump off.

Fish a scud, fish a midge or fish a small marabou jig and you will not even come close to touching the numbers you will catch on this very unique fly.  It is really one of a kind.

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,I have few laying around here and there in my stuff. I’ve literally NEVER caught a fish of any kind on them. Do they catch fish? YES, just not for me.

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I'm sure they are easy to recreate. Just a ball of dryer lint, feathers, and a jig head. I'm sure that Doty could dissect and tie, he is a good tier.

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Been tried by everyone that tie including myself and cannot even get close.  Head is extremely unique and the hackle is not tied it has a colored shrink wrap that attaches it to the jig head  At one point Turner had an associate that sold the business to Lucky Strike.  They came out with a fair looking duplicate but they just simply fell apart after a fish or two.  Just could not get it to stay together at all. The bonding process is unique.

The paint is special on the jig head after your color is on it is clear coated paint seldom  seems to come off no matter how many times it hits the rocks.  The eyes on the jig are also special.

Try as anyone might, no one has duplicated this fly or even close to it ever.  Tim at Tim's fly shop tried and tried after Mr. Jones passed, but his were also a poor replica.

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Bill, I had read something once where Jones talked about cutting the legs for his micro jigs, made me think they were constructed from a tubing of some sort. Is this the same jig or did he have several types?

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I remember getting this micro jigs at Roaring River lodge back in the early 80's.  They worked better than anything else . . . . including cheese worms.  Back then they were called Merlin Olsen jigs, or at least they had his mugshot used as an endorsement.  And the cost an ungodly sum of $1.50.  As a young lad, it was often a difficult decision . . . whether to buy a Merlin Olesen jig or put the money toward a Barq's root beer and a snicker bar.  Merlin won most of the time.

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