Outdoor notebook: Top Secret Jig Company to reopen after sale; Mule Fishing offers new soft plastics

Josh Rouse
Topeka Capital-Journal
Eudora's Dylan Faulconer, right, and his father-in-law Allen Miller, of Edgerton, purchased Top Secret Jig Company from Topekan Brandon Manis in February, giving the popular crappie lure company a second-life after it was shut down in 2019.

Tournament crappie anglers across the state will certainly be happy to see the return of one of the more popular lure makers in Kansas.

Top Secret Jig Company, originally based out of Topeka, is back in action after former owner Brandon Manis closed down operations in 2019 because of a career change and a desire to spend more time with his family. The company changed hands this year, with Kansas Crappie Trail organizer Dylan Faulconer, of Eudora, and his father-in-law Allen Miller, of Edgerton, purchasing it from Manis in early February.

“I am confident Dylan will do a great job,” Manis said.

The company’s first item of business will be getting Don and Tom’s Bait and Tackle, 2108 N.E. Meriden Road in Topeka, stocked up with its products before taking individual orders online, Faulconer said. 

“We came across the opportunity to purchase it and decided to run with it,” Faulconer said. “We are super excited to see where we can take it. Brandon laid out an awesome foundation for us.”

Those wishing to check on lure availability can contact Don and Tom’s by phone at 785-861-7275.

The Kansas Crappie Trail will kick off its 2021 season March 20 at Tuttle Creek Reservoir. Registration begins at safelight, with takeoff at 6 a.m. and the weigh-in at 3 p.m. at the Wildcat Marina. Entry fee is $100 per two-person team.

For more information about Top Secret Jig Co. or the KCT, contact Faulconer at KansasCrappieTrail@yahoo.com or 913-416-3481 or check out the Top Secret Jigs Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Topsecretjigco/

Mule Fishing Supply Co.'s Donkey Tails

Donkey Tails out now 

Another lure maker with Kansas ties recently announced his jighead company is expanding into the soft plastics field with a pair of new panfish lures.

Ethan Dhuyvetter, a Manhattan native who now lives in Grand Rapids, Mich., unveiled his new lineup at Mule Fishing Supply Company on Feb. 3. 

"Pretty much all common sport fish feed on smaller baitfish," Dhuyvetter said. "Because of that, I felt a finesse swimbait would be the most versatile for all anglers whether they are targeting crappie, bass, trout, walleye, etc."

The baits, called the Donkey Tail and Donkey Tail Jr., are buoyant, elastic paddle-tailed swimbaits coming in at 2.8 inches and 1.6 inches long, respectively, a perfect fit for his ultra-finesse mushroom jigheads that range in weight from a 1/80-ounce to a 3/32-ounce. The Donkey Tails come eight in a pack for $5 and the Donkey Tail Jr. comes 12 in a pack for $5.

"The small multispecies plastic offerings on the market did not have any high-durability options," Dhuyvetter said. "Panfish are notorious for ripping tails off of plastics and I wanted to give people more value and less headaches on the water."

All of his products can be purchased online at https://www.mulefishing.com/.

In addition to being a business owner, Dhuyvetter is a popular YouTube angler with his channel Online Outdoorsman and a former member of the Kansas State Bass Fishing Team.

Mule Fishing Supply Co.'s Donkey Tail Jr. lures.