CARUTHERSVILLE, Mo. (KFVS) – Anglers will tell you it’s one of the best times of the year.
The weather is fine and the fish are biting.
One of the most popular places to get fishing gear in Heartland is the Grizzly Jig Company.
It is deeply rooted in family tradition, a love of fishing, and located right where it all began in Caruthersville, Missouri.
“We are the largest crappie store in the United States, bar none,” said Louie Mansfield.
In the 1980s, Louie Mansfield had an idea when he was fishing one day on Reelfoot Lake.
“I love catching bluegill,” Mansfield said. “I saw a bait and thought if I had something a little smaller on a hook… I think I might be able to catch some bluegill.”
Part of the inspiration came from his son, Wade Mansfield.
At the time, Wade was in school in Caruthersville and taking a fly tying class.
“My dad took one of the trout flies, put some lead on it, took it to Reelfoot, and wore down the bluegill.”
The fishermen on the lake definitely noticed.
“People saw me fishing with them and loved them and that’s where it went,” Louie Mansfield said.
It wasn’t flashy, it was pretty small… and it certainly created big opportunities.
“The feather (in the stencil) that color is called a grizzly, which is a mallard flank feather from a mallard,” said Louie Mansfield.
So they started calling them grizzly… and from there the Grizzly Jig Company was formed.
“The rest is history,” said Louie Mansfield.
The concert business started in the family garage, then moved to a small retail store inside the Sheltered Workshop in Hayti.
From there they operated a store in a couple of different locations beginning in 1991 in Caruthersville.
“I worked 26 years at the Caruthersville shipyard,” said Louie Mansfield.
Louie’s son Wade also had a day job at the time.
However, they both quickly learned that they had something.
So, they dedicated themselves full time to the fishing business.
“We are a destination place now,” Wade Mansfield said.
They moved to a much larger location on Truman Boulevard in Caruthersville in 2015.
They now have 15 employees, many of whom spend a lot of time shipping goods across the country.
“If it’s in the crappie industry, we try to get it,” Wade Mansfield said. “We try to have everything there is, any new technology … we have a lot of seminars.”
They hold those seminars on site in a large room designed for that purpose.
“Some days he may show up and Bill Dance may be sitting up front or Wally Marshall may be here,” Wade Mansfield said. “Jimmy Houston was here at our show.”
We suggest that Grizzly Jig might even need its own program.
“We definitely need a reality show,” said Wade Mansfield. “There are always crazy things happening here.”
They try to have fun and sometimes they have to pinch themselves because they make a living out of it.
“Oh, there’s a lot of pride,” said Louie Mansfield as he looked around his store.
Just six miles from Interstate 55, Grizzly Jig has become a destination spot for travelers and locals alike.
“If there’s a fishing rod or a fishing lure that people are asking for, we’re going to have it,” Wade Mansfield said.
As for the future, the company’s founding father isn’t quite ready to put up his own “Going Fishing” sign.
We asked him about retirement.
“Sorry, that’s not in my vocabulary,” Louie Mansfield said.
He said you don’t even have to go fishing to enjoy fishing.
“I take pride in fishing just by talking to the people who come into the store,” said Louie Mansfield.
So with that…it looks like Grizzly Jig isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
To the delight of fishermen, not only here at home, but also throughout the country.
Grizzly Jig Company is located at 1503 Truman Boulevard in Caruthersville, Missouri.
They are open from Monday to Saturday from 7 am to 5 pm
Click here to go to the company website.
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