Every once in awhile through the blogs, social media, or just being involved in “outdoorsy stuff” you get to meet some interesting folks that do cool things. Through the Kansas Outdoorsman Facebook page – or it may have been the Kansas Crappie Fishing page, not sure – we had the opportunity to meet an outstanding fellow in Joseph Bragg via his small boutique tackle company – Flint Hills Afield & Custom Tackle.
Joseph specializes in custom, hand-tied lures, using patterns and concepts taken from his days fishing alongside his father and grandfather, who would literally tie patterns in the boat to entice wary fish growing up in Florida. Being in Kansas, and meeting us during the excitement leading up to spring crappie, we were intrigued and excited to put some of his work to the test. And for me, of course, under the lens.
I have this awful habit of seeing art in just about everything. Joe’s work is no exception. What makes Joe and his work really standout, however, is his approach to customization. You pick the size, and colors. From flash, hackle, chenille, jig heads, etc., these are tied to your exact specifications. If it can be done, Joe can – and will – create it. He’s truly an artist. But one focused on designs and patterns that gets results.
While these were created to perform – little devices designed to effectively entice Mr. Papermouth (or any other finned friend, in fact) to feed, fight, or attack for any given reason – I could not help but to want to photograph each and every one in all of their little handcrafted glory. And I did so, with my favorites in the gallery below. While I have yet to properly put them to the test on actual fish, I’ve no doubt they will do well. I’ve not really fished heavily with feather jigs since my youth, but am absolutely excited to do so, and have plans to fish them hard on my upcoming Truman trip. Expect an updated review/report sometime mid-May on how these perform and holdup. I’m confident it will be a solid and positive report.
If you get a chance, read the piece Brent Frazee put together on Joseph and his long and trying path from combat veteran to where he is today with his work, Flint Hills Afield & Custom Tackle, and how tying – and fishing – have become as much a therapy as a business opportunity. Brent had the chance to fish with Joe and experience some of Joe’s work fist-hand on the water. This appeared in the Kansas City Star on April 25.
And if you want to put something different – and effective – in front of those big slabs this spring, you might consider getting a hold of Joe. He can have a pretty quick turnaround, depending on orders. Give him a call, or catch up with him via Facebook.
Flint Hills Afield & Custom Tackle