Lonnie Stanley does more than talk a good bass fishing game; he makes solid baits, too.
The East Texas native who lives in Huntington, Texas, home of Stanley Jigs, has been making artificial lures for more than 30 years that are good enough for the pros to catch bass on, which “makes it a lot easier for the regular guy to catch fish,” Stanley told bassfishingarchives.com in 2015.
Stanley, 71, and his long-time business partner John Hale, have done it again with their newest entry on the market, the Stanley Standup Football Jig. As of mid-May, the new jigs were just getting on the market.
“They’ll be online before they’re in the store(s), probably. Go online to fishstanley.com,” he advised.
Stanley gives the lion’s share of the praise to Hale for the way the lure turned out.
“John did most of it. He’s been with me 30 years. I have to give most of the credit to John. He started tinkering with it three, four years ago,” he said.
It’s being introduced at a time when jig fishing is getting popular again, he said, noticing the trend among the high school bass anglers who are discovering they catch bigger bass most of the time on jigs. Pros, too, once again are leaning more and more on the use of jigs, which, Stanley said, have been the No. 1 tournament bait on the market for years.
“It still wins more money, more tournaments, than anything else on the market,” he said.
All it took was a revolutionary retooling of the football jig’s head. Stanley and Hale redistributed the weight there to get the desired results. It’s all about the balance, Stanley said.
When one of the new football jigs is retrieved across the bottom and bumps into something, the needlepoint Mustad hook and whatever soft plastic trailer is on it stands up, hence the name, he said.
“It looks more like a crawfish on the bottom because the nose dives down, the nose slides across. The hook stands almost straight up. It has a lot more action with a plastic trailer. Not only does the jig stand up, but when you drag it across the bottom the trailer stands up off the bottom,” Stanley said.
“It actually works better in rocks,” he said. “Also, it’s good in the sand and silt at Toledo Bend.”
Stanley’s nephew, William Flournoy, said, “I actually have been getting John Hale to build that for 3 ½ years now. The older football jigs on the market don’t have enough on the head.”
The Stanley Standup Football Jig, he said, is everything he hoped it would be. He proved it during a stretch in May when he used it to win a Media Bass tournament and two Thursday evening bass tournaments consecutively at Lake Sam Rayburn.
“It wants to deflect off things. It creates a lot of strikes I believe I wasn’t getting,” Flournoy said. “It’s a helluva jig is all I can say about it.”
Flournoy, 34, and his buddy Albert Collins have been among the most widely known pros “wearing them out on them (Stanley Standup Football Jigs) on Rayburn,” Stanley said.
Besides catching bass on it up to 8 ½ pounds, like he did in late May while fishing with his uncle at Lake Sam Rayburn, Flournoy saw first-hand the action one of the new standup football jigs has when he worked it in a 30-foot tank. He said it’s the way the head’s shaped that makes it go.
The Lufkin bass angler, who owns companies in the forestry industry, said he “got to see the way it rocks across the bottom.” The standup feature is built in and the balance does the rest.
Stanley started making — with the help of his wife and three daughters — his trademark Stanley Jigs in the early 1980s.
While he isn’t the principal owner of the enterprise today, he’s at work daily designing artificial lures.
Stanley said he planned to take a large supply of the new Stanley Standup Football Jigs to the Skeeter tournament June 8-10 on Lake Fork. Those bass anglers should be delighted to get their hands on them.
He also has given the new football jigs to his Alabama buddies who fish Lake Guntersville and Wheeler Lake.
“I sent some to my friends in Alabama. They’re liking it,” he said.
There is the traditional weedguard, the hand-tied, metal flake skirts invented by Stanley, Don Leach and the Dallas Rubber Co.
And there’s more to it than that.
Stanley said, “One reason our jig outfishes everybody else’s is the needlepoint Mustad hook.”
Flournoy agreed and said, “Other hooks are fine for catching 2- and 3-pound fish. I lost a lot (on other football jigs) because they didn’t have the right hook.
“This (Mustad needlepoint) is a really strong hook. It’s got a little spring (flex) to it that bends a little, and penetrates into the fish. That keeps it from breaking. I’ve flipped in four in the 7 ½ – to 8-pound range.”
Flournoy said he always fishes the Stanley Standup Football Jig on 15- or 17-pound fluorocarbon line, specifically Sunline Structure FC Flourocarbon Clear.
For more information on the Stanley Standup Football Jig and other Stanley Jigs and Hale Lure Co. products go to www.fishstanley.com or call (936) 876-5900.