Demon’s in the Details

Coralville, IA – Imagine, if you will, when catching fish though the ice was just beginning to become sport. It’s wasn’t all that long ago, really; the late 1970’s, to be nearly exact.

It was an era when anglers still wielded hatchets to chop holes in the frozen façade, and then lowered a crude tear-drop-style jig tipped with some sort of “meat” tied to heavy monofilament through shards of freshly-hacked ice that essentially barricaded the hole.


Many an ice angler’s rod was nothing more than a wooden dowel, nails pounded near the “handle” to wrap the line, and a screw-eye in the other as a tip top. And when the round, red and white bobber bobbled, the “rod” was jerked, tossed to the side and the line brought in numb-hand-over-frozen-fist.

Archaic? Not for the time.

This is also the timeframe when an innovative jig with a shape anglers – and more importantly fish – had never seen before came into being: Custom Jigs & Spin’s original Demon. And the flash, flutter and profile of the beetle-shaped bait, as well as its unique two-tone color scheme were impossible for any fish to swim past.

It wasn’t long before the innovative lure started finding its way into ice-angler’s everyday arsenal; that catch-and-release started creeping into our vocabulary; and ice-fishing gear started making its way towards a change for the better. Coincidence? Perhaps. But the timing couldn’t be more conspicuous.

The real fact of the fish-catching matter is the original Demon is still one of ice fishing’s legacy lures for fish of all species. Conceivably, it’s because every Demon is still painstakingly hand-soldered for the perfect hook-to-body fit, as well as being adorned with six (yes, six) hand-painted coats of high-quality eye-catching, high-gloss premium paint.

“The Demon is still the go-to lure for a lot of ice anglers,” says Bob Gillispie, proprietor of Custom Jigs & Spins. “It’s been tested through the trials and errors of time and still produces fish when other baits don’t. The Demon is the heart and souls of our company as well as ice anglers in the know.”

Lightweight D12 and D10 Demons are no-brainers when a tiny profile is needed to produce strikes from finicky panfish in shallow water. Just nip a single spike on the super-sharp hook and prepare to reel in fish. The D8 and D6 boast similar bodies but with different size hooks for times when fish get moody and want a little more or a lot less bait skewered. And then there’s the robust D4 for walleye, trout and other gamefish; it can be coupled with a whole lively minnow for added bulk and scent.

The original Demon comes in 15 different color schemes for every water-clarity condition and forage imitation conceivable, including six different “Glow Bright” tones for low- and no-light situations. And as with every lure Custom Jigs & Spins produces, the eyelets are clog free of paint, and ready to tie on the millisecond they are taken out of the package.

Okay, so maybe the Demon isn’t the lone reason ice-fishing technology turned topsy-turvy and was fully re-imagined, but it has been there since the beginning. And there’s a reason – the lure just plain ol’ catches fish.