David Walker’s Crosseyez Jig

David Walker’s Crosseyez Jig

I first met David Walker back in the 90’s when JM Associates was producing the FLW Tour series for ESPN.  Walker was new in professional fishing and quickly making a name for himself.

We started the FLW Tour when ESPN launched ESPN2 and wanted a competition series within the outdoor category for the new network.  They came to us and asked if we could figure out how to cover fishing tournaments, with hundreds of competitors, and make the programming compelling for a sports network.

One of the biggest challenges in covering tournaments was that it was a crap shoot when it came to getting the winner on camera. Bass tournaments are multi-day competitions and with so many people competing, it was hard to guess who would win in order to put a camera boat with them.

So we decided to create a new series, along with our friends at Ranger Boats, and design the competition format in a way that would guarantee we had the winner on camera. And that format included cutting the field of competitors after day 2 and again after day 3, so that on the final day we only had 12 boats to cover.

It worked out pretty well for us and now it’s the standard for tournament coverage on TV.  Back in those days, we would ask competitors who had been cut from the competition to act as camera boats for our videographers, and that’s how we all go tto know David Walker.

Walker always raised his hand to work with the TV crew when he had been cut.  I think he was smart to realize that instead of running home after he had been cut, if he stayed and worked as a camera boat, he would get to see the top guys finish the last few days of the competition and learn a whole bunch while he was doing that.

It wasn’t long before Walker was one of the top pros in the country.  I’ll never forget the 2001 Bassmaster Classic in New Orleans when he was leading the Classic on the final day.  He was on stage and in the hot seat when Kevin VanDam came in with a big bag.  Everyone knew it was going to be extremely close.

I was the red hat at that Classic, which meant I was the intermediary between the tournament officials and the TV crew.  I had a headset on and was talking tot he TV truck to convey anything they needed to tell the stage crew and officials and vice versa.

I was standing at the edge of the stage watching the final weigh-in and the emcee was drawing out the moment to weigh KVD’s fish.

Walker was so nervous and absolutely squirming with the pressure.  At one point he caught my eye there at the bottom of the stage and mouthed to me, “Is he going to win?”

Man, I felt terrible that I couldn’t reveal to him that KVD had the weigh to beat him.  It would have ruined a great, suspenseful moment on TV.  I’ve always felt bad about that moment, because Walker just wanted to know the outcome SO BAD.

Walker has had his own winning moments since then, and like I said, he’s one of the best pros in the world, but also a great friend to me and everyone else in the BASS family.

He’s known as a killer jig fisherman and is so well respected his sponsors ask him to design products for him.  He has a long affiliation with Z-man, for whom he designed the Crosseyez Jig.

It has all the little tweaks and details that Walker wanted to see in a jig.

“I’ve fished professionally for almost 20 years and I think a jig is probably the most versatile lure; you can fish it shallow or deep, in cover or open water.  I rarely go fishing without one tied on whether I’m fishing a tournament or fun fishing.  I helped design this one with the help of my partners at Z-Man and it has all of the little tweaks that are important to me.  It has been very gratifying to catch fish on the perfect jig for me.”
-David Walker
11 Time Bassmaster Classic Qualifier
2011 Bassmaster Elite Series Winner

Buy this print of Walker's Cross Eyez Jig

The Southern connection to the Zara Spook

The Southern connection to the Zara Spook

This painting started my current obsession with painting lures. I got to wondering how it got it’s name – Zara Spook.

I knew it was developed by Heddon back in the 50’s in Dowagiac, Michigan. Ive always loved the lure for its colors and of course, the thrill of a topwater explosion. And the name has always amused me. As a Southerner I believe a good nickname is highly valued. A little research revealed that this lure actually has southern roots.

When the Heddon company began using plastics in their lures they called them “spooks” because they were transparent…like a ghost. But what about the Zara part? Sounds exotic doesn’t it?

Turns out, if you can believe Mr Ray Sasser, esteemed outdoor writer for the Dallas Morning News, the lure was developed in Pensacola, Florida. Which might as well be part of my home state of Alabama as far as I’m concerned.

Evidently the lure was carved by a local and was really effective at catching speckled trout. Biggs Sporting Goods, which opened in Pensacola in 1917 and is now, unfortunately, a parking lot, was the place to go if you were a fisherman in Pensacola in the first half of the last century. Just a few blocks away was The red light district, such as it was in this port city, down on Zaragoza Street.

Well the hand carved lure got around for its ability to entice speckled trout to the surface for a snack leading a customer, after a particularly successful day, to proclaim, “That minnow, it do the hoochie coochie, just like the girls on Zaragoza Street.”

And the Zaragoza Minnow was born. Later on, a traveling rep for the Heddon Company visited Biggs Sporting Goods and brought the lure back to Michigan where it became the Zara Spook.

Thank you Mr Sasser for that story. It explains a lot as to why I’ve always loved this lure.

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