By angelamontana

Posted: February 15, 2014

How would you like to own a small tackle manufacturing business…in Montana?  Well, you can!  Here is a message from Woody, of Woody’s Lures in Townsend, explaining it all:

Not going away, just a different route.

Howdy, Howdy! As some of you may know we announced the sale of our great little company. What’s it like to be a small tackle manufacturer. Oh all the memories. Woody’s was a hobby that got out of control. It started back when I was a City cop in Livingston in 1991. Most folks don’t know, but a lot of cops fish. It’s a relaxing sport to help get away from the garbage Law dogs have to deal with.

Anyway I’ve been involved with fishing all my life, worked for distributors, Commercial fished, tournaments, Charters. During all this time I’ve always made a lot of my own lures. So as my fellow law buddies and I fished we used many jigs I had built. Well word spreads and before I knew it folks would drop by wanting to buy some of these Jigs that we were using.

So in 1992 I decided to start “Woody’s Lures”, but as a very small business to sell to a few folks and a local sporting goods store. Woody isn’t really my name but a nickname I acquired from the County Sheriff’s office and no I won’t say why.

I Left the Police Department and worked as a Reserve Deputy for Park County. Thus I began putting more time and effort into Woody’s, not full-time but more. See by this time other retailers expressed interest in my products and several great things happened.

This is when the Kokanee salmon exploded on Hauser and Holter lakes. Folks would come from all around for these fish. We’re not talking about 8 to 10” fish like in most waters, but fish averaging 2 to 4 pounds. But during the spawn schools of fish would be moving in with boats all around and no takers. During spawn these fish are just like their saltwater kin and quit eating. Enter the “Ghost Jig”! One of my Friends Tony Steffins was frustrated and was throwing everything at them. He had one Ghost in his box said “what the hay”! Very first cast BAM! Second cast BAM! You get the picture. Anyway that was the first rush for a Woody Jig. I remember seeing the North shoreline below Canyon Ferry Dam with people lined up and all throwing little white Ghost jigs. That was the clincher for me, to build something and see so many folks having fun. I’ve been hooked ever since. This is also when our old buddy Riley Johnson wrote an article on fishing for these fish using the Ghost jig. From this point on “Woody’s Lures” became known.

Shortly after the Montana Outdoor Radio Show called and asked if we would be part of the new family. We’ve been doing a segment ever since.

During all these years we’ve met and fished with many folks and build great friendships with folks like Andrew McKean (Now Editor for Outdoor Life), our own Mark Ward (The Capt), Johnny Boyd (Owner Montana Tie’em) and many others.

Many things happened as we grew, around 1994 we got away from hand molding to having them lures mass produced by a local jewelry manufacturer. But doing this we weren’t able to really build new proto-types as I wanted. So in came the newest and coolest Centrifugal casting system for mass production and Vulcanizer for building our own molds. Also why Jigs? Jigs are by far one of the most versatile lures out there. You can throw them, troll them, bait fish them, whether open water or thru the ice. They will catch anything! But they get lost easily due to rocks and snags, so folks buy more.

During all this time “Woody’s” Has been thru so many stages, even at a time of being inactive for several years due to 9/11. I’ve been a member of the U.S. Army and Army Reserve since the mid-70s. During the Mid-90s I was working long active periods with the Army. But after the tragic event both my son (Who ran things while I was away) and myself where actived, thus Woody’s was quite for several years.

Woody’s has provided a great many memories for me. From memorable fish caught on my own lures, to the many interesting people we’ve met, and knowing that folks are building memories with our product.

We’ve also put on a Family fish day every year for folks who don’t normally or never get to fish and it’s been growing and will continue.

But it’s time to let someone else take this great opertunity to do more with it. This business has so much opportunity, but just needs the energy.

So what does Woody’s offer an individual? Hopefully the same I got from it. It’s been a really great tool to learn about business and what makes a business work. Again to build something that folks like and feel confident in using to enjoy one of the most wonderful sports in existence. To see a new lure come out and say “Hey that’s cool, but I think it needs this or I can do something better.” Same with coming up with a new Idea (Those come all the time). Too visualize an idea then actually build it, test it, and actually catch something.

Woody’s has the capabilities of building any existing lure, with any component or style hook. How many times have you used a lure and thought if only it had this hook instead or a blade attached. Capable of building own exclusive molds, then able to mass produce. Also with the unique ordering and reordering system the business can be operated from anywhere in the country.

So why am I giving this up? I’m going a new and different route. First you’ve noticed the e-mail address I’m using now “Woody stiks”. Yep, we’re going to build Custom rods, not fly rods but rods for other types of fishing. Walleye rods, Flipp’in stiks, even Saltwater usable rods. Again it’ll be a part-time business, because we have other pursuits.

Two other things I want to do. First we’re in contact with several Handicap organizations to offer services to take handicap individuals and soldiers fishing or hunting. Like the Wounded Warrior Organization.

Next is something to do as I pursue my own agenda. There’s a ton of fish and game out there and I’m going to try to catch them all, lol. There are tons of normal folks out there who don’t have the income to do those cool trips always on TV or in Magazines. But there’s lot of ways to fish and hunt on real budgets, not just locally but also in other states. Especially active or retired military. I’m going try and write about places the normal Joe Blow can go without spending an arm or leg. Like where’s free or inexpensive camping, free boat ramps, Mom and Pop Hotels, etc. Also with this info what water did we fish, what lures used and best time of year.

So as you can see it’s actually going to continue being busy here, but in a different way.

I’m looking forward to helping someone get this opertunity running and then getting on with the new fun. So be safe and have fun, we’ll be back at ya. Later.

-John “Woody” Shuler * 406-266-3841 *

New Podcast!

Riley's Meats - Butte Wild Game Processing