Bimbo Gifford Skunk is Nightmare for Bluegills

By Ted Peck - August 1, 2012
Until just over a month ago I had never heard of a Bimbo Gifford Skunk. When Dells guide Nick Olson mentioned this well-crafted #10 fly/jig in casual conversation I asked if he knew Rick Anderson, owner of the AAA Tackle Shop in Spooner. He did not.

The week before Olson and I absolutely pounded smallmouth bass in the Wisconsin River at the Dells, Anderson had me out on a pontoon boat near Spooner where we absolutely pounded big bluegills on Lipsie Lake. Anderson said we would probably catch more-and bigger-bluegills if we tempted them with a Bimbo Gifford Skunk.

Legendary names like Rapala and Mepps were once just anecdotes where fishers foregathered to rant about their passion. Fishing brings all senses into sharper focus. We who live to fish are always watching and listening, sometimes more to other fishers than to what the fish are trying to tell us.

Few men ever hear the word "baguette" until they have been hooked and played into a jewelry store to shop for an engagement ring. Before plunking down the monetary equivalent of 10 St. Croix Avid Series rods most men can tell you all about baguettes and explain the finer points of cuts and clarity.

A fisherman only has to hear 'Bimbo Gifford Skunk' once and the reference is burned into his memory. Twice spoken in seven days is like whispered direction from the Holy Spirit. Action must be taken. Immediately.

Since I first talked with Bimbo earlier this summer he has created a website, bimboskunk.com. This site gives Lake-Linkers a direct pipeline to what may be the most dynamic panfish weapon since the mini-miteĀ…or going way back-the original Pinkie jig.

Dan Gifford said he has been tying the Skunk for over 25 years, offering it to the public for almost half that long. A passion for tying flies began when he was just a 16 year old kid, discovering a Herter's fly tying kit under the tree on Christmas morning.

So far this year Gifford says he's tied over 8000 Skunks, each taking about a minute to create. All Skunks are tied on a #10 hook. Gifford makes two models and offers the distinct stripe which earned this bait its name in two colors.

The unweighted Skunk is most effectively presented with a flyrod. Gifford says it is just as deadly on trout as it is on panfish. The weighted Skunk features a tiny 1/80th ounce jighead.

A tiny bobber is a boon in casting the Skunk with an ultralight spinning rig. Bluegills simply can't resist the slow fall of this Wooly Worm on steroids drifting dreamily downward in the water column.

Bluegills prefer the Skunk with a chartreuse back stripe. Crappies can't help slurping in the pink stripe model. If the Bimbo Gifford Skunk was sold by weight it would be far more expensive than gold or platinum.

I have found great success rigging the Skunk in tandem, with an unweighted Skunk about 10 inches up the line from one with that tiney 1/80th oz. jighead.

Two bucks a copy is a steep price to pay for a tiny #10 fly. But viewed in the grand perspective of life, the Bimbo Gifford Skunk is far less expensive and much more fun than you'll get out of anything with "baguettes".

This is more than a Wooly Worm cranked out in some Nicaraguan sweat shop for 10 cents a copy. Chenille which gives this fly its name is only part of the story. A tiny whisp of rooster saddle hackle looks like blood in the water to a fish hovering just inches away.

To the discerning angler the Bimbo Gifford Skunk is a thing of beauty. Almost a work of art. To a fish, it just looks like dinner.

Panfish trips are a very small percentage of my guide jobs over on pool 9 of the Mighty Mississippi during the open water period. When the Iceman cometh most of the fins slapping the ice are attached to bluegills, crappies and perch.

It's been years since I've looked forward to ice fishing with this degree of anticipation. Pulling out of the hottest summer since '88 is only part of my hardwater fantasy.

There is no doubt the Bimbo Skunk will make that spring bobber dance. I foresee doubles on the double Skunk rig and can only dream about the Bimbo Skunk fly on a tag line above a Northland Forage Minnow in slightly deeper water.

Author Ted Peck
Ted Peck
Cap'n Ted Peck has over 30 yrs. guiding experience, specializing in multi-species fishing on Pool 9-10 of the Mississippi from Genoa, Wi. to Prairie du Chien. Cap'n Ted is a pro staffer for Lund, Northland Tackle, MinnKota, Bill Lewis Lures, Evinrude, Uncle Josh, HT Enterprises and Custom Jigs & Spins. When not guiding Cap'n Ted communicates the outdoors experience via newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and through seminars. This work has taken him all over the midwest, Canada and beyond... but he always returns to the upper Mississippi which he considers the most diverse fishery in North America. Click here for more info on Ted's guide service. Cap'n Ted's new book Mississippi Musings with the Old Guide is a personal account of his long career as a professional fishing guide on Old Man River.