"Bimbo Gifford" Is Livin' The Dream

By Ted Peck - January 19, 2015
Times were tight for Dan "Bimbo" Gifford back in the summer of 2012. This longtime union carpenter and laborer was looking forward to retirement after a 30 year career.

He had just 72 hours to work before qualifying for a full pension. Dreams shattered in an instant when Gifford severed his Achilles tendon and was unable to get work.

Gifford and his wife were able to survive with the small income she brought in and from a small panfish fly Gifford tied while trying to recover.

He calls his bait the Bimbo Skunk. When two anglers living 250 miles apart asked if I had ever heard of the Bimbo Skunk in less than a week it was like a whisper from the Holy Spirit. I had to find this guy.

Dan is one of three Giffords in the Cameron, WI phone book. After a lengthy conversation, he said he would put a few of the 8,000 Skunks he tied that year in the outgoing mail.

The tip from those two fishers was spot on. The Bimbo Skunk has an almost narcotic attraction for panfish. This news was quickly shared with Gazette readers in this column. Several weeks later the story was reprinted on the Lake-Link fishing website.

Fishing secrets don't remain secret for long. Shortly after the story appeared on Lake-Link excerpts appeared on the Fishing Informer website. In less than a month the Bimbo Skunk went viral.

Orders poured in from 31 different states in just one four hour period. Gifford's Bimbo Skunk is now available in 41 states. He sells to over 70 baitshops in the Midwest in addition to providing Skunks to three different distributors.

To meet the demand Gifford had to hire three teenagers and a couple of retired folks to tie his Skunks, paying them handsomely for their efforts. Since the word got out Gifford has sold over 80,000 of those little 1/10 ounce flies with a distinctive stripe down their backs at a princely two bucks a copy.

Although Gifford's story would bring a smile to Horatio Alger's face it may be far from over.

Several weeks ago Gifford sent me a few hardwater lures he has dubbed the Icy Skunk. I immediately felt compelled to give it a try. The results were spectacular. A couple of close fishing buddies wanted to try it too, finding similar success.

A couple of posts appeared on the lake-link website. Since then he has received over 4,000 orders for the new product.

The Icy Skunk has three gold beads instead of a wooly body found in the original. The new model has a tiny red thread coming off the back of the bait-one tiny detail from the original which is even more important in the ultra-finesse world of ice fishing.

The Icy Skunk has several different jighead colors. Bluegills go nuts over black. Crappies like the one with the pink head. Perch seem to prefer red.

All three popular panfish species will bite an Icy Skunk with a head of any color-so I'm not sure if they have a piscatory color preference or a certain species just happens to be cruising in greater numbers when this magic little bait floats down through the water column.

There are probably a hundred different lures in my ice fly box. Some may work as well as Bimbo Gifford's latest creation. Maybe I'll get around to trying one of the old reliables before the ice goes out.

When something works, it's hard not to stick with it.

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.