Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The differences between John Novak and Frank Mizera Trout Jigs

Airplane lures from Ely, Minnesota were used as fish decoys, sometimes called "cheaters" because they had hooks.  Many times these smaller decoys were designed to be used as Trout Jigs to fish for Lake Trout through the ice.  The flutter and stutter, in swooping arcs, in the water to mimic wounded bait fish that the Lake Trout stun with their tails as they hunt after slapping them... The trout circle back to snap up the wounded bait.  If they bite the cheater decoy/trout jig they are hooked and you've got dinner!

Airplane jigs come in all shapes and sizes, wood and metal.  Two of the coolest carvers from Ely, Minnesota were Johnny Novak and Frank Mizera.

Here are some pictures of Frank Mizera and John Novak Trout jigs.  Normally Mizera made fins that were not completely rounded on their edges.  His tended to have an angle cut to them.  Novak's were usually rounded until they began to get larger around the normal decoy size and then they seem to have an angular shape as well.  Mizera cut a rounded elliptical hole for his lead.  Novak usually did squared holes for the lead in the bottom.  Novak seemed to experiment with a wide variety of colors and paint styles including some examples with foil.

Mizera Trout Jigs.  Some have tails, some don't.  Most have fins that are "angular" with a "quarter circle" cut shape.

Top view of Mizera Airplane Lures.  Note the Cedar Blanks.

Colorful selection of Johnny Novak Airplane Lures (trout jigs)

Most of Novak's wooden trout jigs have rounded fins with square lead cavities in the bottom.