BassWestUSA - November/December, 2009, Page 13

national report

Garland Passing

By Brent BeCker

The bass fishing world lost the second half of the innovation team of one of the most copied baits ever. Garry Garland, co-in- ventor of the Gitzit tube bait, passed away on August 25th from complications from lung disease. He was 66 years old. Bobby and Garry Garland began making the mini jig in Oregon in the early 60’s. Bobby and Garry were big fans of the Marabou Jig, which used hair-like fibers as the bulk of the bait. The main target for their fishing was crappie and other pan fish, with the occasional bass. The brothers relocated to Kingman, Arizona in the early 70’s where they began to expand their design to larger or fatter type tubes. Then the two brothers split up in 1975, Garry staying in Kingman and Bobby went to Utah. Garry started Canyon-Plastics and Bobby opened BassinMan. Bobby eventually took the business and himself to Arkansas in the 80’s. Both Bobby and Garry were innovators of light tackle and fi- nesse bass fishing ever since they invented the original Gitzit in the 70’s. Both Garlands manufactured fishing lures for over 30 years. They made over 150 colors and color combinations over the years. The Gitzit name came one day in a conversation with Lake Havasu tackle storeowner, Ed Legan. Bobby showed Ed the larger or fatter tube. Ed replied, “So, this fat one gets it?” as in gets the bass. And so that little “gets it” comment turned into Gitzit! Many major plastic lure companies have copied the bait, but there is truly only one Gitzit. The anglers that fish tube lures know that there is no substitute. Garry took pride in the fact that he used premium plastic and did everything by hand. Sure it would have been more lucrative to send his work across the border or overseas, but Garry had true passion for the sport of fishing and the art of lure making. Garry made several sizes and styles of tubes from 2 inches up to the 7 inch Tora Tube, where most manufactures have one or two at the most. As I mentioned before, the Garlands were huge pan-fish fish- ermen in Oregon. They decided to take the Marabou Jig concept and make one out of plastic. They took used plastic baits and re- molded them on to a nail to create the bait. Once the bait cooled they rolled it off the nail, took a razor blade and made the skirt or tentacles. Put the bait on a small jig head and the rest is history. When the brothers relocated to the desert, they had three quality bass fishing lakes: Mead, Mohave, and Havasu. They used bigger nails to make the bigger tubes. They continued to fish the bait on light line; 2 to 4 pound test. And they continued to use light jig heads from 1/32 to 1/8. The original technique was to cast the Gitzit out and let it fall on slack line either into cover or around boulders. The brothers had no idea the Gitzit had a natural spiral action as it fell on slack line, they later discovered that if they moved the weight from the tip to the center, the spiral would widen. Garry stated that they spent more time developing jig heads than they did the actual Gitzit. The Gitzit made it East by means of Guido Hibdon, although Denny Brauer can be credited for putting the “tube” in to ev- eryone’s tackle box. Guido drew Bobby Garland in a tourna- ment and Bobby put fish after fish in the boat. Guido took the baits back East and began winning several tournaments. Guido

couldn’t keep it a secret much longer and the Gitzit began being copied and fished multiple ways. Brauer flipped and pitched the tube in heavy cover and began to win tournament after tourna- ment. The “other” bait that the Garland brothers are noted for is the Spider Jig! Bobby and Garry developed the first twin-tail skirted jig as well. So, if you have ever fished a Yamamoto twin tail, then you can thank the Garland Brothers. Canyon Plastics is still alive and well, and housed in the same building in Kingman, Arizona. Jay Pennington purchased the com- pany from Garry in 2006. Although Garry was no longer the owner, he continued to be found in the shop more times than not. You could call him anytime and he would be more than happy to help or talk fish stories. He fished at least 3 days a week, targeting the crappie on Lake Havasu, but Garry will tell you that the Temple Bar area of Lake Mead has always been his favorite, and as a kid I remember reading Kimak’s fishing report every Thursday in the Las Vegas Re- view Journal, and more times than not, it said the bass were being caught at Temple Bar using a Gitzit. Garry never lost the love of the sport or his passion for the Gitzit. BW

November/December 2009