by Mark Font
This story has its origins in a very simple bait, the jig. The original Pepper Jig is the creation of John Pepper. Featuring a modified arkie style head sporting two raised painted oranges eyes, a sharp stout hook, and a hand tied skirt, the original Pepper Jig is a versatile all purpose bait.
t i m e t h e origi- nal Pepper Jig developed quite a following among Western anglers in the know. One such fisherman was Gene Covello. A dentist by profession and an avid bass angler by avocation, Covello was presented with the unique opportunity to acquire Pepper Jigs during the late 1990’s. At the time Pepper Jigs was a cottage business known for its high quality jigs and spinnerbaits. Covello has done well to honor the company’s legacy and then some. Under his knowledg- able guidance, Pepper Custom Baits has continued the tradition of designing and producing innovative quality products for discerning bass enthusiast. Today Pepper Custom Baits is recognized as one of the West’s most renowned bait companies. As a boy growing up in Denver Colorado, Covello became an avid fly fisherman under his father’s tutelage. Covello’s fly fishing centric world changed one fateful day when a colleague took him bass fishing for the first time. “After that day, I was hooked,” said Covello. “Bass fishing intrigues me, the fish are different not only day to day but minute to minute. I absolutely love the challenge.” Before he knew it Covello had made the jump from weekend bass chaser to tournament angler. Competitive by nature, Covello quickly worked his way up the tournament ladder. He fished as a professional on the FLW Everstart Western Division for a number of years. “I enjoyed fishing FLW,” said Covello. “However the de- mands of my dental practice and running Pepper made it difficult