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Our Brand Pros Staff


Bob Gillespie, CEO of Custom Jigs

Bob Gillispie purchased Custom Jigs & Spins from Walt & Poppee Matan in 1997. An avid fisherman, Bob had always dreamed of owning his own tackle company and now he has five! Before purchasing Custom Jigs, Bob purchased The Worm (formerly Chuck’s Worm) in 1992. He added Double “00” Lures’ Flu-Flu line of jigs in 2004 and in 2006 started up Vertiglo Tackle. Finally, in 2008, Bob purchased the B-Fish-N Tackle Company, which will solidify the Custom Jigs & Spins brand and its subsidiaries as a major force in ice fishing and open water fishing lures.

Bob’s philosophy is simple: “If we continue to offer the highest quality tackle that catches fish, we will have a successful business for many years to come!”

Custom Jigs & Spins’ lure division wants to hear from you. Drop us an e-mail, visit us on Facebook or send us a photo of your great catch on our lures!


JP Bushy, fishing proJP Bushey has spent a lifetime fishing all over north-central Ontario, from The Great Lakes to the Canadian Shield. Big water is his forte and JP’s sons will make four generations to call Georgian Bay their home. He also fishes Lake Simcoe, Lake Nipissing, the Bay of Quinte and dozens of inland lakes. A former fishing guide, active outdoor writer, educator and seminar speaker, he maintains “teaching anglers to get better will always be the juice, for me. And helping people improve their fishing success is something I’ve always got time for. Be it on paper, the Internet or at a retail appearance, I love seeing people get fired up about fishing and the strides they’re making as anglers. Any role I can play in that will always be my biggest reward.”


Luke Haugland, Fishing ProDuring his youth, Luke Haugland was an ice fishing fixture on Iowa’s Lake MacBride. After several years of fine-tuning his fish-catching skills on MacBride and others and he became a field tester for Custom Jig & Spins.

Since those formative years, Haugland has traveled throughout the Midwest in search of trophy fish through the ice, and, today continues to design baits and other products that allow anglers to catch more fish. He is adamant about teaching the next generation of anglers how to fish as well enjoy every aspect of the sport, including the importance of selective harvest to ensure a positive fishing future.

Haugland has appeared on many TV shows, including “Midwest Outdoors” and “In-Depth Outdoors.” He has been the subject of many articles, and has written extensively for Midwest Outdoors Magazine,,, and



Kevin Fassbind, Fishing ProKevin Fassbind is a year-round tournament angler, targeting bass on open water and panfish through the ice. Kevin has made a total of 12 Wisconsin Bass Federation and Wisconsin BASS Nation State Teams, including being crowned 2009 State Champion. Among his accomplishments, he won the 2006 state Mr. Bass tournament. Kevin has also earned “Team of the Year” status five times in team tournament trails. On hardwater, Kevin and his ice fishing partner Nick Smyers have seven Top Three tournament finishes since they began fishing the NAIFC in 2010, including a second and third place finish in the last two NAIFC National Championships. The team has also earned second place Team of the Year honors for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. When Kevin isn’t fishing competitively, he’s instructing other anglers how to find and catch more fish.


LOREN KEIZER, fishing ProLoren took up fishing at a later age than many, but since he was “hooked,” he has made quick work of becoming an expert in the field. Over the years he has surrounded himself with a core group of great anglers, guides, and professionals who taught him the finer points of angling, ice fishing in particular.

Living in the “Heart of Lakes Country” in Detroit Lakes, MN, allows Loren to spend countless hours on the water fishing, learning and teaching others to enjoy angling and everything that goes along with it. One of his greatest joys is teaching others to fish, especially his boys Lucas and Caleb. He hopes that they can develop a love for fishing and the outdoors like he has.



Russ Maddin, Fishing ProRuss Maddin has been a fly-fishing guide in Northwest Lower Michigan since 1995. In fact, teaching others the art of angling has been this Traverse City, Michigan, resident’s only job—ever. And it’s from his fly-tying vice that some of the most innovative and advanced flies have come to creation.

But when the Great Lakes State’s frigid winter envelopes rivers and lakes in ice, Maddin’s passion (and we mean passion) turns to ice fishing. From hefty panfish to huge trout and salmon as well everything in-between, Maddin uses all makes and models Custom Jigs & Spins baits. “I have been tying Custom Jigs & Spins’ lures to my line since the very first day I started ice fishing, and they have been a staple in my tackle totes ever since.”


Ty Macheledt, Fishing ProGrowing up in the heart of Otter Tail County, I was blessed to start fishing at a young age, and became a third generation guide in our family. My passion grew as I got older and I started to take clients fishing in the summer. But ice fishing has always been my favorite! Now I live and work in South Central North Dakota, fishing the prairie pothole lakes. Whether it’s chasing trophy perch in a small slough, or walleyes, pike, or crappies on bigger waters, I live to take others fishing and teach them what I have learned from my years fishing. I’ve been a CJS fan since day one ’cause their baits flat-out catch fish.


Chekai Matan, Fishing ProChekai is a man of many faces ... all of them have beard, hat and glasses! He operates a small Chekai factory in Lepoglava, Croatia, where his Tungsten Heavy Metal ice jigs are fabricated by local craftsmen and craftswomen and shipped to America to Custom Jigs & Spins via hot air balloon, just in time for excited fishermen!

“Chekai is always be movies buff. With newest lapstop computer, TRS-180, Chekai watching all classic movies. Stars War and Wizards of Oslo, are Chekai’s favorites! So Chekai decide why not make it small episodes of classic movies with me, Chekai as star and rest of Custom Jigs crew for helpers? I think we did good jobs!”

So, a new collection of Custom Jigs & Spins “Great Moments in Cinema History” commercials has been released. Watch for them on MidWest Outdoors TV and you can find a link to them from website and YouTube. There are eight vignettes in all covering the classics!


Poppe & Walt MatanIn 1989, Walt & Poppee took over Custom Jigs & Spins and operated for about 8 years, taking it from a small basement operation to the manufacturing juggernaut it is today.

When they realized that they needed a “face” for the company—rather than hire an ad agency—Walt & Poppee decided to teach and promote ice fishing on their own. The only problem was, that they had never actually gone ice fishing. Since then, Walt & Poppee educated themselves and millions of ice anglers; having had nearly 1,000 articles on ice fishing published in various publications such as Midwest Outdoors and Fishing Facts. They’ve also appeared in dozens of In-Fisherman articles.

Unlike other “pro” anglers who have ghost writers, Walt & Poppee are proud to have written all of their own articles and provided their own photography.

Along the way, the duo has appeared in dozens of Midwest Outdoors TV episodes and several episodes of In-Fisherman TV. Their crazy antics are well known in Custom Jigs & Spins’ many zany commercials over the years … which they starred in and directed!

Show biz aside, they’re just a couple regular guys who love ice fishing, have fun doing it, but enjoy helping viewers and readers become better fishermen, too.

Walt & Poppee are still on staff at CJ&S, developing new products. Their designs have changed how ice anglers fish. The Ratso and Shrimpo challenged the necessity of live bait; Gill Pills and Diamond Jigs made precision panfish jigs the norm for every angler; they introduced two-tone glow finishes via the Demon; and their Chekai and Majmun jigs have made super-premium Tungsten affordable and available to all! And last we heard, Walt and Poppee are already beta-testing awesome new bait designs for next year!

Walt’s personal World Record achievement includes a C&R 38” flathead cat on 2 lb. test ... Poppee’s biggest achievement is still having his son by his side, doing what he loves fishing!


Grant Prokop, Fishing ProI feel blessed to have grown up in the land of 10,000 lakes, where I have opportunities to explore new waters every day! The thrill of exploring new lakes and finding hidden honey holes has fueled my passion even further for ice fishing. With over 1,000 lakes in Itasca County alone, I’ve spent a lot of time attempting to master the art of fooling finicky bluegills, crappies, walleyes, and trout in Northern Minnesota’s inland lakes. I stay on the cutting edge of the ice fishing industry by guiding and running my new sporting goods store in Cohasset, Minnesota (Thousand Lakes Sporting Goods). I’m a big fan of Custom Jigs & Spins—what more can I say? They just plain catch fish!


Jesse Quale, Fishing ProJesse Quale has been the owner and operator of Green Water Walleyes Guide Service for over 17 years in central Wisconsin. He is the premier guide on Castle Rock and Petenwell, having lived there his entire life. He can handle small to large groups of anglers and furnishes all the equipment you need to have a great day on the ice.

Jesse catches a ton of fish jigging 4.5 mm Chekai jigs each season. He is also a big fan of the RPM and Slender Spoon for crappie, white bass, walleye and catfish. You will learn how to effectively fish these lures if you fish with Jesse.

Besides guiding, Jesse has fished tournaments for over 20 years, including the MWC, RCL, WWA, WATT, Team Extreme, Team Walleye and many regional and club tournaments. “Through all of these experiences I’ve learned I enjoy teaching other outdoorsmen techniques that make them more successful anglers and hunters.”

Whether open-water or ice, Quale is sought after for his fish-catching knowledge of the Castle Rock, Petenwell and various Wisconsin Flowage waters. Contact Jesse at


Nick Smyers, Fishing ProNick Smyers is a year-round tournament angler, targeting panfish through the ice and bass on open water. Nick and his ice fishing partner Kevin Fassbind have seven Top Three tournament finishes since they began fishing the North American Ice Fishing Circuit (NAIFC) in 2010. The team earned 2nd place in overall points standings for both the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Besides competing, Smyers and Fassbind often give presentations at seminars put on by the NAIFC, detailing their strategies for locating and catching fish.

In addition, Smyers has made five Wisconsin Bass Federation State Teams, including being crowned state champion in 2012. One of Smyers’ highest achievements came in 2009 when he finished in second place at the TBF National Championship and qualified for the BFL All-American. Nick earned his way back again this year and will be taking another shot at the TBF Living the Dream package.


Reed Ylitalo, Fishing ProI call myself very fortunate to have a great wife who supports me in chasing the dream of a young professional hunting and fishing guide. I strive to call in waterfowl and put the fish under my clients whether we are in the boat or standing in the ice. My goal every day is to provide my clients with a trip of a lifetime! Along the way, I’ve been blessed to work with Custom Jigs & Spins products. They continue to catch fish trip after trip! Some of my go-to baits are Custom Jigs & Spins’ tungstens, like the Chekai and Majmun. When fishing shallower, I’ll turn to the ’Gill Pill or small Demons. From big ’gills to crappies to walleyes and pike, there isn’t a species or bait category missing from CJS! And for open water, B Fish N Tackle makes wickedly-good plastics, H20 Precision Jigs are a staple in my fishing arsenal! Contact Reed at


Mike and Erin GateMike Gate is owner/operator of Sunset Cove Resort and Gate's Bait on Lake of the Woods. He has been guiding since the age of 13 and he knows waters well. Besides running a 4 season resort, fishing, hunting, flying bush planes and raising his family, Mike can be seen on many episodes of Outdoor Bound Television.

Mike along with his wife, Erin, welcome you to Sunset Cove. It is a 'year round resort, with fantastic ice fishing in the winter. It is here when crappie, perch, walleye and lake trout put on the feed bag and Mike is ready with an arsenal of Custom Jigs & Spins lures to tempt them. You can find more info on Sunset Cove Resort at or on facebook: Mike Gate or Sunset Cove Resort & Gates Bait


Papa Karl has been living along the shores of the Mississippi River all his life. This river rat follows walleye, catfish, white bass, bluegill and crappie as the seasons change. A retired pharmacist, Papa Karl follows his son-in-law and CJS owner Bob Gillispie along on most ice fishing and open water adventures as his personal medicine man.

Karl prefers to ply the hardwater of the Mississippi River backwaters and small ponds in Iowa and Illinois above all else. He is also a big proponent of the Flu Flu and uses it year round for all species, especially walleye. Look for Papa Karl on the Custom Jigs & Spins youtube channel!


Bret Alexander, Fishing ProDriven by the passion to help his customers experience some of the best fishing Wisconsin has to offer, Bret ensures that the needs of his customers are met on every trip.

Bret works with his experienced staff of reputable guides to help make your next guide trip a smashing success. Each one of our guides works personally with any given fish house to ensure customer service is at the forefront.

With an intimate knowledge of Green Bay including the Door County area waters, the Fox and Menominee Rivers and the surrounding area waters, Ice Fish Green Bay has multiple bites dialed-in at any given time, for several different species of fish. Working with a network of guides, Bret knows where the bite is hot even before the day begins. Bret excels at teaching new techniques to novice and expert anglers alike. He welcomes the opportunity to share his experiences with others and to continue to build his field of knowledge each day. Knowing how to adapt to conditions often means the difference between no fish and a limit.

With top of the line electronics and equipment, Bret constantly monitors for changing conditions and makes adjustments accordingly. As a true four season, multi-species angler, Bret has the expertise to get his customers on trophy sized fish of most any species that swims in the Bay, including trophy walleye, lunker smallmouth, giant pike, huge muskies, tasty perch and whitefish, trout and salmon and even monster sturgeon. Whether in the boat or on the ice, most days you can find Bret wearing a smile, catching fish and having a good time somewhere on the water. Bret’s easy going nature ensures a fun day on the water for everyone.

As a devoted husband and father, Bret enjoys introducing more families and children to the tremendous sport of fishing. He also welcomes the opportunity to assist seasoned anglers in their quest for a trophy fish.

In this regard, Alexander Sport Fishing has been featured in national publications, such as In-Fisherman Magazine, as a leading source of fishing information in the area. Bret is pleased to be among the top guides in the region selected by John Gillespie, In Fisherman, Fishing the Midwest with Bob Jensen, Legends of the rod and reel, Mid West Outdoors, Kent Herbeck Outdoors, Northland Adventures, Keys Outdoors, and Discover Wisconsin for there programs.

Your ice fishing guide trip will be comfortable, fun, and loaded with big fish. Ice Fish Green Bay has great sponsors which equals; warm heated Frabill shacks to fish out of, power ice drills to get to the fish fast, Vexilar Flashers to fine tune the exact presentation, and quality rods and reels when it counts the most.

All you need is a good "fish" attitude, and leave the rest up to us!

Captain Ken Poludnianyk (Wisconsin)

Captain Ken PoludnianykKen is the owner/operator of Jack’s Charter Service, which has established itself as Lake Michigan’s premier charter fishing service. We have been fishing the waters off Milwaukee and Racine Wisconsin for years. It is always my goal to provide a safe, fun, enjoyable and of course successful day on the water. As a full time USCG licensed charter captain and licensed guide I will give you 100% on every trip as it is my reputation every time I leave the dock. I understand that my business depends on my reputation to provide a memorable experience for each and every one of our guests.

We fish for Salmon and Trout on a 36 foot Tiara out of Milwaukee and Racine Wisconsin on Lake M ichigan. We also fish for Walleye out of Green Bay Wisconsin and Escanaba Michigan on our new 2017 621 Ranger. We fish 365 days a year by also guiding ice fishing tips for Brown Trout and Steelhead in the Marinas and Tributaries in and around Milwaukee. We are fully insured for all of our River Guiding, Ice Guided Trips and of course trips on both of the boats.

Ken has been featured on many Outdoor shows as well as numerous articles in publications. He has more wins and top 5 fishing tournaments than any other Milwaukee Charter. Ken is also Pro-Staff and sponsored by most of the top names in the fishing industry. I look forward to helping you catch your dream fish!!

Capt. Ken


Ryan and Katie KingRyan and Katie and Mississippi river rats who are on the water chasing walleye year 'round. Ryan grew up in the small town of Harland, Wisconsin and his passion for fishing began at the age of 4, at his grandma and grandpa Manney’s cabin in Poy Sippi, Wisconsin. He would fish for hours on end below the Poy Sippi dam with my grandpa and my father, Tom King.

Ryan now lives in Woodbury, Minnesota with his wife Katie King and their two dogs, Spanky and Scooter. He spends most of his spare time days and nights fishing out of his Lund Pro-V with a giant B-Fish-N AuthentX decal on the side!
"Katie is my best friend and fishing partner! In fishing my greatest reward is getting other people out of their element and into the elements, and watching the excitement on their face as a big fish comes on deck. I fish primarily walleye, year round, but also fish Muskie and salmon on Lake Michigan.

I donate my time to take a kid fishing and am a proud member of B-Fish-N Tackle and Custom Jigs & Spins Pro Staff as well as all my other sponsors. I look forward to the opportunity in helping to bring new youth members to the fishing industry with a focus on being good stewards of the water and protecting our resourcesCHRIS KUDUK (MINNESOTA)




kuduk.jpgChris Kuduk was raised in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, and grew up fishing the Mississippi River and Lake Mille Lacs with his father. Kuduk has been a licensed Coast Guard Captain since 1978 and a professional guide for over 40 years leading his clients to walleye, northern pike, perch, crappies and sunfish. Guiding is a full-time, year-round business for Kuduk who pilots launch boats and small watercraft on open water and drills holes to ice fish as long as the ice is thick enough.  In 2011, in recognition of his expertise, he was inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame as a Legendary Guide. Off the water, he can be found performing seminars for major retailers throughout the upper Midwest, making sports show appearances, and attending fund-raising events. Kuduk is currently co-host with Stan Pagel of the popular radio program, Outdoor Adventures which broadcasts each week in the Twin Cities and reaches hundreds of thousands of listeners through its popular podcast.












Cowboy Kevin WillisCowboy Kevin is a for-reel cowboy and fisherman. His home body of water is the Fox Chain 'O Lakes in Northern Illinois. Arguably one of the toughest bodies of water to fish, it has the most boat traffic of any body of water per acre in the U.S.. Kevin dodges yachts, jetskies and pontoon party barges while plying the water for walleye, muskie bass and panfish. He is a finesse expert in using the B-Fish-N H20 jigs in 1/16 and 1/32 ounce sizes on light line for walleye.

Kevin fishes the Chain Walleye series along with several national tournaments each year. Kevin has been featured on many Custom Jigs & Spins ice videos, look for him on facebook and the Custom jigs & Spins youtube channel.


Douglas Anoman, Fishing ProDoug has been fishing various walleye circuits over the past 30 years. His home body of water is Southern Lake Michigan and has a cabin on Lake Petenwell in Wisconsin. He takes large perch, walleye and lakers from the big pond each season on B-Fish-N Jigs, Custom Jigs & Spins Slender Spoon and RPM Minnow's. We are proud to have Doug on our pro staff!

Captain Kyle Tokarski (Wisconsin)

Captain Kyle Tokarski, Fishing ProCaptain Kyle Tokarski a full time guide for Alexander sport fishing and ice fish Green Bay. Kyle grew up in central Wisconsin fishing walleyes and Musky's and then moved to Green Bay to fulfill his childhood dream to be a fishing guide on the trophy waters of Green Bay.

Kyle has made a name for himself as being one of the best in the bay after only a few years under his belt. Kyle's go-to technique for giant walleyes are rip jigging AuthentX Moxi's and B3 Blade baits.

Kyle works for Bret Alexander and is his right hand man on the water. Kyle's Pride and joy is to chase trophy walleyes and muskies. And if your looking for a run and gun guide he is you guy.

You can find him on facebook @Kyle Tokarski