February 07, 2020
By Ned Kehde
One of the unspoken mantras of Midwest finesse fishing is “simple and less are best.”And Ethan Dhuyvetter’s Mule Fishing Supply Company reflects this mantra as he attempts to make the angling world a tad more simple and unwasteful.
Since 2012, when Dhuyvetter was an undergraduate student at Kansas State University, he has been a devotee of Midwest finesse fishing.
Back in his college days, he studied marketing in the business school, fished on the Kansas State University Fishing Team, penned stories for Wired2Fish.com, created a tackle company called Hook Ups Fishing that manufactured hand-poured soft-plastic lures, worked 20 hours a week at a grocery store, worked during the summer as an intern for Dyna-Tek in Kansas City, owned and operated the fishingtheback.com website, and became active in the social media world.
During his college days, some of his piscatorial insights and creations were featured in several Midwest Finesse columns.
He grew up in Manhattan, Kansas. After he graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree from the business school, he began working for Hormel Foods in Pleasanton, California, in June of 2015. Hormel moved him in June of 2016 to Bentonville, Arkansas, which was a paradise for a Midwest finesse angler. Then in January of 2018, he moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he is a senior customer executive for Hormel.
At the age of 26, Midwest finesse and kayak fishing still play a significant role in his life, and some of his passions for them can be witnessed on his YouTube channel, which is called Online Outdoorsman. And in October of 2019, he founded Mule Fishing Supply Company.
On the Mule Fishing’s website, he announces that his company was designed “with the simple mission” to “provide high quality fishing gear and information to help anglers of all skill sets catch more fish.”
In another paragraph, he proclaims: “We believe that fishing is often made over-complicated by companies/anglers. Our goal is to bring simplified options to the market which will catch fish in virtually any circumstances! In addition, we will bring information to the angling community to ensure they are confident in their fishing techniques.”
He also expounded quite penetratingly about the name of this company. He wrote: “Mule stands for so much. First and foremost, my grandfather has always loved Mules and Horses. Growing up, I always remember seeing the Mules in the pasture when I visited my grandma & grandpa. The more I talk to my grandpa Warren about his old Mules, the more I realize how passionate he is about these animals. Every time I see/work on this business (the silhouette on the logo is my grandpa), I will be reminded of family and the values which truly matter.
In addition, Mules are known for how hard they work. That is exactly the way I want every item offered by Mule Fishing to be known for. We want to provide gear that will always work hard for you on the water.”
Mule Fishing’s first creations are three super-finesse mushroom-style jigs. The sizes are a 1/32-ouncer with a number six hook, a 1/64-ouncer with a number eight hook, and a 1/80-ouncer with a number 10 hook.
When Dhuyvetter affixes a small or finesse-size soft-plastic bait to these jigs, he uses the six standard Midwest finesse retrieves. But with these super-finesse rigs, his retrieves are slower than the way most Midwest finesse anglers execute their retrieves. He noted: “I tend to deadstick the jigs a lot and let them do the work for me.” Because they are small, he can easily employ them under a float, and during the ice-fishing season in Michigan, a vertical presentation under the ice has proven to be quite effective.
On these rigs, he inveigles black bass, bluegill, crappie, rock bass, sunfish, trout, and several other species. He relishes catching black bass, and the 1/32-ounce jig is the one that he uses when he is in pursuit of largemouth bass and smallmouth bass that abide in the waterways that he fishes in Michigan.
Dhuyvetter provided us with several samples of the jigs to work with and write about, and here is what we discovered about the 1/32-ouncer.
From the tip of its head to the apex of the bend of the number six hook, it is thirteen-sixteenths of an inch long.
A wire bait keeper radiates from the back of the head. It is three-sixteenths of an inch long and parallels the bottom of the hook’s shank.
The lead head is dome-shaped. The distance from its flat back to the tip of the dome is one-eighth of an inch. The diameter of its flat and round back is slightly less than one-quarter of an inch with a circumference of about one inch.
They are available in the following colors: black, chartreuse, fire red, and white.
A package of five costs $4.00.
It is interesting to note that Dhuyvetter pledges that every time an angler submits an order to the Mule Fishing Supply Company that we “will give back five minutes of our time to cleaning up a local body of water. We always hate to see when people abuse the places we like to fish and we are committed to helping reverse this issue. The more orders we receive, the greater impact we will have!” And another manifestation of his philanthropic nature was recently exhibited when he recently raised more than $1,000 for breast cancer research via one of his social media accounts.