May 05, 2014
By Ned Kehde
A veteran Midwest finesse angler recently told us that we need to tell finesse anglers across the nation about the many alluring wares that Frank Dietl of Washington, Missouri, manufactures and sells on his Swing Oil Baits' website. This angler described it as a treasure trove of lures that Ozark finesse and power anglers have used for decades on end, as well as some new ones.
Dietl is a plumber by trade, as well as an ardent Ozark black bass and rainbow trout angler. On his day job as a plumber, he works on the commercial end of the profession, constructing and remodeling hospitals, schools, office buildings, and shopping malls.
He is 46 years old, and he has been fishing since he was seven years old. Back in his youth, his father took him to farm ponds and the Bourbeuse River in east-central Missouri. Nowadays, he trout fishes about eight times a year at Taneycomo Lake, Missouri, and four times at some of Missouri's state trout parks. Five of his Taneycomo outings are focused around tournaments. When his tackle business and plumbing work allows it, he attempts to black bass fish a couple times a month, and throughout a year, he will fish the Lake of the Ozarks six times, Table Rock Lake twice, Mark Twin Lake, Missouri, a few times, as well as an occasional trek to a local farm pond. And while he is trout fish at Taneycomo, he will occasionally spend some time pursuing the black bass that inhabit its lower and warmer environs. He and his best friend, John Hittler of Hillsboro, Missouri, have been tournament fishing for 20 years.
The consequences of the great recession of 2008 waylaid the building trade in eastern Missouri, which has adversely affected his work as a plumber, but it allowed him the time to create and become the proprietor of Swing Oil Baits in 2010. At times, he still works in the plumbing trade, but as of April 25, he had not worked as a plumber for three months, and he said his tackle business has grown to the point that it is difficult for him to find time to continue his plumbing career. To his dismay, his tackle business has also encroached on his fishing time.
Recently, his 14- and 20-year-old daughters have begun to help him manufacture oodles of jig heads, skirted jigs, and marabou jigs, as well as an array of soft-plastic creatures, crayfish, grubs, tubes, and worms.
Dietl's first involvement in the tackle trade occurred around the turn of the millennium, when he became weary of paying a dollar or more for a tiny marabou trout jig. So, he started making them. Eventually his craftsmanship was so stellar that other anglers were attracted by the quality of his jigs, which provoked him to make more and sell them to anglers and tackle shops around Taneycomo, such as Lilleys' Landing Resort and Marina and Scotty's Trout Dock and Marina.
The number of soft-plastic baits that Dietl and his daughters manufacture and sell has varied from year to year. At this moment, they fabricate 22 soft-plastic worms for black bass fishing and two soft-plastic worms for trout fishing. And one of the trout worms will fit the black bass repertoire of many Midwest finesse anglers.
In 2013 and the first quarter of 2014, their Dragon Tail Finesse Worm has been the most sought after one by finesse anglers. It is six-inches long, which is available in 19 colors, and a package of 10 can be purchased for $3.50. Their standard finesse worm is a 4 3/4-inch Flat Bottomed Finesse Worm, which is made in 19 colors, and a package of 20 can be acquired for $3.50. They are about to introduce a five-inch finesse worm, which is called the FS Worm, and it will be manufactured in 19 colors, and a package of 15 will retail for $4.00.
For various finesse applications, they also make these soft-plastic baits: Swim Worm, Cut Tail Worm, RB Worm, Doctor Jo, Zip Drop, Three-inch Swing Oil Trout Worm, Flat Tail Finesse Worm, Goby, Swimming Sculpin, K-Grub, Twin Tail Grub, Soft Craw, four-inch Shimmy Stick, Sting Ray Grub, and Swimming Minnow. (It needs to be noted that for years on end Ozark finesse anglers at Bull Shoals and Table Rock lakes have wielded Sting Ray Grubs and Swimming Minnows and caught untold numbers of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and spotted bass. And during the past several years, the Sting Ray Grub is exhibiting a renaissance of sorts.)
In addition to their soft-plastic baits, the Dietls make nine jigs that finesse anglers can use with a variety of soft-plastic baits: 1/8-ounce Swing Jig, 1/8-ounce Swimbait Shad Jig Head, 1/16-ounce Swim Worm Jig Head, 1/8-ounce Sting Ray Grub Jig Head, 1/16-ounce Shakey Head Jig, 1/8-ounce Rattling Tube Jighead, 1/8-ounce Poison Tail Jighead, 1/8-ounce Football Shakey Head Jig, and 1/16-ounce Darter Jig Head.
They also assemble four skirted jigs for finesse applications, and they are available in 35 colors. Their 1/8-ounce Finesse Football Jig retails for $1.65, 1/8-ounce Finesse Jig sells for$1.50, 1/8-ounce Swim Jig sells for $1.85, and Poison Tail Jig retails for $1.90. What's more, their 1/32-, 1/16-, and 3/32-ounce Flat Sided Marabou Jig is made in 55 colors and sells for 80 cents. Their 1/16-ounce and 3/32-ounce Pro-Style Flat Sided Marabou Jig is tied in 55 colors and sells for $1.25.
Besides their finesse baits, Swing Oil Baits has a potpourri of baits that Ozark power and semi-power anglers like to employ. These baits, of course, will inveigle black bass in waterways all across the globe.
Some of the Dietls' soft-plastic baits are a tad too long for Midwest finesse presentations, but they can easily be customized in order to fit those unique finesse uses. Also, some of their jigs are a bit too heavy and hooks too large for most Midwest finesse anglers to use, but they will work for other finesse applications at waterways all across the United States and Canada.
To get a complete look at the Dietls' soft-plastic baits and jigs, please examine their website: http://swingoilbaits.com/.