September 11, 2020
By Ned Kehde
From a historical and geographic perspective, Adrian, Missouri, lies near the heart of the founding sites of the Midwest finesse phenomenon.
In fact, it is about 17 miles from Amsterdam, which was where Bill and Virgil Ward created the first marabou jig in 1957 and began manufacturing Chuck Woods’ Beetle and Beetle Spin in the 1960s. It is about 57 miles from Ray Fincke’s tackle shop in Kansas City, Kansas, which was where many of the Midwest finesse tactics and tools were born in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. And it is about 48 miles from Blue Springs, Missouri, which was where Mar Lynn Lure Company manufactured the Skworm-N-Jig, Chuck Woods’ Puddle Jumper, and Harold Ensley’s Reaper.
Nowadays, Adrian is the home of Jeff Hill, who is 40 years old and proprietor of Top Shelf Tackle. Hill purchased the business in July of 2018 from Rick Correa of Wilsonville, Oregon, where it began in 2008. Hill began working on the manufacturing side of Top Shelf Tackle in 2012.
Nowadays, it is a one-person business, and Hill does it all in a shop adjacent to his home.
During this transition, he moved to Adrian from Butler, Missouri. He also stepped into the Midwest finesse world by creating and manufacturing the Diamondback Quiver Worm.
In our perpetual quest to publish gear guides about Midwest finesse rigs, we were pleased that Jeff Hill helped us in this endeavor by providing us with some samples of the Diamondback Quiver Worm for us to examine, work with, and write about.
Here is what we discovered about it.
It is 3 ¼ inches long, and Hill hand pours it with what he calls a precise consistency.
The tip of the head of its anterior section is V-shaped and is graced with a tiny nose. It has a width of five-sixteenths of an inch, a height of about one quarter of an inch, and a circumference of about 1 3/16 inches.
The anterior section is 1 5/8 inches long. Its dorsal area is convex and embellished with 12 significant ribs. Each of its sides is adorned with 12 significant ribs. Hill describes the ribs as having the shape of a V. Its ventral area or belly is flat with a smooth and even glassy epidermis. At rib number six, which is three-quarters of an inch from the tip of the head of the Diamondback Quiver Worm’s torso and has a width of seven-sixteenths of an inch, a height of five-sixteenths of an inch, and a circumference of about 1 3/8 inches.
At rib number 12, which is adjacent to the junction of the anterior section to the posterior section, the width is three-eighths of an inch wide with a height of five-sixteenths of an inch and a circumference of slightly more than 1 3/16 inches.
Hill says that the Diamondback Quiver Worm has a meticulously tapered body. Thus, the dimensions of the posterior section diminishes as it approaches its tip or anus.
The posterior section is 1 5/8 inches long. Its dorsal area is concave and possesses 13 significant ribs. But the dorsal area at ribs number 22, 23, 24, and 25 are not as concave as it is along the other 21 ribs Each side of the posterior section possesses portions of those 13 ribs. The ribs have the same V-shape as the anterior ones. Its ventral area is flat with a smooth epidermis. The tip or anus of the posterior section is pointed or V-shaped with a width of about one-quarter of an inch, a height of one-eighth of an inch, and a circumference of about eleven-sixteenths of an inch.
Hill said it took him many months to create and thoroughly field tested an array of prototypes of the Diamondback Quiver Worm. It was field tested at Truman Lake, Missouri; Lake Guntersville, Alabama, and Lake Pickwick, Alabama. The final mold was created in January of 2020.
Hill says its flat belly and V-shaped dorsal allows it to exhibit an array of unusual movements. For instance, when anglers affix it to a jig and use their rods to gingerly snap the rig about 12 inches up and off the bottom, the bait will make a dramatic180-degree turn at the top of the lift. Thus, as it plummets back to the bottom, the eye and hook of the jig and the Diamondback Quiver Worm’s dorsal area will turn away from the anglers, and its belly or ventral area will be facing the anglers. Besides this unique 180-dregree pivot, it exhibits an assortment of alluring quivers and undulations as anglers present it to their largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass quarries.
It is available in the following hues: Copperhead, Gemstone, Green Pumpkin, Green Pumpkin Sunset, Oxblood Swirl, and Silver Pearl.
They are not impregnated with salt and scent, and they are buoyant.
A package of 10 costs $7.99.
- Here is a link to Top Shelf Tackle’s website: http://topshelftackle.com/. And here is the telephone number: 660-679-8126.
- Midwest finesse anglers will affix the Diamondback Quiver Worm to a small mushroom-style jig and present it to their black-bass quarries by employing all six of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves. And they will discover that its buoyancy and flat ventral will accentuate this rig’s ability to glide seductively. Here is a link to the Midwest Finesse column that explains how to execute those six retrieves: https://www.in-fisherman.com/editorial/six-midwest-finesse-retrieves/153946.