By: Matt Foster

One jig that can be rigged two ways! That’s what Derek Martin of Mount Pulaski, Illinois created when he started Tophat Jigs in the winter of 2020. “Like anyone, my mind is always thinking what can I do to make something better,” said, Martin. Martin, who is a farmer by trade, said, “My wife Renee bought a small fish tank to put in our living room and she put some Guppies in the tank. I was watching television one night and watching fish and a light bulb went off in my head. There is no bait on the market with a tail sort of like a Guppy. The triangle shape.”

Over the next few days, Martin explained that he took plastic crappie baits out of his tackle box, cut and melted them into the shape and size he roughly wanted. “I put it on a yardstick and took multiple pictures with dimensions. I got on the internet and the phone and found someone that I wanted to work with. He drew it up in like Autocad program and a week later sent it back and it was perfect,” said Martin.

Martin then had the guy make his first mold and the rest is history. I asked Martin what sets the TopHat Jigs Guppy Gobbler apart from the rest of the jigs on the market. Martin explained, “It has a unique design, which is patent pending. It is a 2-inch bait with a triangle shape tail. With this design, you can rig the Guppy Gobbler one of 2 ways. It can be rigged with the tail flat for mermaid-like action or perpendicular to the hook to mimic a live baitfish. The Guppy Gobbler gives you two different modes of action without switching baits.” I then asked Martin what was his most popular selling jig color, and he said, “As of today, the top-selling Guppy Gobbler is the Teddie Bug which has a white body with a chartreuse tail.” TopHat Jigs offers the Guppy Gobbler in nineteen different color combinations. TopHat Jigs is a small family-run business. Martin and his wife Renee and his two boys Dean and Reed do it all. They have a strong love for the outdoors and just want to produce a quality affordable fishing bait that everyone else can enjoy and use to catch fish.

Martin also added, “Stores looking to carry Tophat Jigs Guppy Gobblers can call me at (217) 737-9356 or email me at People can also check out the website to see all the different color combinations available at” Martin said, “We work every day to make it a better company to be a mainstay in the fishing industry for years to come.” I asked Martin about his pro-staff and what stores the TopHat Jig Guppy Gobblers were currently in. “Tophat Jigs has an awesome pro-staff that has been winning several tournaments using the Guppy Gobblers. We currently have eight members on the pro-staff team and people can read about them on the website. We are also currently in sixteen bait stores across the country and ship to many other states and are always looking to get into more stores,” replied Martin.

If you are looking to purchase TopHat Jigs Guppy Gobblers or want to stock them in your store or bait shop, give Martin a call or visit his website. As always, thank you for taking the time to read this article, if you enjoyed reading this article and want to see more like it, please follow us on Facebook at The Crappie Blog.