Signs of seasonal change are easy to see along Oregon’s rivers and streams where anglers cast lures for fall salmon. This week, I catch up with an Oregonian who creates artful imitations of nature that catch really big fish – and he’s an angling artist who loves to shares his secrets.

Mark Anderson says the time is right to catch a salmon and he loves to cast lures from shore – especially the lures that he’s designed. His Dad taught him much of what he practices today. It’s a technique called “jig fishing” that relies upon a weighted feathered jig that is fished below a floating bobber… and it works!

I recently caught up with Anderson along the Wilson River in the Tillamook State Forest where he told me that twenty years ago, he bought his first jig off a store rack. Now, he makes the jigs and they are some of the finest around and in huge demand.

What do they look like to the fish?


Anderson added that crafting the colorful jigs is an “addictive passion” and his love for the craft evolved by simply making them for friends.

Now, after ten years at the helm of First Bite, Anderson said that he has more “friends” than ever — across England, Switzerland, New Zealand and Chile – anglers who keep coming back for more.

He boasts that the jig making parts – from hooks to feathers and beads — all come from Oregon. First Bite has hooked thousands of anglers to a new technique for catching salmon and steelhead, but Anderson said a successful business is not enough for him.

He believes that he and the angling community can do more by giving back. Anderson leads by example and teaches an ethic of responsibility caring for Oregon’s outdoors. In fact, he has spearheaded an Oregon Adopt-a-River campaign the past 16 years and encourages anglers to clean the rivers they like to fish. That often means getting his hands dirty too.

Mark Anderson believes most anglers love the outdoors too or they wouldn’t be out there. He also thinks anglers could do more to bring their sport full circle and he’s pleased that he can help point the way.

Editor’s Note: Grant’s Getaways is a production of Travel Oregon brought to you in association with Oregon State Parks, Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife and Oregon State Marine Board. Episodes air Thursdays and Saturdays on KGW Newschannel 8 and Saturdays on Northwest Cable News Network.

about author Grant McOmie

Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.

In this Grant’s Getaway

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These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

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  1. Jeff says…

    First Bite jigs are top notch. Mark is well respected in the NW. Love his product.

    Written on November 5th, 2010 / Flag this Comment
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