The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - FRONT PAGE - SHAUN McMANUS

THE Wigston fam­ily have hooked fish­er­men from all over the world across sev­eral decades with their renowned Tas­ma­nian Devil lures, but Garth Wigston has de­cided the time is right to sell his busi­ness.

Wigston Lures has been man­u­fac­tur­ing the Tas­ma­nian Devil — the only lure it makes — for 39 years, first at New Nor­folk and more re­cently at Der­went Park.

Just short of a mil­lion Tas­ma­nian Devil lures are pro­duced an­nu­ally in 78 colours and four sizes, and they are ex­ported across Tas­ma­nia, over­seas, and to 23 coun­tries.

The of­fi­cial takeover by Vic­to­rian com­pany JM Gil­lies took place yes­ter­day, and all six per­ma­nent Tas­ma­nian em­ploy­ees have kept their jobs.

The Wigston fam­ily be­gan work­ing in re­tail at New Nor­folk in 1934, when Garth’s fa­ther, Ed­die, started a shop sell­ing fish­ing, shoot­ing and ra­dio equip­ment.

Garth worked in the fam­ily busi­ness, but in 1977 dis­cussed with his fa­ther and brother, Ian, the pos­si­bil­ity of start­ing to spe­cialise.

“We thought ‘Let’s think about the pos­si­bil­ity of man­u­fac­tur­ing them on a mass pro­duc­tion ba­sis’, but Dad said ‘Don’t be so silly, you won’t make any money out of that’,” Garth said.

Ig­nor­ing their fa­ther’s ad­vice, Ian and Garth started mak­ing lures in 1979, but hit an un­ex­pected speed bump.

“We went along for about five years and all of a sud­den a nice lit­tle en­ve­lope turned up from a com­pany called Warner Broth­ers, telling us that we [couldn’t] use this, we own the trade­mark for the Tas­ma­nian devil,” Garth said.

“We fi­nally reached an agree­ment where if we used the brand name Tas­ma­nian Devil in fish­ing equip­ment only, they wouldn’t ob­ject to our use of the name, be­cause they were mainly in­ter­ested in their soft toys and things like that. Th­ese days to get a brand name such as Tas­ma­nian Devil, you would never get it in a pink fit.”

To­day, Garth says the com­pany is prob­a­bly the largest man­u­fac­turer of fish­ing lures in Australia.

While he is sad to stand aside, he won’t be step­ping away com­pletely.

“I’m to the stage now where I’d like to spend a lit­tle bit more time sail­ing my yacht and do­ing other things, so now is the time to be sell­ing the busi­ness,” he said.

“I’ll re­tire into the back­ground, I’m just go­ing to be a ref­er­ence point and give a bit of a hand in the back­ground for a cou­ple of years.”

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