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Guy Layton jigs are here; part of a legacy

By By Mike Giles / outdoors writer
Aug. 15, 2003
Crappie fishermen, fly fishermen and other anglers are hereby put on notice; Lisa Barrett will have an ample selection of her father's custom made flies and jigs on hand during The Meridian Star Outdoor Expo. After a long productive life, Guy Layton passed away last September. He left behind quite a legacy however, as well as a few of his custom home made jigs and flies.
After sorting through many of his belongings, Barrett found an untold number of jigs, lures and weights that he had accumulated over the years. In fact, he had made literally thousands of jigs and baits in his life. "My daddy loved the outdoors and fishing and enjoyed every moment," noted Lisa Barrett.
While Barrett was just a toddler, her dad received a fly tying kit for Christmas from Laurel native Bob Holifield. Holifield was a close friend and he taught Layton the basics of fly fishing and the bug really bit Guy Layton. After receiving that kit, he plunged headlong into fly tying. All of a sudden he was making all kinds of flies and lures. It wasn't too long before people started requesting them.
Hobby that flourished
What started out as a hobby turned into something really big for him. Perhaps some of our long time residents will remember the old Gibsons stores. Well that was about the only place you could find any sporting goods back in the 60s and early 70s, and Layton sold his first lure at the Gibsons that was located on the north frontage road.
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Guy Layton and Lisa Barrett briefly last year while on a quail hunt at Pollard Quail Farm in Mathiston. We just had a short talk and it was good to meet a fellow outdoorsman and his daughter. Sadly our meeting was all too brief. That was the only time I got to talk with him, not knowing until much later that we had much more in common.
Several months later I was back at Pollards and saw some unique crappie jigs made with quail feathers. That was a first for me. In addition to the quail feathers, they also had some unique eyes. I learned that day that Mr. Layton had made the jigs before his passing. They were truly unique to see. I can only imagine how good they would be in the water.
As a youngster fishing at Ross Barnett Reservoir, I caught many crappie and striped bass below the spillway. Now I didn't have a lot of money to spend and was proud to have been taught how to make jigs for both crappie and striped bass. J. T. Matthews of Jackson really did me a favor by teaching me the basics. For that I am thankful. It also gives me something in common with Mr. Layton. I only wish I had known more about him earlier.
Raw materials
While growing up, Lisa Barrett said that her dad made jigs out of just about anything he could get his hands on. "I can remember riding down the road and he would stop and pick up a squirrel that had been run over. He would use the tail for jigs," recalled Barrett. "He would use chicken feathers, deer tails and even old wool and chenille sweaters if he thought he could make a jig out of it!"
According to Layton's son Tony, his dad would sometimes get materials from different people to make lures. On occasion he even named the lure after the person that gave him the material. Of course he had the "Dr. Bob" jig named after Bob Holifield. And then there was a "Little Lisa" and the "Tony" jig named after his children. And there was also the "Potato Bug," the "Katydid"and a whole host of flies that looked like just about any insect that you can imagine. When it came to catching fish you could be sure Guy Layton and his family never went hungry, what with such an assortment of lures that would catch everything from panfish to bass to stripers.
If you want to see some truly unique lures on display, then you need to come to The Meridian Star Expo this weekend and view the handiwork of a talented Mississippi lure maker. And who knows, you just might be able to purchase one for your own use. Come on out and meet Layton's daughter and son, Lisa and Tony, and find out about their dad's exciting life and lure making business. I know that I will be on hand to check out his handiwork.