It was two years ago that Tiger Carman first conceptualized his new invention. Now, the fisherman has taken it to market and, so far, he says business is “going at lot better than expected.”
Carman said his product, Tiger Jugz, improves on the form of fishing known as jug fishing – where one baits a hook on a line and leaves the jug bobbing on the water’s surface like a buoy. The fish takes the bait, the jug becomes animate and indicates a catch.
“These fish have a tough time taking off with these jugs,” he said, adding that a weight connected to the jug renders it nearly immovable. “For the most part, I haven’t had anything run off with one yet further than 50 to 100 yards, and that’s leaving them out all night. Yeah, they’re pretty tough.”
Carman of Grand Lake, Oklahoma, is of the Euchee people and said it was his grandfather who first took him jug fishing as a young boy around the age of 8- or 9-years-old.
Since then, he has noticed what lacks in jug fishing, and his Tiger Jugz, he said, makes the practice more convenient for the fisherman.
“I tried to make a better quality jug than what’s out there,” he said. “(Tiger Jugz are) for the basic fisherman who likes to go out on the lake. You don’t need to have a lot of experience to use them.”
Tiger Jugz can be used from the shoreline or from a boat, he added. But if one’s to fish from the shore using Tiger Jugz, it’ll take some creativity.
Carman said he has a friend who sends his jugs off into the creek from land and then he retrieves them with a pole that has a coat hanger on the end. “Preferably you’d want a boat, but it could be any size boat. It could just be an inflatable boat that floats.”
Carman said his first renderings of his invention weren’t too spectacular, but with time and diligence his idea came to fruition.
“The first ones were really bad,” he said. “It took a lot of trial and error. It originally started as just an idea. I just took a piece of paper and pencil and just drew it. From there, I stared at it. Every few days I’d make a few changes to it, and that went on for months.”
But now his orange jugs are on store shelves – in small businesses throughout his hometown and even online. Business is “going well,” Carman said.
“It’s come a long way really quick,” he said. “I took a few of them down to the local store, they liked them, so we went ahead and made a website and posted videos and started getting a whole lot of feedback, so me and my older sister sort of ran with it.”
Carman, who has an associate’s degree in Native American gaming from the College of Muscogee Nation, said he encourages Native Americans who have an idea to hearken the call of that invention and see how the market reacts.
“If you really just think you have a good idea and you … brainstorm with a couple people, and if they think you have a good idea, you may as well take the time to look into it,” he said.