An Essay on the Old-World World of Wiggle and Jerk*
-researched by Niall Knought, Ph.D.
Mssrs. Viggle and Yerk began their quiet impact on the world of fishing so many years ago, back in 1876. Now, more than 100 years later, we honor their memory with a faithful reproduction of their famous, indeed hallowed, store signage. Own a piece of history as you share love for the Wiggle and Jerk.* Read More after the video below:
Few people know the rich history of immigrants Conrad Viggle and Hans Yerk whose names would become delightfully mispronounced by their customers as the “Wiggle and Jerk.” Wiggle and Jerk had a dream: establish a place where the discerning polesman, the refined angler, could find wares to meet his needs. Starting their business in a small east-coast town, they launched their little store with just a few dollars and the desire to spread the joy of palming a fat, round reel to all manner of men and their sons. Now remember, this was 1876, so few women were out and about casting forward. Surely, if their establishment were still with us today, they’d be happy to share a cork shaft with anyone.
But, alas, it was not to be. Conrad and Hans both died of a mysterious illness sometime around 1886. Doctors suggested at the time that the constant exposure to river water, in the days before the clown-like rubber waders, may have been to blame. Both fathers of young children, the legacy of Wiggle and Jerk for fishing was passed on to their kids. Conrad had an only son, who was affectionately nicknamed “Little.” Hans had two boys, twins, who came to be referred to as “The Many” for their uncanny ability to be always found together, full of mischief. So, Little Wiggle and The Many Jerks soon matured enough to handle the growing business of their fathers’ legacy, like a steady rise from a clear river. Their sign, now immortalized in a great Tshirt or sweatshirt, came to be recognized by the most ardent of shoppers as the place to go and be seen for the world of fishing.
Doesn’t time take its toll? Are there ever enough long days, crisp beer gone flat, cool waters? Who has enough time? Certainly not the Wiggles and Jerks! In 1916, the venerable place for Wiggles and Jerks was burned to the ground in a suspicious fire. Sadly, Little and The Many had spent all of their earnings on the many parts and pieces of fly fishing, so of course, had not one dime to their names to use to rebuild the store.
Sadly, Viggle and Yerk, the first true emporium for the angler, was to be no more. Nonetheless, the store’s sign, long a beacon of hope and expenditures for so many sportsmen, stayed in the collective memories of so many who loved laying a line.
Fortunately, we have recreated that famous sign for you on great looking apparel. Created exclusively for us by “The Mesquite Tree Studio,” this ©2016 work of art will let you carry on the name and love for Wiggle and Jerk. Why not come get your memorial Tshirt or fleece today?
*Clearly this is parody and just a tad silly. But the shirt is still cool, no? Order some for the little wiggles or the many jerks in your life today. Let them remember you when they’ve got a good pole in their hands and the fingerlings are nipping. Get one today.