Buggs Production is headquartered in a little town in Nicaragua called Diriamba. Here is the story of how we made it down there, the challenges we faced, the help we received along the way, and why Delia and the ladies are a valuable piece of the puzzle.
When I learned about the opportunity to share the Texas Tackle Factory booth at the Fishing Show, it really hit home as to the opportunity I had to get off the ground. I had been researching means of production, and had two good leads. One was a big time lead from Tal, a guy with a facility in Haiti with over two hundred workers. The minimums were high and so was the lead time. I crossed him off the list for immediate help, and utilized another lead I had found.
A few months prior, I had picked up the phone and called TJ Neal of East Cut Flies. I had seen their product in several fly shops, and was impressed with their flies. I figured that the same folks who tied for them would have no trouble with my Buggs. Out of the goodness of his heart, TJ hooked me up with John Pinto, a guy out of Michigan who had a small facility in Nicaragua.
So I called him up, and John told me they could handle the work I needed. So I got rolling on my tying materials account with Hareline Dubbin, and sought to figure out how my garage-based production in Spring, Texas could translate to Central America. The first steps were straightforward, detailed work. They included recipes for the lures, materials, color choices, and accessories for the jig heads.
And then they were off! The order, materials, and my precious mold made it to John Pinto's office in Michigan, and John transported them to Diriamba, Nicaragua. I had visions of a quick and easy turnaround and lots of bright and shiny Buggs to wow the good people at the George R. Brown Convention Center in early February. It didn't quite happen like that, but I pressed on.
You see, John got everything down there and the ladies started with the jig heads. They poured the heads, and then painted a prime coat. When they started with the colored paint I had shipped them, the paint started cracking and looked terrible. What I didn't realize was the water-based prime coat they were using wouldn't work with the vinyl lure paint I had sent them. There were also translation problems with my tying instructions. So I got a call from John, who explained to me the difficulties and requested that I get down there and help sort things out.
I had to think about it for a few minutes and talk with my wife, but I realized that my best chance to get the lures made was to head down. I had enough miles to get a good discount on the plane ticket, and John personally met me in the airport in Managua, Nicaragua. He drove me to Diriamba and I stayed in the Hotel Mi Bohio, a nice place in the middle of the town.
The next morning I went to the facility, which is a small house in town. There are two main production rooms plus a covered patio where the work is done. A lady named Delia is in charge, and she and the other ladies are very talented tiers. So for the next few days, I worked with them to get production started and work the kinks out. We decided that water-based paint was the only option to work with the prime coat and for shipping purposes. They also helped me figure out the weed guard, and impressed me with their skills.
The other thing that this trip provided was peace of mind that the facility was clean and safe, and the ladies were treated well. I made some new friends, visited a new country, and was soon back in Houston with brand new Buggs to sell at the Fishing Show. Delia and the ladies continue to tie all the production models we sell, and we value their partnership and hard work.