Feel Da Thump: Thump Gel explodes in crappie world

June 10, 2024

By Greg McCain

For years, Monte Knight knew that he possessed a secret that gave him an advantage over other fishermen.

Once a member of the FLW Tour bass-fishing circuit, Monte had developed a product for personal use that appealed to fish and contributed to his success in the professional ranks. But only when Monte shared the product with crappie fishermen did he realize that his “secret sauce” might have commercial potential as well. Thus, Thump Gel became available to the fishing public just a few years ago and has since exploded on the crappie-fishing scene.

“It goes all the way back to 2000,” said Monte, who lives in Guntersville, AL. “I was a big advocate of fish attractants. I tell everyone that I was the guy who used to keep Bang (an early spray-on attractant) in my back pocket everywhere I went.

“I knew fish attractants helped put the odds in your favor, so I had a huge passion to build a fish attractant for myself. I had no idea it was going to go where it’s gone. I wanted one that stayed on and worked and one that I had an indicator that when I swung the bait back that I would have some flake or color or something that allowed me to know that it was still there.

“With me fishing professionally, I had this as my ‘sneaky sneak’ for years. It actually got developed so that I would have an advantage fishing against someone else.”

A product that comes in small tubes and features a sticky, glittery substance that adheres to all types of baits, Thump Gel really exploded after one magical day at Goosepond Colony on Lake Guntersville near Scottsboro, AL. Goosepond is one of the centers of fishing on the famed Alabama reservoir and a major launch facility for tournaments on the lake. But it was the bank fishermen there who really helped launch Thump Gel. Throngs of fishermen gather on the docks there when crappie hold underneath them.

Monte told the story to the participants of the Crappie Cove/ACC Crappie Stix Big Crappie Bash in late April. Thump Gel served as one of the major sponsors of the event, and Monte gave his products, tubes of attractant and a leash to hold it, to every participant in the tournament.

“I literally shared some of my product with the fishermen there at Goosepond, and they were catching crappie before I could get off the dock,” he said at the pre-tournament meeting.

In a region that thrives on the fishing industry, news of Monte’s product spread by word of mouth around Guntersville and beyond, and demand exceeded his capability of production at the time. Monte knew that he was onto something.

“I had no idea the crappie liked it as much as they do because I come from a bass-fishing background,” Monte said.

Monte actually grew up fishing on the banks of the Tombigbee River in east-central Mississippi. His fishing success grew to the point that he fished competitively on the FLW Tour and other circuits for about 10 years.

One of his strengths was fishing shallow, and the substance that would eventually become Thump Gel was always in the boat with him.

“With me being a huge sight fisherman, I knew what eggs looked like on the nest,” Monte said. “That was one of my first thoughts, to develop a product that looked like that. The first attractant, the Green Magic, was the original one that started it 20 years ago. It was exactly that type of design.

“I wanted to develop a product where I could take advantage of the YouTube craze that I could promote myself. As we move forward, another 15, 18 years later, here we are.”

Three years ago, Monte placed Thump Gel on the shelves of Victory Sportsman, a local tackle shop in Scottsboro.

“They were going to do a test market for a year,” he said. “That was Sept of ‘21. Then, a short time later, it hit the crappie dock in Scottsboro, and ThumpGel took off from there.

“There would be 30-40 fishermen on that dock on a Saturday morning. This was when we realized that we had something special. There would be fishermen sitting there on that dock, and the crappie are just stacked under there. There would be only one or two people who really knew how to catch them.

“People started buying this product and started putting it on their jig, and even though they didn’t have the right line size or a jig tied the right way, they still had their bait in front of crappie. After putting ThumpGel on there, they would say, ‘thank you, I’ve got a fish.’ I’ve seen it happen multiple times, even hundreds and hundreds of times off that dock. When they saw it work, they started leaving that dock and going up to the store to buy some.”

While Monte keeps the exact Thump Gel formula under wraps for obvious reasons, he tweaks his product through experimentation. While the original Green Magic remains a best seller, Monte continues to introduce colors and variations.

“It involves a ton of trial and error,” he said. “It’s not something that someone put together in a short amount of time. I have tweaked this and tweaked this. There is something very special with this product.”

Monte said the combination of gel and glitter often causes fish, particularly crappie, to commit when they might otherwise not bite.

“I can’t tell you what’s in it, but I don’t mind telling you how it works,” he said. “Crappie are notorious for just running up there and bumping a bait. With this product, there is something that dilutes in water. With that crappie sitting there and flaring its gills, it can literally taste that gel. It’s come out of water where there is no taste, and now it gets a hint of something good. That’s what helps the commit. I truly believe that’s one of the huge secrets of ThumpGel.”

Thump Gel can be used on just about any type of bait, including live minnows. Primarily, however, its purpose is to complement a plastic bait, but that use is not the extent of the application.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a hard bait for bass or soft plastics for crappie,” Monte said. “If a bait comes pre-lubed – and some companies put that in the package with the bait – you need to get that off before you apply ThumpGel. You want to get that substance off (with a paper towel or clothe). ThumpGel is a sticky gel and wants to attach to a dry surface. It will also stick to live bait as well. You just need to wipe a little of the slime coat off that live bait.”

On soft plastics, Monte said a single application of Thump Gel – he follows the old hair product mantra of “a little dab’ll do you” – should last 20 to 30 casts. On hard baits, fishermen literally have to wipe it off at the end of a day’s fishing.

“There’s something about that substance that will stay on a hard bait all day,” he said.

While the use of Thump Gel has exploded among crappie fishermen, Monte said more and more bass fishermen are recognizing the effectiveness of Thump Gel. Andrew Nordbye, a successful bass tournament angler, Fishing with Nordbye YouTube sensation, and Monte’s neighbor in Guntersville, uses the product successfully both for bass and crappie.

Caleb Hensley (903 Fishing) and Davis Lenzen (Flopping Crappie) are among other ACC pro staffers who use Thump Gel regularly.

“I had seen it happen to me, but until you put it in other people’s hands and see the same experience, you know you have something special,” Monte said.

Thump Gel (see all products at www.thumpgel.com) is not the only product marketed by the company. A Thump Gel Leash attaches to a belt and keeps the tube of attractant at hand.

Another of Monte’s products growing in popularity is the Thump Net, one that serves a variety of intended and unintended purposes. Originally designed with bank fishermen in mind, the Thump Net can also be placed in livewells to hold fish or even bait. Monte said he’s received word that his net is being used by lobster divers in Key West.

Monte credits Frogg Toggs, another Guntersville company, and owner Will Fowler for help in development of the Thump Net, which continues to evolve in its uses.

“Because I fished from the bank so much years ago, my first thought was how to keep fish healthy from the bank,” he said. “I sort of stumbled into this deal with the net in the livewell. It fits both purposes.”

So what’s ahead for Thump Gel? Monte is not ready to publicly reveal his latest innovations. Let’s just say they will potentially take the product to a new level.

“We want to give fishermen just about anything they want,” he said. “They love to tweak their baits. The products are great, and more and more people are catching on.

“Hopefully we are about to produce something that people have never seen before, all made in the USA in Guntersville AL.”

Thump Gel products are available from the company’s website, Amazon, traditional outlets like Walmart and Academy, and from local tackle shops like Crappie Cove in Maryville, TN. Monte said to buy some and “Feel Da Thump.”

Greg McCain is a freelance writer from prime crappie-fishing territory near Russellville, AL. In addition to producing content for the ACC Crappie Stix blog, his credits include articles in Georgia Outdoor News, the Cornfield Fishing Gear website, CrappieNOW online magazine, the Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation website, Great Days Outdoors, and many more publications over the last 20 years.