Opie eyed the Golly Whomper in his dad’s tackle box with a kind of lust and reverence reserved for no other material thing on earth. Andy understood. He knew that silly-looking lure represented afternoons spent fishing with dad. Fishing creates the opportunity to plug yourself into the real world in a way nothing else can do, and a lure, well—it’s the plug. Right? That’s what we call the wooden and plastic ones with trebles, anyway. Now you know why. The real world produces oxygen. Can’t get that from a spreadsheet. It produces food. Can’t get that from a laboratory or a board room. And it produces fish. Can’t get those from computers or robotics. The best scientists in the world all crowded into one building for the next billion years could never create anything so fine, so complex, so beautiful, so self-sufficient, or so alive as a fish with a command system anywhere near as small as that famous “pea-sized brain.”
But craftsmen huddled in garages and basements can produce plugs. And they’ve been doing just that for hundreds of years. In that time you could say we’ve made a few improvements. But, when you look really close at the dynamics of triggering fish, you could just as easily conclude that most things new are just window dressing. And everything old comes back into style, at some point. This is a list of lures effective not just for one species of fish, but for all or at least many of the predators found in the aquatic world. This is a list of history’s greatest fishing lure types, not because I say so, but because history proves it so. Longevity, in itself, is proof enough for me. After several decades, if a lure is still being sought by anglers and still effectively triggering multiple species of fish, it belongs on this list. Let me know if I missed one. Or two, of the best fishing lures in history.