July 10, 2012
Old-timers don't get new lures. Take it from me. Now, all I have to do is show my dad a new lure. If he thinks it'll work, then you wouldn't see me dead with that lure! But if his opinion is that it's the worst fishing lure ever created in the history of mankind, and that if I use it I'll never catch another fish in my life, I'll know for sure that it will be a great lure.
For instance, take one of the most phenomenal lures I've ever used, which I got out of a soft-plastics bin in a fishing shop. It was green, with a hard rubber core running down its length, and on each side was a thin wavy edge. I asked Dad for some money to buy the 6-cent lure. Almost as soon as I'd uttered the words, he jumped on me: "Sam, you do know that lure is completely useless, right? Are you sure you want to waste your young life using it? Here, get something else with your 6 cents."
The next day we went down to a local lake, and I forced Dad to "ruin a good hook with that horrible abomination." Guess what? The horrible abomination caught six bass. Compared to Dad's one fish, that was pretty good. My lure's now been eaten by so many bass that it's falling apart and is now in a place of honor in my tackle box . Dad still insists that the huge number of fish I got on it were flukes. I know for a fact that isn't true, as I caught bass, not flounder, on it.
The next "monster" that Dad believed was useless was a blue-backed Rapala, another one of my best lures. I collect Rapala lures, firmly believing they're flawless in every way and quite possibly the best series ever made. So I was looking through Dad's huge tackle box and came across an old, worn, blue-backed Rapala. I asked him if I could have it, and he said yes, but he added, "That lure? Don't do it , son! Don't!"
About a week later, we went down to another local lake. I decided to try my "new" Rapala, and got an immediate strike. I pulled in a one-pound bass. Five minutes later, I got another, larger strike which I missed. Then I got another, set the hook into it, but missed it, too. (Don't ask me how I missed all these strikes on a lure with nine hooks. It just happened.) Strangely enough, after the lure popped out of the fish's mouth, it landed in the water near the shore and something hit it. Of course, the fish dropped the lure before I could reel up the slack. But then the fish started biting for real: I got two 3-pounders and a 4 1/2-pound lunker. Dad nearly cried. He only caught two bass that day. I didn't let him borrow the lure because he'd said it was a "terrible lure" and you'd never get anything on it. You'd think he'd have learned his lesson by now, but no.
The next great lure he shunned was the jointed Rapala. He figured that if the old, solid-body originals had worked for him before, they'd work for him now; so, naturally, when I told him I was fishing with it, he sighed, shook his head, and tied on one of those good old, solid-body originals. As it turned out, I got two big bass that day, and Dad and his good old solid-body Rapala got one half-pounder.
Yet another lure Dad hated was the hard plastic Rebel caterpillar. He figured there was no way that a bass would hit a plastic caterpillar plug. Well, as it turned out, I used it at Lake Toho, Florida, and, over a period of about three hours, got one lunker bass, a big pickerel, and some smaller bass. Dad, on the other hand, came off with a small Florida gar, a pickerel, and one 5-pound bass. He wasn't too happy about getting smaller and fewer fish than I got that day; but if you say a lure ain't no good and it really is, then you gotta take what's coming.
Still another lure Dad didn't think highly of was the Jitterbug. One day, we went to one of our favorite fishing spots, a big lake in Seminole County. After a hugely fun day on the lake, with lots of action for both of us, we headed over to some weeds on the shoreline to do some casting. We got there just as the sun began to set. Dad wouldn't use a surface popper, instead choosing a plastic worm. Almost on my first cast with the Jitterbug, I got a smashing strike. The Jitterbug got sucked under, but the 5-pound bass missed the hooks. I was pretty mad. Then I realized that the fish was still on. When I reeled it up to the boat, I saw that the wide lip on the plug had caught in the bass's mouth and was holding the bass to my line. Almost the entire night went on like that, me getting some and missing some -- Dad almost nothing. After which, I got to gloat, which I do on a regular basis.
Dad now uses those lures he once scorned, but unfortunately hasn't learned to get new ones. So that you avoid my Dad's fate, I'd like to give all you lure-challenged anglers out there this simple method for finding new lures that really work. Go up to a fishing buddy, not a family member. A fishing buddy will listen to you, unlike a family member. Say this to your buddy: "Hey, could you give me a hand finding a good lure?"
"Sure, I'll be right over!" (Two hours later...)
"You needed a hand?"
"Okay. I strongly recommend this -- or this -- "
As soon as your buddy has helped you, you know just which lures to get: whatever ones your buddy didn't.