May 20, 2012
By Ned Kehde
Since last year, Cory Schmidt, who is an In-Fisherman field editor, has been working on an article about the Reaper renaissance.
After Schmidt completes his field and pen work, this seminal piece of piscatorial journalism will appear in In-Fisherman's 2013 Bass Guide. I am eagerly awaiting the publication of Schmidt's craftsmanship.
Until then, here is a perfunctory history of its origins for those anglers who aren't versed on the history of the Reaper, as well as a few words about what is currently transpiring.
The original Reaper was created in the early 1960s by the late Harold Ensley of Overland Park, Kansas.
Ensley originally designed it to use with his five-foot spinning rod for pursuing lake trout in Canada. But he caught untold numbers of bass and other species on it.
What's more, when Guido Hibdon of Sunrise Beach, Missouri, was a young guide on the Lake of the Ozarks in the late 1960s, the Reaper was one his favorite baits.
Ted Green of Mar Lynn Lure Company manufactured it in five, three- and two-inch sizes, and eventually, the five-incher became a favorite with bass anglers at many venues across the nation. In the 1990s, however, the Reaper fell out of favor with most bass anglers.
According to Schmidt, the Reaper's effectiveness has recently been rediscovered, and its inveigling untold numbers of largemouth and smallmouth bass at a wide variety of waterways.
In conjunction with the Reaper renaissance, a soft-plastic bait that is similar to the Reaper has recently been introduced by TriggerX. It is called the Flappin' Grub. In essence, it is part beaver tail, part grub and part Reaper.
Like the Reaper, the Flappin' Grub is designed to be dressed on a jig with an exposed hook. Unlike the Reaper, the tail of the Flappin' Grub can be split, which creates a kicking motion during the retrieve.
I have been told that it's an extremely alluring bait when it is affixed to a 1/16-ounce or 3/32-ounce Gopher Tackle Original Mushroom Head Jig, and one of the most effective ways to present this combination to the largemouth and smallmouth bass is to drag and occasionally deadstick it.
It is available in two sizes, three inches and four inches, and 11 colors.
Another bait that is similar to the Reaper and Flappin' Grub is the Stingray Grub that Ethan Dhuyvetter of Manhattan, Kansas, is manufacturing. It is similar to Tom Manns' Original Sting Ray Grub, but the version that Dhuyvetter makes is more bass friendly than the saltwater model that Manns Bait Company manufactures. Dhuyvetter's grubs are hand-poured, and he will make any color that an angler desires. For more information see: http://www.hookupsfishing.com/#!stingray-grub.
Dhuyvetter is also manufacturing what he calls the Grim Reaper, which can be seen at http://www.hookupsfishing.com/#!grim-reaper. Like his Stingray Grub, these are hand-poured and are available in a host of colors.
Dhuyvetter recommends dressing his Stingray Grub and Grim Reaper on Outkast Tackle's 1/16-ounce Money Jig. At times, he opts for a 3/32-ounce Outkast jig on the 4 1/2-inch Grim Reaper.
In the eyes of several Midwest finesse anglers, TriggerX's three-inch Flappin' Grub and Dhuyvetter's Grim Reaper and Stingray Grub look as if they will entice largemouth and smallmouth bass galore. Thus we are eager to read comments by other anglers regarding their observations about these baits and the Reaper renaissance.
And I hope everyone is as eager as I am to read Schmidt's' astute insights in the 2013 Bass Guide about this renaissance.
As the 2012 angling year unfolds, we will post more words on Dhuyvetter's
endeavors on Kansas waterways with his Reaper and Stingray Grub. After Schmidt's' story appears, it will spawn more words for us to post.