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Venture Lures' Heckler

Venture Lures' Heckler
A green-pumpkin Heckler.

In February, we began exchanging emails with Michael Simonton of Berlin Heights, Ohio, about several of his soft-plastic creations.

He is the proprietor of Venture Lures, which was established in January of 2018, and since then, six of the soft-plastic baits that he manufactures have been catching the eyes of some Midwest finesse anglers. These anglers have a hankering for hand-poured baits, which is an art and tactic that Simonton has mastered.

Thus, we asked Simonton if we could publish gear guides for our Midwest Finesse column about his baits. He said yes and sent some samples for us to examine and write about.

Here is what we discovered about his Heckler, which is his rendition of the round goby that abides in Lake Erie, where he also works as a fishing guide.

According to our measurements, the Heckler is exactly 2 ¾ inches long.

Its head and predorsal area are three-eighths of an inch long and three-eighths of an inch wide at its widest spot with a circumference of about 1 7/16 inches. Its epidermis is smooth. Each side of its head is endowed with a significant gill membrane. The tip of the head is adorned with a pronounced upper and lower jaw.

The portion of its body that lies between the end of the predorsal area and the beginning of what looks like its caudal peduncle area is about 1 3/16 inches long. Its epidermis is smooth. It is seven-sixteenths of an inch wide at its widest spot with a circumference of 1 3/8 inches, and at this spot, the height of its side is seven-sixteenths of an inch. This spot is situated about thirteen-sixteenths of an inch from the tip of the Heckler’s head or lower jaw. Its dorsal is convex, and near the junction with the caudal peduncle section, it is endowed with a minor adipose fin. The ventral area is slightly concaved. The circumference, height, and width of this section diminishes in size as it approaches the junction with the caudal peduncle.

The caudal peduncle stretches to the junction with its caudal fin or tail. It is fifteen-sixteenths inches long. Its epidermis is smooth. Its dorsal is endowed with a thin and subtle fin that is about three-quarters of an inch long and is slightly more than one-sixteenth of an inch high at its highest. The ventral area is slightly convex with a width of slightly more than one-eighth of an inch at is widest area. Its side is three-eighths of an inch high at its highest spot, which lies about seven-sixteenths of an inch from the tip of the caudal or tail.

The caudal fin possesses a unique shape. An anatomist might say it is an abstract rendition of an abbreviated-heterocercal tail. On each side, there is a slight seam that separates the caudal fin from the caudal peduncle.

The caudal peduncle and caudal fin generate a significant amount of gyrations and undulations.

It is manufactured in these hues: Goby Plus, Green Pumpkin, and Green Pumpkin PBC. They are infused with garlic scent and salt, and it is buoyant.

A package of eight costs $4.50.



  1. Here is a link to Venture Lures' website: It provides information about its baits, and it is a retail venue. too.
  2. Here is a link to Venture Lures’ facebook page:
  3. Midwest finesse anglers will affix the Heckler to a small mushroom-style jig with an exposed hook, which will allow them to employ it by using all six of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves or slight variations of those retrieves. The size of the jig will be determined by the one that allows an angler to have what Midwest finesse anglers describe as a no-feel presentation, or in other words, if the Heckler rig can be felt while an angler is retrieving it, a lighter jig is needed. The jig’s hook and bait keeper will be inserted between the Heckler’s lower and upper jaws. Here is a link to the Midwest Finesse column that describes how to employ those six retrieves: The Heckler’s convex ventral should enhance the gliding motif of the swim-glide-and-shake retrieve.
  4. Here is a link to our gear guide about Venture Lures' Esseantial Swimmer:

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