Bass Fishing Darwin Awards – Part One

Helicopter LureA week or so ago Brian posted a couple of stories about crazy handle designs that had good intention but totally failed in functionality. That got me thinking about other screwy products that people have come up with over the years to help anglers catch fish – or more so, make them money.

One of the craziest ideas ever to come out was the Roland Martin-backed Helicopter Lure. Another would be the Ron Popeil Pocket Fisherman. Both are obvious entries for a Darwin-esque fishing award but we wanted to hear from you about your thoughts of the craziest fishing accoutrements ever brought to market.

We got a few responses from readers but we’d like to get more. So come on and give us your ideas! Use the Contact form in the main header and send us your thoughts with a link to a picture.

Here are the products we’ve received so far. Pretty good stuff if you ask me!

The Hover Lure

The Hover Lure

The Hover Lure – Submitted by RichZ

Here’s a dandy – the Hover Lure. Everyone knows bass eat dragon flies so why not develop a lure to mimic one of them? Well, the folks at Hover Lure decided to tap that market. Not only did they make a bait that quite remarkably resembles a dragon fly, they even included a lily pad mounting system – making it really lifelike, assuming the only place you fish is around lily pads.

Other than the goofy design, there are two design flaws associated with the lure. One is the hook. If you look at the hook, it appears that the lure was made with a fine-wire hook, maybe even an Aberdeen, that no one in their right mind would fish in pad-filled cover – or any cover for that matter.

The second design flaw is the line tie. If you look at the photo you’ll notice that the line is fed through a “guide” at the front of the pad and then tied onto the hook above it. Looking at the “guide” it appears that it’s just made out of plastic, probably too expensive to place SiC in there.

I spent a bit of time on the website to get an idea of how this thing works and if the design flaws had been addressed. I was interested in seeing how the lure behaved after a fish was hooked – did it stay intact or come apart, which might help with the line problem.

What I found are a bunch of videos of the lure in action. Unfortunately, they only show big fish eating the bait – no fighting the fish or even boating one of them. This makes me wonder, do they ever get these fish in? Did the hook straighten out or the line break due to the angle from the “guide” to the hook eye?

I also found it interesting that the videos all seemed to have been shot in the same little area. Also they’re not wide-angle shots that show the lake shore or give the viewer an idea of what kind of water body the angler is fishing. In fact, the way the videos are shot I wouldn’t be surprised that they were shot in a small backyard pond where the fish haven’t been fed in months.

It’s no wonder you don’t see the Hover Lure on the tour circuit. Good idea but badly engineered will always get you on the Darwin Award list!

Fisherman Joe's Swim-n-Lure.

Fisherman Joe’s Swim-n-Lure.

Fisherman Joe’s Swim-n-Lure – Submitted by Jeff Hahn

Here’s a beauty, Fisherman Joe’s Swim-n-Lure. Most of us probably remember the old submarines that you put baking soda in and its reaction with water would cause the sub to sink and float. Well, in the 1950s and 60s toy maker Robert Strickland of Canoga Park, CA decided to capitalize on that technology and make a fishing lure propelled by the same chemical concoction. Hence, the Swim-n-Lure.

The lure had holes in its top and bottom to allow gas to escape and make it act “erratically” in the water. Did it float or sink? I have no clue. One problem with it I can see right off is that baking soda and water don’t react fast at all. In fact, you need a slightly acidic solution for baking soda to give off gas – most fish don’t like acidic water.

Back to the submarine toy, I remember waiting and waiting for that crazy thing to dive and surface. Imagine throwing this bait out and waiting and waiting for something to happen. I imagine there’d be more action imparted on the lure from boat wakes and wind. Riveting.

The other thing I thought about was this “bait” has nothing n it that would make it have any sort of action in the water – for crying out loud, it looks like a casting weight, even a small grenade.

Lock LizardThe Lock Lizard – Submitted by Jay Davis

Lure gimmicks aren’t just a thing of the past and the Lock Lizard proves that. Until Jay sent in his submission I’d never heard of the bait, and now I’m a bit bummed that 20 minutes of my life was wasted looking it up and listening to the sales pitch!

The Lock Lizard is a topwater bait that is supposed to mimic a lizard swimming on the water – like we’ve all seen lizards swimming on the water. It’s a two-piece bait, jointed between the front and rear legs, and featuring a single #4 treble hook on the back end of the bait.

Watching the videos on the website, you see the angler imparting a walk-the-lizard action to the bait and big bass coming from the abyss to eat it up. There are a couple of goofy things with the videos, though. One, you never actually see a bass eat the bait –it’s either too far out to decipher whether it’s actually a Lock Lizard being used or you just see the angler set the hook. It also appears that the video was filmed on a farm pond – another canned presentation using fish that might rarely see a lure. One thing for sure is every fish they bring over the gunwale has the Lock Lizard impaled in its craw.

Will it work? I’m sure it will – people catch fish on cigarette butts and hot dogs for crying out loud. Is it the new Chatterbait or Spook? I highly doubt it. Again, how many pros have you seen throwing this thing? And I don’t mean Roland Martin or Bill Dance. 🙂

So, here are three crazy baits submitted for the Darwin Award of bass fishing. If you have something to add, please send us a note in the Contact form above and we’ll continue adding to the list of crazy ideas!

  • JWM

    Helllll-e-copter lure… HAWWWWWWWW!

  • Jay Davis

    I almost forgot about a great one! The “Trigger Fish” by a company called Think Tank Lures. It has another great feature in the promo videos. They’re all filmed in Mexico on El Salto. The Mexican lake trick is always a go to for introducing new lures.

    • LOL. Yeah Jay, it’s either a private stock tank or Mexico!

  • Ralph Manns

    Did you ever do more about the “Pocket Fisherman.” As a tackle salesperson I hate them. Parents who didn’t understand either fishing or the childhood learning process (need to succeed!) would buy them as a youth’s starter unit.. I think the concept was responsible for the loss of many a would-be angler. I used to try, with mixed results at best, to convince parents to buy the best rod and closed face reel in stock, rather than the pink and blue pretend-rods typical sold for beginners under age 12..