Paul Elias played a critical role in the development of the Mann’s Baby 1-Minus, the first crankbait that specifically aimed to stay shallow rather than reach new depths. After a near win at Lake Okeechobee, he came to Mann’s with the idea for the bait.
“I was on my way to Mann’s after a second-place finish on Lake Okeechobee thinking I could have won with a shallower runner,” he told Mike Pehanich of Bassmaster two decades later. “I thought, ‘We have the deepest running crankbait. How about making the shallowest?'”
The result was a lure that wouldn’t dive deeper than a foot, no matter how hard you cranked, thus the name. Elias proved to be his own best advocate when he won the 1988 Top 100 Super B.A.S.S. event on Okeechobee. The Baby 1-Minus, wasn’t his only tool in that event – he also used a Rat-L-Trap and a Mann’s Mannipulator worm to amass his winning catch of 53-06, but it played an important role in his victory.
In the intervening twenty plus years, the lure has undergone some changes, but it has remained a staple in the tackle boxes of most shallow water anglers. It is deadly wherever submerged aquatic vegetation comes close to the surface but doesn’t reach it, and it is a strong substitute for a spinnerbait or chatterbait when fish won’t react to those presentations. The bearded kneel-n-reeler wasn’t the last pro to win a tournament on it, though.
Do you remember the next major victory attributed to the Baby One-Minus after Paul’s win in 1988?
The answer and winner will be posted on Thursday.