Cotton’s Crabs – Say What?

1972 Fishing Facts sale ad for Cotton's Crab (click to enlarge)

1972 Fishing Facts sale ad for Cotton’s Crab (click to enlarge)

Alright, so the title alone probably has you wondering just what in the heck this post is going to be about. While it certainly might be fun to see what ideas people could come up with as to subject matter, we are in fact staying on topic and venturing into the realm of crankbaiting today.

The Cordell Tackle Co. is well known for a variety of baits, many of which we’ve mentioned before on the site. Names like Crazy Shad, Red Fin, Boy Howdy, Hot Spot and Big-O. One you don’t hear mentioned much was a diving bait in the style of the famous Hellbender or original Bomber. It was called Cotton’s Crab, and it was a backward running imitation of a crawdad. It had a metal lip that was bent, most likely making it a mid depth diving lure, unlike the straight metal lips of the deeper diving Bombers and Hellbenders. Some models also came with a small spinner blade attached to the nose of the bait like in the 1972 Fishing Facts ad pictured above.

First use in commerce for the trademark on the name lists the date of Dec. 4, 1972, though the Fishing Facts ad appeared in June of the same year. Registration date was assigned in July of 1974, and the name, and probably with it the bait, appears to have expired in 1983. I looked around to try and find some more information on the bait, but info is very limited. I was only able to find a single past listing on eBay where 4 of the baits went for $20. The lure was not pictured in the 1971 Cordell book on bass fishing featuring Bill Dance, though most of their other popular lures were. However, I was able to find the following mention of the bait in a Feb. 5, 1975  sports section article of The Eagle newspaper out of Bryan-College Station, Texas.

“As most dedicated bass fishermen know, the bass will move shallow toward the mouths of the creeks after a rain, because the creeks are bringing in run-off water — and therefore a new source of food. There are several things to consider there, too. First, the prime place to look for the majority of the fish to be feeding will be at the transition zone where the muddy’ water tapers off into a more semi-clear state. Again though, stick right along the creek channels. As for baits, the ol’ spinnerbait is undeniably the best overall, but since crayfish or “crawdads” are one of the species the bass feed on in run-off water — baits such as the hell-bender, bomber or Cotton’s Crab also do a bunch of catchin.”

The bait actually looks like it could be a good fish catcher still today, and I think it would be fun to track one down to see what you could do with it as the lure isn’t that far off of the modern day square bills. Perhaps one of our readers will recall this bait, or even have one still sitting around in their possession. While never gaining the notoriety of many of the other metal lipped divers of the time, I’d have to imagine that just carrying the Cordell name was worthy of many sales.