Hardbaits – Batteries not Included

Smithwick BlinkerIn the past we’ve talked about lures and other fishing-related contraptions that should never have left the brain let alone the drawing board. We even put a call out for you readers to send us in your nominations for the Bass Fishing Darwin awards. Well, today’s post is along the same lines and we’ll add these gems to the list of Darwin-esque baits.

First on the list is a concept I feel you all may be acquainted with from the recent past – lures that light up. Around the 2006 time frame, a new company, LaserLure, came up with a “new” concept to put laser lights in a crankbait. It was based off a somewhat well-known fact that bass or any fish will follow and attack a laser light that they’ve come in contact with. Seemed logical – somewhat.

But LaserLure wasn’t the first lure company to use light as a selling point to catch bass and here’s proof. In 1978 bass fishing industry stalwart Smithwick developed and sold a crankbait called “The Blinker.” The Blinker was supposedly the first crankbait ever marketed that incorporated flashing eyes powered by batteries. I’m not too sure about that claim as I’m sure I’ve seen a similar lure that was sold in the late 60s or early 70s. Interestingly, Smithwick had designed the bait to flash only when in water, much like LaserLure did with their bait.

Unfortunately The Blinker never made it into the tackle boxes of America’s anglers. This was probably due to a couple of things – one how much they cost. Looking at the “Special Introductory Offer” in the ad, Smithwick said, “You could be one of the first to own a revolutionary bait,” all for the sum of $10.50. If you think about it, crankbaits at the time were going for roughly $3 each. Introductory offers were generally sold at wholesale prices so this assumption would put the retail cost of the bait somewhere around $15.

Now, assume that people were willing to pay the price for the bait. Did it actually work? Although I have no proof of this, if it did work, it would have sold. Remember $50 Rapalas in the 60s? $50 Big-Os in the 70s? I’m sure the pros of the time tried it out but I don’t have any recollection that anyone won or even placed using this lure. As an outcome, the lure failed and was relegated to the discount bins of your local Piggly Wiggly. I wonder if LaserLure did any market research prior to their investing millions of dollars into their company?

1973 Self Propelled Lure adSecond on the list is another nugget of failure in the hardbait world. This time it’s Captivated Lures Inc.’s “Lulu, The Self Propelled Lure.” (Come on, that’s got to make you laugh.)

It’s difficult to tell if Lulu is a topwater bait or a submersible bait. In any event, the claims by the company state that you can direct this bait to the fish up to 300 feet away from the boat or shoreline. Really? How do you do that? I don’t see a handheld remote?

Invention is the mother of necessity and anglers are constantly looking for way to improve their catch. Unfortunately so many inventors get wrapped so tightly around the proverbial axel that they lose sight of reality or they become so invested monetarily that they have to forge ahead. These two little mistakes are proof of that.