In the late 70s and early 80s every bait manufacturer got on the “realistic’ bandwagon and was producing the lifelike lure. If I’m not mistaken, we can blame the surge on Jim Bagley and Lee Sisson at Bagley Lures for coming out with the Small Fry series, a series of crankbaits with exact silhouettes of forage fish like bluegill and crappie.
Then around the 1980 timeframe, a new company arose from the mix called Crankbait Corporation. One look at their Fingerling Series of baits produced by the new company sent wild dreams through anglers’ minds. With their realistic silhouette and finishes anglers just knew they were going to catch fish. At first, they flew off the shelves.
Unfortunately it didn’t take long for anglers to realize that what looks like a fish may not actually work. I’m not saying they didn’t attract fish or hook fish, though –they actually did to some degree. The problem was they didn’t hold up. I have no idea how many were returned to tackle stores nationwide – either just the bill or head of the bait or the bait with no hook hangers – but at one point we had more broken baits returned by customers than we had hanging on the wall.
Evidently Crankbait Corp, although they state they’d tested the bait extensively (so they said in their ads) for color, shape and action they didn’t seem to do much in the line of testing with respect to durability. The high-density foam didn’t hold up to the typical forces exerted by a bass when hooked and the hook hangers and lips would pull out or the body would break just ahead of the front hook.
It’s too bad, really – the baits looked great. Thankfully we have a number of companies that are actually producing some great look-alikes these days that actually catch fish and stay together.
Do you have a Crankbait Corporation story?