Oh the days when I could go into a TG&Y or Woolworths, head down the tackle isle, pick up five purple Tarantulas, pay the cashier $4.95 plus the 6% California sales tax and head to my local golf course pond for some fishing after school. This was a pretty common affair for me as a 12-year-old kid.
I have no clue how many Bass Buster Tarantulas, Beetle Spins and Scorpions I went through between the ages of 12 and 14 but it was a lot. Then at 14, I started working at the tackle shop and my days of the “cheap” lures were over – I had to buy the “better” Markey spinnerbaits at $2.99 and the Beetle Spin turned into a “crappie” lure. I wasn’t a crappie fisherman – pun intended.
Then when I was around 17, still in high school, one of my fishing buddies and I headed to the “course” for an evening of dodging balls and catching bass. He worked the sportfishing boats out of Long Beach and didn’t bass fish much anymore, while I was already three years into tournament fishing.
We get to the pond and I notice he had a black Tarantula tied on. I laughed at him, told him why it was “no good” and commenced fishing. One cast later he set the hook into a decent 3-pound Los Alamitos Golf Course bass. Next cast, the same. Sixteen or 17 fish later, I’m begging him for one – he just smiled and went on kicking my butt.
Bass Buster may have made inexpensive baits but they worked. That’s all that mattered. Yeah, there are still Beetle Spins, worms and underspins but there are no short-arm blades like the old Tarantula and Scorpion that I know of nor is there any company making a skirt like that old thick, flat rubber. Thank you Mr. Ward for making such good baits.
Maybe it’s time someone resurrect them.
Ned Kehde of In-Fisherman Magazine recently wrote a significant article for his In-Fish Blog regarding four legends of the past, including Virgil Ward – the original owner of Bass Buster Lures. To read this piece, click here.