Rebel Blackstar – The Product of Too Much Thought

Rebel Blackstar ad from 1988.

Rebel Blackstar ad from 1988.

By 1988 there many major advances in technology had made it to the forefront of bass fishing. Kevlar had made it into boat hulls, liquid crystals were starting to show up in depthfinders and it was difficult to buy a bass rod that wasn’t made out of graphite. Some of these breakthroughs worked – others didn’t – which brings us to the breakthrough Blackstar technology that Rebel was touting.

It’s one thing to come out with a product that sports a new technology but Rebel decided to incorporate five new concepts into one lure. In my opinion, only one was worthwhile and another falls into the “maybe” category. Three of the ground-breaking technologies, though, made you really wonder about the designers and if they had any experience with fish other than a Mickey-D’s Filet-o-Fish sandwich.

The first, and probably the craziest, was the “ultra-sensitive” line-tie, which was supposed to increase sensitivity and allow you to feel a fish when it hit. Really? On a crankbait?

The color scheme of the crankbaits, although not a big detractant, was a bit goofy.The baits  were touted as having an internal fluorescence – but they didn’t say what that design feature would do for the angler. If you’re going to promote something as a fishing-catching dream, you better have a reason for it.

Rebel also made a lot of noise about how the Blackstar baits were aerodynamically and hydro-dynamically designed for better casting and retrieving. I can see that claim with the crankbaits but take one look at the jerkbait. Having it jointed does nothing for casting distance.

Okay, on to two of the better ideas.

It slices it dices it'll wax your car and .....

It slices it dices it’ll wax your car and …..

The first thing that strikes me as revolutionary is the 360-degree ball joint featured on the jerkbait. This, in my opinion, is something every lure manufacturer should offer in their hardbaits. There are a couple of companies from Japan that actually offer their baits where the hook hangers are swivels instead of the standard non-moving eyes and to my knowledge the only tackle manufacturer in the states that offers something like it is 22nd Century Bait Company – makers of the Triple Trout swimbait. This design feature is so important with hardbaits due to the fact that a fish can leverage the bait and pull the hooks. The swivels – or ability for the bait to rotate – pretty much eliminates that problem.

The last feature, and one I’ve always been on the fence about, was their use of blackened out hooks, line tie and hook hangers. Personally I think the flash of the hooks will sometimes attract a fish to bite.

I give Rebel kudos for trying to design a revolutionary lure but at the same time I wonder if they even field tested the thing before they spent the money on molds, ad campaigns and packaging. I also wonder if Denny Brauer and George Cochran feel a bit goofy about backing these baits.

  • Thanks for the Blackstar post! Interesting stuff and one of my favorite collectable lures. Rebel has had some home runs, but this was definitely the biggest strike out in its 50 years of making lures. I’d say it was ahead of its time, but I’m afraid that time will never come.

    • Hey Lawrence, yeah this bait wasn’t one of their better choices. But, to lend a kudo it was roughly the same year they brought back the Pop-R. 🙂

  • I have one!