Riding the Storm – The Wiggle Wart

Storm Wiggle Wart Ad from early 1976.

Storm Wiggle Wart Ad from early 1976.

When you consider the tens-of-thousands of lures that have been developed over the course of time, very few have become cult legends. Of course the original Rapala Floating Minnow, the Heddon Zara Spook and Fred Young’s Big-O fit this bill to a tee.

Unfortunately, some cult favorites, for one reason or another, are still around but not made in the same manner or fashion as the originals. The baits don’t work as well (if at all) as the originals and this creates a frenzy among anglers to buy all the remaining originals. Good examples are the original Bagley’s Diving Balsa Bs that had the lead implanted in the lips, the original Smithwick RB1200 Rattlin’ Rogue and, if you talk with Charlie Campbell, the original Spook itself, which had the line tie coming straight off the nose of the bait.

Another of these cult classics gone wrong is the original Storm Wiggle Wart – the one manufactured by Storm prior to its sale to Rapala.

Although Storm had been advertising in Bassmaster for a couple years prior to 1976 with nice, full-glossy ads, the first Wiggle Wart ad I’ve come across is this one – in black and white cartoon form. Why storm didn’t pimp the Wiggle Wart as they’d been doing the Thin Fin is beyond me. Maybe they didn’t have time to get a full-glossy ad made and sent in before printing. That thought is negated, though, with future ads as Storm continued to run this ad for another year.

Original Storm Wiggle Wart in package.

Original Storm Wiggle Wart in package.

What got me about the ad was it signifies the humble beginning of a lure that would become synonymous with Table Rock Lake and numerous other lakes in which it was like American Express – don’t leave home without it.

The Wiggle Wart for over 20 years was manufactured by Storm in the same manner – the same molds, the same plastic and the same weight system. It caught the snot out of the fish. Then Rapala – a company known for making some of the best baits in the industry, bought Storm and it all went downhill from there.

Rapala had new molds made, reportedly used a different base plastic and came out with the “new and improved” Wiggle Wart. Unfortunately, “new and improved” wasn’t the case. Anglers went on a spending spree to buy up all the original Storm-manufactured baits still on the shelf.

  • Add Candlewood Lake in CT to the list of lakes where an original Wiggle Wart is a springtime staple. Along with a silver foil Shad Rap.

  • Jay Davis

    The original wiggle warts weren’t that great. What people loved was the “erratic” action but the “erratic” action is caused by the plastic of the bill was so thin and soft. If you left them out in the heat, ruined. If you ran one into a dock piling too hard, ruined. If you just got a bad one out of the packaged. Ruined. And that part happened more than I care to remember. They were just about untunable and when you did get one tuned in, a big fish or a run in with a hard bottom would knock them back out of tune. There’s a lot of ways to make any a good crankbait hunt. filed a low spot in the tip of the lip, put a split shot on the shank of the rear hook. Or, if you’re dead set on them you can still buy the Cotton Cordell Wiggle O. Same pliable plastic, same weird swinging/hunting action and you can find them in clearance bins across America.