Spinnerbaits 1977

Doc Moorehead's Floozy spinnerbait with a plastic curl-tail skirt. This skirt, which came out before Mister Twister's rendition, resulted in a law suit.

Doc Moorehead’s Floozy spinnerbait with a plastic curl-tail skirt. This skirt, which came out before Mister Twister’s rendition, resulted in a law suit.

After four days of Classic coverage we’re back home and back to the grind. So, we’re going to take a little diversion this week and look at old ads. First up on the list is spinnerbaits – a bait that played a huge role in the first six Classic wins – either as the main bait or as a supplement to the winning angler.

In 1971 Bobby Murray won on a Zorro, in ’72 Don Butler won on an S.O.B., in ’74 Tommy Martin used a Fleck Weed Wader, as did Jack Hains in ’75 and in ’76 Rick Clunn followed suit with the Weed Wader.

You can’t count the wins that KVD and others have had on the bladed lure – they’re too many. The crazy thing is, as great as the bait is, I can’t recall the last time it played a part in a major win in the last 15 years. Makes you wonder if the pros even use it anymore.

A while back while going through all the 1977 magazines I have I noticed a large number of spinnerbait ads. It makes sense when you think of the year. Everyone was winning on them and, therefore, everyone was making them. Some of the more well-known manufacturers were:

  • Bass Buster (Virgil Ward)
  • Jackson Lure Co. (Little Jewel/Billy Phillips)
  • Bumble Bee (Bill Huntley)
  • Cordell
  • Fleck
  • Lindy/Little Joe (Lindners)
  • Nasty (Doc Moorehead)
  • Norman (Bill Norman/Jimmy Houston)
  • Rogers (Jim Rogers)
Virgil Ward's Bass Buster Scorpion.

Virgil Ward’s Bass Buster Scorpion.

It kind of surprised me that with all the Strike King ads in that year’s worth of magazines (over 100) that I didn’t find one spinnerbait ad from that hulk of a company. There are others I was surprised not to find such as the Bomber Bushwhacker.

Then there were the companies I’d never heard of, such as:

  • BassTrap
  • Daz-E-Mae
  • Hustler Tackle
  • Kobra Head
  • Laddie Lures
  • Scamps Lure
  • Tennessee Tackle

Most of these smaller companies I found in magazines such as National Bass, American Bass Fisherman and other organizations who probably didn’t have the ad costs as Bassmaster did.

BassTrap Lure's Tandem Spin.

BassTrap Lure’s Tandem Spin.

In all there were 17 ads trying to get you to buy spinnerbaits, many from smaller tackle companies that not many knew about unless you were in the general area they were being produced. Cutting my teeth in the waters of the West, we had our own local favorites such as Rip Nunnery’s Bush Hogs, Tom Markey’s Bushmaster and the Ross’ KR spinnerbaits.

After spending three solid days at the Classic XLV show and seeing tens-of-thousands of blades for sale, you know that people are still catching fish on them. But the results from the second-tier events up through the top-tier wouldn’t let you believe it. It all makes you wonder when a tour-level angler is going to pick up the blade again and post a win.

Below are a number more spinnerbait ads from the 1977 era. If you know anything about the more obscure baits, we’d like to hear about them. Just drop us a comment in the comments section below.


Billy Phillips' Little Jewel spinnerbait.

Billy Phillips’ Little Jewel spinnerbait.


Bill Huntley's Bumble Bee spinnerbaits.

Bill Huntley’s Bumble Bee spinnerbaits.

Cordell spinnerbaits.

Cordell spinnerbaits.


Daz-E-Mae spinnerbaits.

Daz-E-Mae spinnerbaits.


Fleck Weed Wader spinnerbaits.

Fleck Weed Wader spinnerbaits.


Hustler Tackle spinnerbaits.

Hustler Tackle spinnerbaits.


Kobra Flat Head spinnerbait.

Kobra Flat Head spinnerbait.


Laddie Lures' Tru-Trak spinnerbait.

Laddie Lures’ Tru-Trak spinnerbait.


Lindy and Little Joe spinnerbaits.

Lindy and Little Joe spinnerbaits.


Mepps spinners and spinnerbait.

Mepps spinners and spinnerbait.


Norman's Jimmy Houston Red Man spinnerbait.

Norman’s Jimmy Houston Red Man spinnerbait.


Scamp's Bank Robber spinnerbait.

Scamp’s Bank Robber spinnerbait.


Tennessee Tackle 1977.

Tennessee Tackle 1977.

  • Gene Borne

    Terry, It was the Shannon Twin Spin-nerbait(BFA Aug ’14) that was the predecessor of the Spinnerbait for me! It was a killer bait rigged with a Pork Black Widow Eel trailer on the Colorado River!

    • Terry Battisti

      Gene, The Old Shannon! LOL. Rip’s Double Bass Boober was supposed to be the contemporary twin spin to that bait. Funny you fished the Shannon and then went on to the spinnerbait as we know it today! I was too young to have fished the Shannon but I sure heard a lot about it back in the 70s…. Thanks for the comments!

  • Really nice lookback. Maybe the memory isn’t quite as sharp as I’d like to think it is, but I was surprised by the # of baits with the coil style wire tie bend. These days, it only exists in Musky spinnerbaits for the most part. In my recollection, most of the spinnerbaits had gone to the twist bend by then. I guess not. The R bend was just beginning to make an appearance about this time. I also note that the Scorpion was still using a plastic skirt at the time, but the soldered closed swivel loop of the earliest Scorpions and Tarantulas had gone by the wayside by then.

    What I find most surprising is the lack of a McCollums (Bush Hog/Top Hog) ad. Maybe by that time they’d gotten the Walmart deal and didn’t need to advertise any more.

    • Terry Battisti

      Thanks Rich. Always look forward to reading what you have to say. I’m not sure if I’m tracking your comment on the “coil” style line tie, though. You mean like the Norman bait?

      Also, McCollums?? That’s news to me…. You have anymore info on that company?

      • Terry, the COIL style line tie is one seen on the Norman spinnerbait and numerous others in your piece. It was the first one commonly used in bass spinnerbaits — thus the name “safety pin spinners”. These days, it’s pretty much relegated to musky sized spinnerbaits and to overhead spinner harnesses for attachment to a jighead. It was replaced in popularity by the twisted eye (example the Fleck ad) which eventually gave way to the “R” bend. Which being the fastest and cheapest to make, dominates the market these days, although there remain plenty of twisted loop models available. Pretty sure the R bend first appeared on a Lindy single spin.

        Can’t believe you never heard of McCollums Bush Hog. I believe they closed up shop after Clay McCollum’s first stroke, which if memory serves, was around 1990. But through the 80s, they were everywhere — including Walmart.

        Two others that were pretty big in that era were the Cordell Buck Spin (sold for a buck), and the Mann’s Grub Spin, which had a Stingray grub instead of a skirt.

        Another thing from that era you never see any more — hammered copper blades. I think it was Blakemore that started that craze.

  • Andy Williamson

    Good article. Good memories. I always had problems with keeping the plastic skirt on my Floozy spinnerbait, so I would intentionally tear the small curly tails off the skirt and use them on a small jighead for panfish. Perhaps super glue would have helped, but I have always preferred a flat rubber skirt on a spinnerbait.
    The original Gapen Weedcutter (for bass) with its willowleaf spinner and “coil” or safety pin style line tie was a good one, as evidenced to me by Gapen rep Ben Overbaugh during day one of my first bass tournament at Big Stone Lake, SD/MN in 1975, the Soo Bassmasters 1st Annual Invitational.
    Jim Roger’s Lures also made a spinnerbait like Cordell’s Spring Killer, with a “spring” on the upper arm. It was called the Spring Rat.
    Another super throbbing, killer spinnerbait, perhaps overshadowed by the cleverly named “Scorpion” and “Tarantula” was Bass Buster’s Tandem Spin. That was the only name (Virgil Ward) gave it…… “Tandem Spin”.

    • Terry Battisti

      Andy, yeah, it probably wasn’t the best design but the fact that Mister Twister sued him over something they hadn’t ven thought of would leave a sour taste in anyone’s mouth. I have an open appointment to talk with Dan about this and hoe top tell that story sometime soon.

      I never have heard of a Gapen. You don’t happen to have one do you?

      The Bass Buster Tandem Spin……. another great bait. 🙂 Always look forward to your comments Andy.

  • Lucas Hubble

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