The Lonely One – Rabble Rouser

Rabble Rouser Lures ad circa 1976.

Rabble Rouser Lures ad circa 1976.

A couple weeks ago Brian wrote a piece on the Lil’ Tubby crankbait produced by Tubby Tackle Inc and there was a lot of comments about the bait and others. One of those other companies mentioned was Rabble Rouser Lures.

There isn’t much written about the history of Rabble Rouser Lures of Fort Smith, AR, but I bet you sure remember the baits themselves. The old cliché, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” sure fits in more than one way when it comes to Rabble Rouser lures. An uglier lure there never was and their construction appeared shotty also.

I’m sure designer Douglas Parker was trying to bank on the theory that predator fish strike at a prey’s eyes. He also must have had some initial success with his lures for him to file for an expensive patent in 1972. His patent, which covered the eyes of the bait, was granted in 1975 unfortunately his success selling the baits to the masses wouldn’t pan out. From the research I’ve conducted, through period magazines and the never-lying Internet, the company folded around the time “Disco Sucks” shirts became popular – for you youngsters, that’d be around 1977.

Rabble Rouser Lures ad circa 1975.

Rabble Rouser Lures ad circa 1975.

The problem I had with these lures was they looked to be cheaply built. Even though I could get two of them or more for the price of one Balsa B, I felt my hard-earned lunch money was better spent on the Balsa B. I would be willing to bet a lot of other anglers, much old than me (RichZ), felt the same way since the lures and company didn’t last much longer than an Evinrude Ficht.

As with all lures and companies, though, they make some good baits and have ardent followers. For example, a gentleman named Mike commented on the Lil’ Tubby post, saying he’d take all the topwaters we’d all be willing to give him. I’d really like Mike to come on here and let me know why the lure was so good, seriously I’d like to know, or rather is he a collector?

At any time on eBay these days you can find these baits going for anywhere from $3 to $10 with an occasional bait being listed for $20. Obviously someone likes them – maybe I should have tried them back when they were available.

  • There was a time when if you were going to fish a tourney at South Watuppa Pond in Fall River, Mass, you either threw a orange and black Rabble Rouser or you just prayed for a bite, any bite.

    • Well I guess I was wrong there Rich. Lol. I would have never pegged you as a Rabble Rouser user. Rabble Rouser yes, though.

      What the heck made them good? Or was this the only place they worked for you?

      • RichZ

        I may have caught a hand full of bass on them other than at S Watupa, but for some reason, it was singularly productive there. At the time, if there was a crankbait bite going on most anywhere, you’d see mostly Deep-Wee R’s hanging from rod tips at a tourney. But at Watupa, it would be Rabble Rousers. There were lots of theories as to why, mostly having to do with sound and vibration. I thought they had a lot of what’s now called “hunting” action. In other words, they kind of wandered on the retrieve.

  • Al H

    I have a couple Rouster baits I still use. I keep them in a special box with the warts, balsa-b’s and others I can’t mention.

  • Scott Jarvis

    Had that Rabbler spinnerbait. Yellow one had one of those cheap vinyl skirts that would not even remotely wiggle in cold water. Never caught a fish on it 🙁

  • Bruce W.

    Yes, Rabble Rousers did look cheap, but I caught a lot of fish on them, on Lake Tenkiller Ok. A man from Sallisaw, Dennis Rogers, who won a lot of Eastern Oklahoma derby’s in the 70′ was sponsored by and rep’d for Rabble Rouser.

    At the time, my father owned a Marina on Lake Tenkiller, Dennis came by in his “wrapped” boat, and was showing off the big fish he had caught. He gave us six or so lures, and told us two banks to fish. Dad and I caught the heck out of them. So next time Mr. Rogers came around, Dad bought quite a few to sell on the boat dock. And it was a seller for us, but we knew the fish it could catch, a pushed it. I fished them in the spring, even weighed a 7.5 caught in a tourney on the Rooter. Maybe there are some other Eastern Ok, on this site, that had success with them. Remember the Wiggle Wart, looked kinda cheap, but look at the springtime fish it’s caught.
    great site!

  • Bruce W.

    just a little more…
    Norrthwest Arkansas Times
    21 March 1975

    The Oklahoma Rabble Rouser, Dennis Rogers, is an
    Oklahoma tournament angler who has been described
    by many fishermen as one of the most knowledgeable
    and competitive young pros on the national bass
    circuit. In 1974 Dennis won the World’s; Open
    Championship and by doing this, he won the ,
    world’s largest trophy, which stands six feet tall
    and is studded with five diamonds. He also took
    home more than $5,600 in cash and prizes.
    The 1974 Worlds Open Championship was held Oct.
    26-27 on Lake Tenkiller in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma
    Rabble Rouser’s secret weapon . was a crawdad
    colored Root-R, which was put on the market two –
    weeks after the tournament. Also in 1974, Dennis
    qualified for the PSI Tournament of Champions and
    ended up fourth in this competition. To qualify,
    he was one of the top 25 point men in the whole
    RABBLE ROUSER LURES 12 pkg. 1.19 25 pkg. 1.79