The Original Buzzbait – Lunker Lure

1977 ad for the Harkin Lunker Lure.

1977 ad for the Harkin Lunker Lure.

Around 1976 news started buzzing about a new bait that was a real big-fish getter. In fact, Rick Clunn credited his 2nd-place finish on the dead sea known as Cordell Hull in the 1976 Bassmaster Trail.

Here’s what was written about that lure in the 1976 November/December issue of Bassmaster Magazine by Bob Cobb.

“Rick Clunn of Montgomery, Tex. started fast, then faded. ‘I should have blown everyone out of it the first day with 22 to 25 pounds of bass,’ he said. He was dejected over missing three good bass, up to five pounds.

“The 29-year old Conroe Lake guide weighed in nine bass and 17-lbs. 5–ozs. It was the only thing that kept the first-round weigh-in from government relief as a disaster area.

“Clunn added an air of mystery about a ‘secret’ topwater lure he used to excite his first-round catch thaat included the daily lunker leader, a five-pound largemouth.

“‘The lure was the key, but things changed,’ said Clunn, who revealed later that he was ‘buzzing’ a large prop-type lure called the ‘Lunker Lure’ in plop-plop fashion through flooded stick-ups and bushes along the old channel of Indian Creek. Clunn had picked up the lure during a bass fishing tournament in Illinois earlier.”

As with any new bait or technique, everyone at the time was going nuts about what the new buzzing lure was and where to get it. Well, for those who lived in Illinois, it was an easy deal. Just call up Harkins Tackle Inc. and order some or go to your local tackle store and have them order them for you.

There had been a number of surface-type spinner/buzzbaits made over the years, including Floyd’s Buzzer and the Al Foss Shimmy Wiggler. The problem with these baits was how fast you had to reel them in in order to get them to the surface. The new Lunker Lure, on the other hand, had a new prop design (actually Patented) and the bait was lightweight and would come to the surface quicker than any other buzzing-type bait before it. Not only that, it made a nasty squeak when the prop started to wear that drove the fish nuts. In fact, many anglers would attach their Lunker Lures to their sideview mirrors so when they drove down the road, the props would wear faster – and thus make that awful squeak better.

Lunker Lure is still in production, although it’s not owned by Bill Harkin anymore. You can find them online at

  • banks pope

    I never will forget using the lunker lure for the first time. It was a 90+ degree day in 1977 on Logan martin lake fishing in 20 feet deep water throwing into shade. The spots would wait until the lure was 10 feet or less from the boat and then slam!!! the lure down so hard you would think your wrist was broken.My partner and I boated 10 spots that weighed 48 lbs.Just one of many great days fishing that great lure. I also remember holding the lure out of the car window heading to the lake, making the lunker lure whistle better when it was reeled in.