Here’s another one from the “what’s old is new” category. Many of us have implanted “punch skirts” into our flipping and pitching in recent years. They’re skirts that fit in between your slip sinker (usually tungsten) and your hook (often a straight shank, heavy-gauge flipping hook) to provide the bulk of a jig with the weedlessness and versatility of your favorite soft plastic.
While creative anglers have been manufacturing their own punch skirts for years, their modern usage was popularized by western anglers like Bub Tosh, whose Paycheck Baits began marketing their effectiveness over five years ago. He made them more durable that the standard spinnerbait or jig skirt, hand-tying them and adding a bead that would withstand the relentless banging that comes with plunging through the thickest cover the lake has to offer and hauling out big bass. The need for a more durable version was necessitated in part by the rise of tungsten weights, which wreaked even more havoc on traditional skirt collars.
While Tosh and others may have perfected the product, by no means was it new, as you can see from this November 1987 ad from Culprit, featuring the “Captivator,” a skirted slip sinker that despite being a “captivating idea,” never really caught on.
Maybe it was a matter of timing. In 1987, braided line wasn’t widely used, tungsten wasn’t in play, and the punching technique was therefore limited by the available equipment. It was limited to certain pockets of the country, particularly Florida, the state in which Culprit operated then and continues to operate.
Today there are dozens of punch skirts available. A quick glance at the Tackle Warehouse website shows over a dozen in stock and ready to ship, available in a wide variety of patterns. Companies including Eco Pro and Strike King even package a combination skirt-weight that is reminiscent of the Captivator.
Oddly enough, however, despite making a variety of punch baits, Culprit does not currently sell any form of punch skirt.