Sportsman’s Products – The Super Floater

A 1977 Sportsman's Products ad for their Super Floater worms.

A 1977 Sportsman’s Products ad for their Super Floater worms.

Reading through a bunch of old magazines recently I found an ad for a lure company that was really key in the West when I was cutting my bass fishing teeth back in the ‘70s. The company was Sportsman’s Products and the bait I’m talking about was their Super Floater worm.

The claim of these worms was they could float a standard worm hook, which back then would have been a Mustad 33637 straight sproat hook or equivalent Eagle Claw, and float them they would. They made a great worm to be fished on a Carolina rig or even Texas rigged, but the problem with them was you could drive one into a 2×4 with a tack hammer. To say they were hard would be an understatement.

A 1964 ad for Sportsman's Products "Catch 'Em Quick" worms. If you look closely at the worm package, you'll see their claim that the worm floats.

A 1964 ad for Sportsman’s Products “Catch ‘Em Quick” worms. If you look closely at the worm package, you’ll see their claim that the worm floats.

The plastic used for the bait must have needed to be that consistency in order to handle the foaming agent used or in order to release from the mold so they didn’t break. In any event, that hardness made it difficult to sell alongside the Mann’s Jelly Worm and the Mister Twister Phenoms as well as getting a hook to go through the bait. In order to get the baits to a softer consistency anglers would boil them in water for a minute or two, which generally took them to a more appealing softness.

Sportsman’s Super Floaters came in two sizes I was familiar with, 4 inches and 6 inches, and also an 8-inch version I’ve never seen.

Although a few of the anglers I knew used the worms as they were intended, most anglers used them as jig trailers. This was so true, in fact, that when an angler came into the shop and asked for them we instantly went on point asking where the jig bite was on.

A 1/2-ounce Larry McCain designed football head with a cut down 6-inch Supper Floater as a trailer. Note the vinyl skirt and wire weedguard. Circa 1970.

A 1/2-ounce Larry McCain designed football head with a cut down 6-inch Supper Floater as a trailer. Note the vinyl skirt and wire weedguard. Circa 1970.

What made the worm such a good jig trailer was the same reasons it made such a good worm to be worked off the bottom – it would stand a 3/8-ounce jig on its head.

In order to make the bait into a jig trailer, though, there was some work required. First you had to figure out how long of a trailer you wanted. You’d then determine which bait you’d need, the 4-incher or the 6-incher. Then, using a single edge razor blade, you’d cut down the length of the worm from the egg sack to the tail, forming two or four legs.

The next step was to cut part of the head off so you had a plastic cylinder and then cut that into a pie-shaped wedge. With the aid of a soldering iron, you’d then weld the wedge into the “crotch” of the split tail, thus keeping the tails splayed apart. There you have it, a custom jig trailer that had a ton of action and floated a jig.

Some vintage Super Floaters from my tackle collection. Left to right: 4-inch purple cut at the head and ready for welding, 6-inch black cut into four lags ready for welding, 6-inch brown and purple and last a 4-inch purple uncut.

Some vintage Super Floaters from my tackle collection. Left to right: 4-inch purple cut at the head and ready for welding, 6-inch black cut into four lags ready for welding, 6-inch brown and purple and last a 4-inch purple uncut.

I’m not sure when Sportsman’s Products went out of business but it’s been a while ago. I’m also not too sure how popular the baits were outside of the West – even though they were made in Marion, IN. Maybe Brian will chime in here with some info on that.

As many magazines as I’ve read over the years I can’t remember the company ever advertising much and these are the only two ads I’ve ever seen. In fact the one ad from 1964 is pre-Super Floater days as far as I know.

Anyone else out there ever hear of these great baits? If so, leave us some words in the comment section of this post.

  • In the early 80s, we used to rig them with an insert weight in the tail. They would stand on the bottom, and the line and hook would be out of the muck and the ‘black snot weed’. They sure were some stiff worms, though.

    • Terry Battisti

      That’s an interesting method to fish them Rich. Never thought of that before.

  • Rob Cline

    How does one contact Terry? My family is the Sportsman’s Product Founders.

  • Joe from South Carolina

    Hi,
    Joe from a South Carolina, love these worms ! I actually Loved the stiffness of them, I still have a few left of the purple with the red tail, but my favorite all time worm of any kind is the green with the black stripe. Totally devastating, have won three tournaments in a row fishing them at three different lakes, Wateree, Fishing Creek, and then a two day at Lake Greenwood. The second day of that one my buddies were knocking on my door asking me what I was using, when I told them “The same thing I used the last Two tourneys ” they said “Super Floaters” and I said “Yep, lol ”
    But I used a technic that most didn’t get, I would insert the point of the hook a little further down the worm, I mean just a little, this would put a bend in the worm, kinda like a hockey stick, with the handle being the tail. The hook would be the belly of the worm, you could walk this thing through anything, like a weed less Zara Spook !
    Sometimes i would hit the bank, walk it out,if they didn’t hit it then, I would just kill it, with a number three Owner hook it would slow fall, all you would see was a boil, Set The Hook ! LoL really good times.

  • SCMark

    I live in S.C. and I used these worms almost exclusively in my younger days, whether at a local pond or Santee-Cooper, Wateree or Lynches or Little Pee Dee River. My go-to color was black with a red tail and I fished it on a basic Texas rig. Caught so many bass on those things it was unreal. I happened across this article just because I was doing a search to see if the worms were still made. Wishful thinking, I guess.