The first time I came across the Action Lures’ Breathing Worm was around 1978. They were hanging on the wall at the shop I worked at – already having a number of birthdays there – collecting dust. They looked too gimmicky for me to lay down the $1.99 required to liberate them from their pegs, especially when my hard-earned $2.50/hr wage was generally spent on Bagley’s DB2s and Smitty hand pours.
Then one day an angler who I really respected came in and bought the entire stock. I asked him, what he was doing and he just smiled, paid the bill and left.
After that incident, another respected angler came in asking where the “Action Worms” were. I told him they were sold out. He left the store in a hurry, presumably to go down the road and find a cache.
Turns out the worm had just won a number of events and it was hot. Unfortunately the company had recently gone out of business and people were going all over to find the ones that were left.
The bait was primarily used as a trailer for the old flippin’ jigs – I’m talking hand-tied bucktail banana head jigs complete with poly-pro weedguard that Dee Thomas popularized – but had had recent success as a Texas-rigged worm. In fact, the smoke-colored variant was a no-brainer at Castaic and the River lakes for a long time – unbeknownst to me, a 14-year-old wannabee.
The bait became in such demand that stores and anglers were selling them for unbelievable prices per worm. I got my hands on a few (seven) of the smoke ones and caught a number of fish on them before they were torn to shreds.
My boss at the time, Bob Prescott of Bob’s Fishing Tackle, decided to make a mold of the bait and go into production. What followed was a lot of money was put into the molds but the mold guy never came through. A few thousand dollars later, he scraped the idea.
So, after seeing this ad, I wonder if someone will buy the old Breathing Worm molds and bring them back into production? Heck, it’s not that crazy an idea when you consider Flip Tail, who was out of business for 30-some-odd years, came back to life last year. Come on someone, bring back the Action Worm!