Success is Coupled with Many Failures

Tom Mann's Hardworm, circa 1984.

Tom Mann’s Hardworm, circa 1984.

Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” That quote means a lot coming from a man who many consider one of the fathers of the industrial revolution.

In the course of fishing tackle history, there have been hundreds if not thousands of bait makers who have burned out like meteors. There are also a few names that survive as legends of the sport. James Heddon, Bill Norman, Bill Lewis, Charles Spence to name a few. In that list of legendary bait makers is an Alabama man named Tom Mann. [Read more…]

The New Vibration Bait – Rat-L-Trap

1977 Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap ad.

1977 Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap ad.

Vibration baits have been around since the 50s with baits like the Whopper Stopper Bayou Boogie, the Cordel Spot and even the Heddon Sonar and Super Sonics. All these lures had a good following but it wasn’t until Bill Lewis came on the scene in the late 60s and early 70s that vibration baits really came to the forefront of the angling world. His invention? Well he took a standard vibration bait, put a bunch of BBs in it and named it after his truck – the Rattle Trap.

What Lewis did was take a good bait style and improved on it tenfold. But it didn’t take hold immediately. The first recollection of his success didn’t even come from his own boat. Rumor has it that Bill Lewis and a friend were fishing Toledo Bend reservoir one day in the late 60s and came upon a group of anglers watching another pair of anglers wax the fish. It was a tough day where Bill and his buddy hadn’t caught a fish when they happened upon the excitement. [Read more…]

Pre-HydroWave Sound Emitting Electronics

An early Hydrowave predecessor?

An early Hydrowave predecessor?

If you’re a bassin professional, you can’t take too many chances by not using something that might be giving your competitor an advantage. Every ounce can be critical, and just one extra fish a day may make the difference between a check and a long drive on to the next event. For example, there’s probably not a single FLW or Bass Elite Touring Pro that doesn’t have at least one side imaging unit of some sort on their boat, even if they’re a dedicated shallow water kind of basser.   Similarly, I’m starting to see more and more boats with HydroWave units mounted on them. I haven’t spoken to any of the pros myself, but I’m guessing some of them aren’t overly convinced it makes a difference. Still, if you finish behind too many guys too many times who claim that their unit was key, you at least have to go into defensive mode. [Read more…]