Twenty Five Years of Baits Named “RC”

Rick Clunn won his fourth Bassmaster Classic on the first baits that sported his initials - The RC1 and RC3 crankbaits by Poe's.

Rick Clunn won his fourth Bassmaster Classic on the first baits that sported his initials – The RC1 and RC3 crankbaits by Poe’s.

Poe’s Lures was founded by Californian Milton Poe in the 1950s. Rick Clunn was born in 1946. It took approximately 40 years for their two legacies to join up on the most public stage in bass fishing, the 1990 Bassmaster Classic on the James River.

Twenty five years after Clunn’s fourth Classic victory, most fishing fans associate his initials with the RC 1.5, a square bill crankbait from Lucky Craft, initially marketed by Bass Pro Shops, which has more recently been renamed. In many respects it spawned the rebirth of square bills in the public’s eye as the first widely-distributed and popularized plastic bait that acted like the traditional balsa lures. For other anglers with slightly longer memories, Clunn’s initials call to mind the Rico topwater popper, one of the first high-end Japanese lures to gain favor on American soil. Before either of them, though, there were the RC 1 and RC 3 crankbaits from Poe’s. [Read more…]

Board Game or Bored Game?

In 1977 two-time Classic winner Rick Clunn leamed up with King's Kids Inc to produce the board game Lunker. Unfortunately it turned out to be a flop.

In 1977 two-time Classic winner Rick Clunn leamed up with King’s Kids Inc to produce the board game Lunker. Unfortunately it turned out to be a flop.

Fishing is typically thought of as an activity to be pursued outdoors, enjoying nature and trying to figure out its ways. That hasn’t stopped many entrepreneurs from trying to take the outside into the indoors. Not surprisingly, most of them have failed to capture what makes our sport so great. [Read more…]

My First Bass – Dave Lefebre

Dave Lefebre at the FLW Cup talks about the first bass he caught. Photo Heidi Roth.

Dave Lefebre at the FLW Cup talks about the first bass he caught. Photo Heidi Roth.

We all remember our first bass – or at least the first bass we set out to catch. The memory always holds a deep place in our hearts. But just because bass pros make their living at catching bass doesn’t mean the thought of their first largemouth or smallmouth doesn’t bring back a flood good memories. In fact, it was usually that first fish that paved the way for them choosing their profession. Dave Lefebre is no different. [Read more…]

From Marilyn Monroe to Ott Defoe

Lauri Rapala - the founder of Rapala Lures.

Lauri Rapala – the founder of Rapala Lures.

Rapala hard baits continue to play a significant role in the efforts of both top-flight tournament anglers and weekend warriors alike. For example, the DT6 contributed to Randy Howell’s winning catch at the 2014 Bassmaster Classic and the DT Series in general has developed a dedicated following. The Shad Rap has been a cold weather staple for three decades. Other lures like the X-Rap and the Husky Jerk continue to fill store shelves and anglers’ boats.’

As a result of these later products, the original Rapala Floating Minnow gets scant attention from the tournament set, many of whom dismiss it as a “pond bait” Occasionally it gets some press, and on the Rapala website Bernie Schultz is quoted as saying: [Read more…]

Crankbait Master David Fritts

David Fritts at ICAST 2014. Photo Brenda Serrano.

David Fritts at ICAST 2014. Photo Brenda Serrano.

Over the course of time there have been a handful of anglers who have become famous due to the crankbait. Rick Clunn, of course, has made a solid career out of throwing crankbaits and is the reason for the squarebill’s resurrection at least twice since the mid-70s. Paul Elias is another angler who’s kneeling-and-reeling technique brought him fame – and fortune. But if one were to take a poll from anglers over 40 who the best professional crankbait fisherman is, I would bet the results would turn out to show David Fritts as number-1. [Read more…]

A Fishing Line You’ve Never Heard Of…?

1986 Fishing Facts ad for the French fishing line "Tortue."

1986 Fishing Facts ad for the French fishing line “Tortue.”

Seems like the more we browse through these old books and magazines, the more little discoveries we come across. Case in point is this ad from 1986 from a Fishing Facts magazine for Tortue Fishing Line. Anybody ever hear of it? I know I hadn’t, so I had to do a little research. Hardly any other ads for them, no sponsored bass pros to my knowledge, but surprisingly, they’re still around.

So “Tortue” is French for “turtle,” which explains why one appeared in the ad. It was started as a French company, but I later found the following on the RapalaWorld website; [Read more…]

It’s Called Crispin’

Jimmy Crisp with two of the fish that helped him beat Larry Nixon in the 1983 Western Bass $100,000 Invitational on Table Rock Lake. Photo November 1983 issue of Pro Bass.

Jimmy Crisp with two of the fish that helped him beat Larry Nixon in the 1983 Western Bass $100,000 Invitational on Table Rock Lake. Photo November 1983 issue of Pro Bass.

Rapala has long been associated with bass fishing ever since Lauri Rapala’s creations made it from Finland to the United States in the ‘50s. The Original Floating Rapala would continue to be one of the most popular baits until it started losing favor with anglers as different lure manufacturers popped up and newer baits, including Rapala’s Fat Rap, took over shelf space.

By the early 1980s the Floating Rapala still sold but sales were down a fraction what they’d been in the decades prior. Then one angler changed all that with one win – a big win – in the summer of 1983 on famed Table Rock Lake, MO.

That angler not only breathed life back into the Floating Rapala, he arguably brought to light a new technique and what is still considered today one of the most important methods in fishing – jerkbaiting. [Read more…]

The Bass Aren’t the Only Ones That Eat Them

RebelThere are a couple of reasons we all buy bass lures. First because we want to catch fish and second, we have an addiction to buying them. I don’t know how many baits I’ve bought over the course of my life but I’m sure I don’t want to know that answer and I’m doubly sure that my insurance agent doesn’t either.

One thing that’s happened over my life is I’ve seen a lot of lure companies go by the wayside. Some of them just went out of business for whatever reason be it bad designs, not enough revenue to make the industry worth while or, as we’re going to talk about here, a bigger fish buys them out. [Read more…]

Riding the Storm – The Wiggle Wart

Storm Wiggle Wart Ad from early 1976.

Storm Wiggle Wart Ad from early 1976.

When you consider the tens-of-thousands of lures that have been developed over the course of time, very few have become cult legends. Of course the original Rapala Floating Minnow, the Heddon Zara Spook and Fred Young’s Big-O fit this bill to a tee.

Unfortunately, some cult favorites, for one reason or another, are still around but not made in the same manner or fashion as the originals. The baits don’t work as well (if at all) as the originals and this creates a frenzy among anglers to buy all the remaining originals. Good examples are the original Bagley’s Diving Balsa Bs that had the lead implanted in the lips, the original Smithwick RB1200 Rattlin’ Rogue and, if you talk with Charlie Campbell, the original Spook itself, which had the line tie coming straight off the nose of the bait. [Read more…]

Happy 30th Anniversary to the Shad Rap

Rapala Marilyn CoverThere appears to be a throwaway line in the middle of the “Tackle Trends for ’83 article” in the November/December 1982 issue of Bassmaster:

“The Normark Shad Rap in four colors is the result of new design that works best with light line for maximum action when cast or trolled, while maintaining depth on slow erratic retrieves.”

While author C. Boyd Pfeifer wasn’t necessarily passing judgment on the Shad Rap’s validity, readers might note that this understated introduction of Rapala’s new crankbait came amidst longer descriptions of all-time classics like the Brawley jigging spoon, the Worth Rat Tail Wriggler worm, the Whopper Stopper Herty Gerty Skirt, the Shamrock Tickle Tail skirt and the Producto Missing Link. [Read more…]

The Birth of the Swimbait

“Lunker” Bill Murphy with a 14-04 he caught out of San Vicente Reservoir. Photo Western Bass Magazine Spring 1979 Issue.

There have been quite a few firsts that have come out of California with respect to bass techniques. No one can dispute that Flipping didn’t come from the Golden State and arguments can be made that a specific form of split-shotting and doodling were developed on the “left” coast. Although the drop-shot rig was brought over from Japan (via Connecticut some might say), it was the California anglers that made the technique famous when they began winning tour-level events with it. [Read more…]