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.
But the technique back then wasn’t known as jerkbaiting. No, it was defined by the angler himself (and other locals familiar with the technique) as Ripping. But to everyone who fished the 1983 Western Bass $100,000 Invitational on Table Rock that summer, the technique would be known as Crispin’ – as in Jimmy Crisp.
Crisp at the time had only fished 10 Bassmaster events along with a number of local Midwest tournaments. The $3,000 entry fee for the Western Bass Table Rock event was a tall order for a guy who hadn’t won more than $3,000 fishing before. But he felt he had a chance.
What transpired opened up a completely new form of fishing for the masses – anglers and industry both. Unfortunately Crisp died February 26, 2013 in Seymore, MO.
What follows is the original tournament write-up from the July/August 1983 issue of Western Bass magazine. I hope you enjoy reading this piece of bass fishing history.