It’s amazing what happens when you post something on the internet. What you think people will want to read you get few responses to and what you don’t think many will care about becomes a widely-read item. The former was the case with the story we posted last week about Rip Nunnery.
Rip’s story last week became the most talked about story we’ve posted since the piece we did about Aaron Martens’ first year on the SoCal tourney trail. Numerous emails and Facebook likes to mention.
Then, tonight I talked to an old friend, Jon Kuch, from SoCal who I grew up fishing with. Jon said he had a bunch of Rip’s old baits still in the package and an old pic of Rip, that Rip gave him, from the 1969 Eufaula tournament. He was kind enough to send them on to me to check out and I just had to share them with you.
In the lead-in picture, Rip and Gerald Blanchard hold their 180-plus pound 30-fish one-day limit of fish on a boat oar. I don’t think this picture has ever been published. Story has it that Rip needed help with his 15 fish so some anglers helped him load them on a boat oar and the weight broke the oar on the way to the scales.
The other pictures show a couple of Rip’s baits, his Bush Hog Spinnerbait, version 1 and 2, along with a bait he called a Twig Pig. The Twig Pig is a Matty-style bait – a jig with a spinnerblade attached to the hook. I can’t believe this bait hasn’t been resurrected since the 70s – it was a killer ledge bait then and would be today (I want the proceeds from any company that reintroduces it from now on!).
The Matty, or Twig Pig as Rip called his version, was made from original football head molds (I mean molds made from the guy who invented the football head, Larry McCain), and were dressed with a vinyl skirt, piece of red plastic worm and then a #2 or #3 Indiana blade was affixed to the hook via a barrel swivel.
Cast the bait out on top of a ledge and let it sink to the bottom. Then, grind the reel three or four turns and stop, let the bait sink and repeat. One of the times you let the bait fall, that familiar “tap” would happen and then in typical Rip Nunnery fashion, you’d reel like a mad man until the bend in your rod was to the point you couldn’t hold the rod up anymore and then you’d set the hook. The outcome would either be a fish in the boat or a broken rod handle and a fish in the boat.