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Three Retro baits for Bass
When it comes to the classics, there are three classics that have been overlooked in the rage of all the ned rigs, swim baits and $25 top water lures. While the aforementioned baits have their place in the fishing world for sure, the 6 inch worm, the hula popper and a simple balsa crankbait can be retro enough that the last bass to see one of these classics may be the grandmother of a mature largemouth!
In the world of topwater baits the Arbogast Hula Popper was introduced to the fishing market over 60 years ago and is still available today. Named for the action and the nylon skit on the backside of the bait resembles a hula skirt. The action is and the sound is still unmatched after 60 years. It can be retrieved at a fast rate like a frog crossing quickly to shore or even at a very slow rate, with the unforgettable “gulp” sound! The strikes are usually equally as vicious and exciting, having bass engulf the entire bait for a topwater excitement that has lasted overtime and where many of today’s baits were morphed from the timeless Hula Popper!
One of my first memories as a bass angler was the discovery of the plastic worm, and specifically the Culprit red shad in 6”. Growing up in Connecticut this was a staple for several years fishing lakes Such as Candlewood which is gin clear and demanded light line and unique action that the Culprit worm provided. According to Culprit the bait was designed in 1977 and given the action by a ribbon tail design which in the late 70’s and 80’s was as revolutionary as today’s most sophisticated baits. While it was unknown why the red shad color was a staple in every anglers tacklebox, the reason was simple it was one of the most productive baits ever to be designed. The action of the ribbon tail resembled a fast-moving minnow when fished in a swim manner, or could it be the action of a crawfish when bounced Texas rigged and fished weightless worked over a weed bed certainly resembles a small snake working its way through the water. Regardless of what your rigging preference, the Culprit worm is responsible for consistently producing fish and should not be overlooked.
When you hear crankbait, you ma ask why is this old school? Well, it isn’t but the Balsa crankbait is the original wobbler and nobody built it like Poe’s in the late 80’s and early 90’s they were Manufactured with precision and fairly simple paint schemes. While today’s baits certainly have the precise print matching of a bluegill, shad or your favorite live bait, there was something about the human element needed to retrieve and calibrate a balsa bait to mimic a bait as unique as the angler retrieving them. One of the most productive patterns is bouncing the lure off the bottom allowing the light balsa to give an unmatched action! To slow the rise, it was a simple process of a stick on tab, used on jerk baits to give it the rise you want for the unique pattern you have discovered.
The above three baits certainly have been morphed into some great engineered modern-day baits, and as it is often said fishing tackle is often designed to catch the angler as well as the fish. So, when you are out at your favorite local tackle shop or you are a garage sale junkie, look for that old Plano tackle box and embrace the lures you can discover like a opening a treasure chest of timeless staples of the bass fishing community!