What I am sure of is that there is a little of Joel Janecek in all of us. Something new on the market, we just
have to have it. Most of us that have been fishing for any length of time have boxes upon boxes of lures and
many of them never used. On a fishing trip in Maine, during the early 1970’s, I was shown an attractor lure
called, “Cow Bells”. The lure consisted of a series of different size spinner blades, five in all, the largest about
the size of a hand, to the smallest about the size of a quarter attached to a wire. At the end, a spoon or crank
bait was attached. Of course I had to have it. I tried it there; never caught a fish with it and it has been i n one
of my boxes since. A sententious saying that I have heard all my li fe is, “Lures were made to catch fisherman,
not fish”. That is a terse truth if there ever was one.
Many lure fads come and go. Many have stood the test of time, for example: Rebels and Rapalas. Some like
the Big O’s lose favor about as fast as they come on the market. During the early 1970s’, it seemed that you
were not a complete angler unless you had a tackle box full of Big O’s. At that time, a contemporary at my
work place, named Jon, owned a cabin here at Smith Mountain Lake. He invited several of us to spend a
weekend at his cabin. We had just arrived when a stranger pulled up next to us and inquired about fishing.
Jim told the stranger he needed to get some Big O’s. He said, “You’re not going to catch any with it, but it
casts like a bullet. I will have to admit we did catch a few fish with the Big Os’. Similarly in the early 70’s, I
made a trip to SML from Northern VA. I happened to stop by Cedar Key Lodge. At that time it was still
operated as a fishing lodge and they had a tackle shop on the premises. I asked the proprietor what lure I
should be using. From under the counter he pulled out a “Hellbender” colored liked a Christmas tree
ornament. He said the lure may look funny, but catches more fish than any other on the lake. Of course I had
to have it. In fact I bought several. On one of my first several cast with the lure, I caught a largemouth bass
that weighed 6 pounds. I thought then that the “Hellbender” was the answer to my prayers. I fished the rest of
the day with the lure, never had another bite. On a few subsequent trips, using the lure, the days ended with no fish. Now the lures are stored somewhere in one of my boxes.
An antithesis of the two cases mention in the above paragraph was a day I spent fishing on the Shenandoah
River’s south fork during the late 60’s. I was having no success and tried just about every lure I had carried
with me. I bought along several original floating Rapalas. Until this trip I had never used them. Before
giving up, I decided I‘ve nothing else to loose, give the Rapalas a try. During the retrieve on the very first
cast, I watched a nice sized smallmouth bass follow the lure to a point about 15 feet from me. I stopped the
retrieve and the small ie hit the bait. I ended the day caching a lot more fish with the Rapalas. I believe I can
go anywhere in the world and catch fish on the original Rapalas, either the floater or countdown. I think the
same about the original Mepps in-line spinner.
More on lures next bulletin.