By Capt. Mel Berman
Some years back an antique lure club gave me an old restored plug as a thank-you gift for speaking to their group. This old beauty is mounted on a pedestal and sits in a place of honor on my bookshelf. Yet, I’ve often toyed with the idea of taking that old wooden lure and “field testing” that baby.
This brings me to another interesting premise. I believe those old lures we used years ago, which caught the bejeebers out of fish then, would do a yeoman’s job today. Why not? Fish are fish. They respond today exactly as they did some 30-years ago when I first arrived in the Sunshine State.
Granted, we all use the latest fishing sensations such as the DOA Shrimp, MirrOlure TopDog and “Catch 2000,” Love Lures Sluggers, 12-Fathom Slam-Rs, smelly baits like Mr. Twister “Exude” and Berkley offerings, plus a host of other new concept lures that are most certainly very accomplished fish catchers. Yet I wonder if I flung those old goodies like the “Trout Tout,” “Salty Dog,” and all sorts of bucktail jigs I used decades ago, would they still be as good fish catchers as today’s latest whiz-bangs.
I remember my revered 7-M-23, gold black and yellow MirrOlure. I worked that bad boy along sea walls and mangrove edges, under docks and in the open flats around the sandy potholes. And I didn’t do it for the “casting practice.” That plug flat out caught just about everything that swims. Yet, there is sits languishing in the depths of my old tackle box.
Years ago my friend Capt. Lee Edrington introduced me to an innocuous looking jig called “The Sure Thing.” It was a sort of shrimp shaped body on a specially designed jig head that was easy enough to work. Lee’s favorite color was “Smoke” – a dull-looking gray. Working that bait around our secret spots of that era, I can recall reeling in big snook, one after another, on that plain looking jig.
Talk to any old timer and they will tell tails of wonderfully productive days fishing with plugs like the venerable Zara Spook, Cisco Kid, Maverick, or Dalton Special. They spoke with such reverence about those old favorites that it makes one wonder why they ever gave them up.
The reason I use a lot of lures of more recent vintage is because, like most fishing fanatics, I am an easy mark for the lure (no pun intended) of any new design that is purported to be an improved fish catcher.
And then there is the curious migration pattern of baits in my tackle box. As new lure designs show up on the radar screen, the older ones get shoved out of the way in favor of what is perceived to be a new “silver bullet” that will supposedly attract fish like the Pied Piper.
Nevertheless, as the old song says “everything old is new again.” Most of the latest artificials are in reality nothing more than new design concepts that are virtually the same as those older ones. It’s just that they’re so shiny, so new, so beautifully packaged – and we must have it!
Now how about planning a trip, as I intend to do, working only my old favorite “throwback” lures. You know – the ones that worked so effectively those many years ago. Bet it’s going to be fun to see what happens. Bet you catch just as many fish.