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Fishing With Kenny: Five Lures That Changed Bass Fishing

By Meagan Russell
In Fishing with Kenny
Jul 1st, 2019

article by Kenny Covington

In bass fishing there is always talk of “the magic bait.” Lures that fish haven’t seen, maybe an older lure that’s been forgotten over a period of time or maybe a lure that even after fish have been exposed to them, will still consistently catch fish. These are the true magic ones. A good example is the Rapala Shad Rap. When it was first introduced people would pay money to “rent” the lure for a day’s fishing. That’s hard to believe but it actually happened because the Shad Rap was a deadly fish catcher and under the right conditions it still is.

I have often said in bass fishing nothing is really new. Lures are taken back to the drawing board and simply made better than the original. The spinnerbait now isn’t much different than the original spinnerbait. The hardware is better, the hooks better and other overall appearance of the bait is the same. But it still catches fish.

In this month’s article I take a look at a few lures that with their inception, changed the sport of bass fishing but even after the new has worn off, they still will put fish in the boat. That is a high compliment to give a fishing lure. All of the following lures, if you are serious about bass fishing or even if you’re not, should be in your tackle box:

SENKO The deadliest soft plastic ever introduced to the sport of bass fishing, without question, is the Senko. Manufactured by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits the Senko is the grandfather of all of today’s soft stickbaits on the market. The Yum Dinger, the Tikki Stick, the Strike King Ocho and all others of like design owe their existence to the Yamamoto Senko.

To the eye it isn’t overwhelming but once the Senko is rigged and put into action there isn’t a soft plastic made that is consistently more effective. You can Texas rig it, Carolina rig it, Shakey head, Drop shot, Flip/Pitch or whatever your technique, this lure can be your lure of choice. On any river, lake, stream, or pond that holds bass it will catch fish.

To put the Senko’s demand in perspective, at Yamamoto Custom Baits, one machine runs 24/7 just to produce the green pumpkin/black flake Senko that are sold each year.

CHATTERBAIT What was once a lure manufactured in the garage of Ron Davis, Sr. in Greenwood South Carolina, the Chatterbait, with a lot of hard work, a bit of luck and a few national tournament top finishes, became a national phenomenon. The Chatterbait is another one of those lures that hasn’t lost its staying power after being introduced to the public fifteen years ago. Daytime, nighttime, muddy water, clear water, shallow water or deep water, the Chatterbait catches fish regardless of where it is fished.

Since the introduction of several copycat models of the original Chatterbait, the bladed jig industry is still one of the top selling lures in the fishing world. A few of the lures selling points are that it is easy to fish, even for beginning anglers and it is good for not just bass but other species of fish as well. This lure also gave fishermen a more effective tool when fishing scattered shallow grass.

WHOPPER PLOPPER Larry Dahlberg first introduced this lure as a bait for larger freshwater species such as Northern Pike and Muskie. While the lure was being used for these larger fish, anglers would catch bass, very big bass on their fishing trips. Soon after this topwater lure was introduced out west and became one of the secret baits of the western pros because of its ability to catch a larger size bass. Once the lure gained it big fish catching reputation and slowly made its way east, the rest they say is history.

The Whopper Plopper now comes in several different sizes and most anglers have at least one or two laying in their tackle box ready for action. The size 90 is highly regarded as the most popular size and bone being the most popular color.

ALABAMA RIG The Alabama rig came into prominence when Paul Elias used it to win a major tournament on Lake Guntersville in Alabama. The demand for the lure became overwhelming and anglers clamored to buy whatever ones they could find regardless of the cost. Soon after spin off versions of the Alabama Rig were coming out of the woodworks but regardless of the kind you used, it still caught fish. So well as a matter of fact that some tournament organizations outlawed them in tournament use. I can think of no better compliment to give a lure than to admit it gives anglers an unfair advantage.

One of the spin-offs of the Alabama rig was to introduce much larger versions and smaller versions of the original. The smaller versions are quite manageable and work very well when dressed with smaller swim baits.

SPRO FROG The brain child of Dean Rojas the Spro Frog took frog fishing to a whole new level. Once used for plying thick grass, duckweed and other aquatic vegetation, the Spro Frog allowed anglers to cover all aspects of shallow water fishing with or without grass. The complete line of Spro Frog products has everything from their regular frogs to Poppers, shad/baitfish imitations, junior versions as well as a Baby Frog for ultra-lite enthusiasts.

The beauty of this lure is it minimizes hang ups, is easy to fish, catches numbers of bass and can catch an angler the fish of a lifetime. Very few lures can put that on their resume’. The Scum Frog and other frog imitations may have cracked the window open, it was the Spro Frog series that blew the door off.

Looking back over the lures I just listed it occurred to me that I have caught bass on each one of these baits in all twelve months of the year. Sure, the conditions warranted using the lures at the particular time but that still says a lot about their fish catching abilities. Not many lures can do that. That’s why these lures have helped change the sport of bass fishing.

Well it looks like we have run out of space again for another month. I sure hope we were able to give you some information that will help you catch more fish the next time you are out on the water. Please be careful out on the water, drink plenty of water, and use plenty of sunscreen. Catch one for me and I will see you next month.