5 Old School Lures That Still Catch Fish | Kayak Angler Magazine | Rapid Media
A worm rigged up on a hook. Photo by Jon Russelburg

Sometimes older is better

My grandfather was a barge pilot on the Ohio River. He always kept a rod and reel on the boat and went fishing during his downtime. All he needed was one tackle tray with a couple of lures and he always caught fish. Here’s a few lures that have stood the test of time, old school favorites that still flat out catch fish.

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The Panther Martin Brass Body Spinner. Photo Courtesy: Panther Martin

1) In-Line Spinners: The original spinner bait. Brass spinners made by companies like Panther Martin and White Fox may have been a mainstay of anglers tackle boxes since at least the 1950’s. The flash of the original brass or gold, and unique sound of the spinner make this lure irresistible to almost every freshwater species.

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The Heddon Crazy Crawler. Photo Courtesy: Heddon Lures

2) Heddon Crazy Crawler: Does this bait look familiar? It should. Wake baits have regained popularity in the last few years with the River2Sea Whopper Plopper and Teckle Sprinker, but Heddon has been making the Crazy Crawler before other companies even thought about wake baits. James Heddon started making his own lures in 1898 and sparked the artificial lure revolution. You can’t talk about old school lures without mentioning Heddon. 

The Crazy Crawler is true to its name. It jumps across the water manically leaving a large wake behind it. The arms on the Crazy Crawler move frantically and effectively, so effectively that a number of other lure manufacturers have copied the design and glammed it up. Other lures may be prettier now, but few are more effective.

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The Arbogast Jitterbug. Photo Courtesy: Arbogast Lures.

3) Arbogast Jitterbug: Keeping with the topwater theme, the Arbogast jitterbug is one of the deadliest topwater baits for night fishing. The bottom lip is angled just right so it creates a wake behind it, much like the Crazy Crawler. You have to fish it slow so it will leave bubbles on the water. If you’re patient with this lure it will pay you back with huge fish.

The Nichols Lure's Ben Parker Hair Jig. Photo Courtesy: Nichols Lures.

4) Bucktail Jigs: It seems like new jig technology comes out every week. The heads are shaped for swimming, punching and every other type of fishing you can think of. The plastic skirts are made from all different lengths and types of plastic to entice anglers to buy. But maybe these companies are just trying to chase the success of the original bucktail jigs.

Bucktail jigs have been a staple in saltwater fishing for as long as anyone can remember. The hair from the tail of a deer is extremely buoyant and makes for some great action under water. There is an old story that bucktail jigs were so effective that the United States included some fishing line and a jig in their Army pilot’s survival kit in case they were shot down.

A few years ago, white “hair jigs” became all the rage on the bass fishing circuit. You couldn’t find one on the shelves. It’s funny how the big new thing usually ends up actually being an old favorite. Some lures just catch fish year-round, in any type of water.

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The Zoom Finesse Worm. Photo Courtesy: Zoom Baits.

5) The Simple Plastic Worm: THE classic fishing bait. A lot of anglers oldest memories are digging up worms to fish in a family pond or a local lake. It’s obvious why plastic worms are an old favorite. The length of the worm gives it great action under water, flailing with every bounce off the bottom. 

Ever since there have been people tying strings to sticks to catch fish, people have been using worms as bait. I always keep one rod and reel with a Texas rigged worm tied on, year-round. Sure, there are probably thousands of versions of plastic worms, they can vary in length, thickness or color. But every soft plastic company is trying to do that same thing, mimic those worms you dug up to fish in a pond.

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