John's Journal...

Click to enlargeThe Revival of Old Lures Continued

Jimmy Mason

EDITOR’S NOTE: Bass wise-up to lures the more frequently they see them. When anglers buy old lures and fish them, they quickly discover that the old lures are catching as many, if not more, bass than they did when they were new. The reason is that these older lures are ones that the bass haven’t seen before. Anglers fishing these old lures have new confidence in the old ones that win big-money tournaments. We talk this week with some of the nation’s top pros to learn what old lures they’re still using and why.

Jimmy Mason of Rogersville, Alabama, the American Angler's National Champion and Angler of the Year in 2002, has qualified for the Bassmaster Classic in 2003 – 2005 and also fishes the FLW circuit. Fishing since he’s learned to walk, Mason has fished tournaments since the age of 12.

Click to enlarge“I like to use the old Cordell Spot with a single rattle because it has a nose-down fall when you cast it out and then spiraling down to the bottom,” Mason reports. “I catch numbers of bass using this drop bait, but I also rip it off the bottom when it hits and let it fall back again. Too, I like to use it when I’m fishing in a crowd of people using lipless crankbaits. I’m a guide on Alabama’s Lake Guntersville where during the spring and summer, a line of boats may be all down the edge of a weed line, casting lipless crankbaits. Somehow in the evolution of lipless crankbaits, someone decided that if one rattle was good, then two or more rattles would be even better. Most lipless crankbaits have more than one rattle in them. By using the old Cordell Spot with only one rattle, I’m fishing a lipless crankbait that the bass haven’t seen in awhile. I can fish down a bank behind several other anglers and catch the bass they haven’t caught, although I may be using a lure that looks like the lure they have. I like to fish old lures because they look and sound different coming through the water and even have different wobbles than modern lures do. When you’re fishing in a crowd, you can use these old lures to give the bass a different presentation than what they’ve seen in the past and often catch bass that the crowd won’t take. I believe that the more fishing pressure a lake has, the more-effective old lures are. I also enjoy fishing the Model A Bomber, a classic crankbait with one rattle that seems to have been around forever. I particularly like the fact that you can fish with the Model A Bomber as soon as you take it out of the package, because it runs true. The old Model A Bombers with the rear Click to enlargescrew that held the hooks on were made out of a different plastic than what the modern Model A Bombers are. Since more fishermen have demanded the old Model A Bomber, the Bomber Bait Company has reformulated the plastic originally used and is now using it in their new lures.

“I’m convinced that fishing classic baits no one else has gives me an advantage in the tournaments I fish. Last year in the Bassmaster Tour event at Clark Hill, I was fishing in a creek with five other contestants, all of us fishing crankbaits. All during the day, they’d go down one bank, and then I’d come in behind them, fishing that same bank with a crawfish-colored Model A Bomber with a single rattle. Although the bass on those banks were seeing an awful lot of crankbaits, I had a crankbait that none of the bass ever had seen or heard before. I caught more bass in the creek each day of that tournament than any of the other contestants. I’m confident the other contestants were fishing with the latest and greatest crankbaits, most of which probably had multiple rattles. I believe that in that tournament, fishing an old bait that no one else had was a major key to my success. Too, I’ve seen Lake Guntersville anglers pay as much as $50 for an old Rebel Jumpin’ Minnow, probably the greatest schooling-Click to enlargesmallmouth top-water lure ever made. Most people have forgotten about this surface lure with its heavy tail weight that allows you to make long casts and has a side-to-side, walk-the-dog action. I have about 50 of these old lures, but I limit myself to taking only two out at one time. I don’t want to run out of them, and I don’t want to use them up quickly. I’ll tell you how much I believe in this old lure. If a smallmouth came up, attacked my Jumpin’ Minnow, went down to the bottom and got the lure tangled in a tree top, I’d pull my clothes off in front of God and everyone else, swim down the line and get that bait back. This bait has caught more schooling smallmouth that weigh 5 pounds or more on the Tennessee River than any other bait I know.”

Check back each day this week for more about "The Revival of Old Lures Continued"

Day 1: Randy Dearman
Day 2: Shaw Grigsby
Day 3: Larry Nixon
Day 4: More with Larry Nixon
Day 5: Jimmy Mason



Entry 349, Day 5