John's Journal...

Click to enlargeThe Revival of Old Lures

Paul Elias

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’ll talk this week with some of the nation’s top pros to learn what old lures they’re still using and why.

Click to enlargePaul Elias of Pachuta, Mississippi, who has tournament bass fished for 30 years and participated in Bassmaster Classic since 1979, has won seven major bass-fishing tournaments as well as the 1982 Bassmaster Classic.

“Old lures are a little secret that tournament bass fishermen don’t talk about, but we all carry tackle boxes full of them. We pull these old lures out for certain situations and at specific times when new lures won’t fit the bill. One of my old favorites is Mann's Little George, which I mainly fish when I’m trying to catch schooling bass. I’ll swim the Little George through the school, let it fall and then hop it off the bottom like I do a worm. From the time that lure was first invented, and I started fishing it in 1976, I’ve never taken it out of my tackle box. I know that since I’m using the Little George, and no one else much is using it, my odds of catching bass are much greater than if I fish a lure that everyone else does. The Little George has gotten me out of several tough situations. Anytime I need one or two more bass to finish a limit, I’ll pull out the Little George. I consider it just Click to enlargeas hot a bait now as it ever was. The old Mann’s 20+ with its wide bill is still my number-one deep-diving crankbait. I can fish it around and through cover much better than I can other crankbaits. I also like it because it has an unusually-wide wobble that the bass seldom see.

“My favorite color is a brown back with chartreuse sides and an orange belly. Most people like to use the latest and greatest crankbaits, so they’ve forgotten about the old Mann's 20+. I also still break out the old Bagley square-billed crankbaits in different fishing situations. More companies are coming out with square-billed crankbaits, and you’re seeing a lot of handmade square-billed crankbaits. The square-billed crankbait has always been one of my favorite lures for hot-weather bass fishing. I like to fish the Bagley’s, which has a wide wobble, in 3 to 5 feet of water and walk it through lay-downs and stump to call bass. What most people don’t realize about old baits is that they never lose their bass-catching ability. Generally what happens is a new bait comes along that’s similar to that old bait, and most fishermen believe they have to have the newest, the latest and the greatest. So, they put those old Click to enlargebaits aside and forget about them. However, a tournament angler keeps a mental database on what makes a bait catch bass, what water and weather conditions are best to fish that bait, what situations can he use that bait in and it be the most productive, and how long has it been since that bait has had any publicity. Old lures are being used by tournament pros more than the bass-fishing world realizes.”

Tomorrow: Zell Rowland

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

Day 1: Paul Elias
Day 2: Zell Rowland
Day 3: Greg Hackney
Day 4: Tim Horton
Day 5: More with Tim Horton



Entry 348, Day 1