Monday, December 20, 2010

December Freshwater Lure of the Month: Dardevle

December 2010
Freshwater Lure of the Month:
The creator of the Dardevle, Lou Eppinger, was making his living as a taxidermist in SE Michigan at the end of the 1800’s.  When Eppinger’s business hit somewhat of a slump, he decided to sell lures alongside his taxidermy services in order to help make ends meet.  As the tackle end of his business grew, Eppinger soon began to experiment with lures of his own design.  While on a fishing trip in the Canadian woods, Eppinger took along a spoon he had handcrafted back in Michigan.  He was pleasantly surprised with the results.  Eppinger particularly liked the long distances he could cast his lure—even into a stiff wind.  On top of everything, Eppinger’s prototype actually caught more fish than any other bait he fished on the trip.

After quite a bit of tinkering, Eppinger’s first lure made its official American debut in 1912.  Initially Eppinger called his lure the Osprey.  Eight years later, Eppinger changed the name of his wonder-lure to the Dardevle after the Marines, who had been nicknamed the “Dare Devils” for their feats of bravery in the first World War.  Today, Eppinger’s trademark red-and-white stripped Dardevle is perhaps the most recognizable and omnipresent lures ever to hit the fishing scene.  Alongside his trademark paint scheme, anglers will find dozens of color and size combinations.  Although all the colors have their fans, FE is partial to the classic red-and-white.
Featured lure: Dardevle
Created by: Lou Eppinger
Created: c. 1912
Manufacturer: Eppinger Manufacturing Company
Type: Spoon

While this lure is not considered to be the most versatile of all lures, as many anglers will confirm, it’s highly effective when others simply are not.  The Dardevle can be relied upon to be a good selection for a broad number of species when fished with a consistent, moderate to rapid retrieve.  If you haven’t used the Dardevle while trolling, you could be in for a surprise.

December Trout Fly of the Month: Light Cahill

December 2010
Fly of the Month:
Light Cahill
Within the vast pool of angling literature there exists somewhat of a division over the true origin of this classic pattern.  Several Americans claim the Cahill as their own creation, and they make a convincing argument.  But the Cahill owes its invention to a clever angler on the other side of the pond.  Don Cahill first tied this pattern in the last part of the 19th Century in the United Kingdom. Beyond any controversy, the Cahill has established itself as a requisite pattern in the fly boxes of anglers all over the world over the past one hundred-plus years since its introduction.

The Light Cahill is one of two dry fly color variations created by Don Cahill in the late 1880’s, the other being the very taking Dark Cahill.  Since its introduction, the Cahill has spawned pattern variations of nearly every type.  We’ve enclosed the dry fly version.  Also very successful are the wet fly and nymph versions of both the Light and Dark Cahill.  All are fished nearly everywhere water is found.  Ultimately, the success behind the Light Cahill, a mayfly imitation, can be attributed to its fantastic accuracy in imitating the lighter colored ephemerids, such as Stenacron canadense or Stenonema luteum

Featured Fly: Light Cahill

Designer: Don Cahill

Created: c. 1885-1890

Type: Dry Fly

· Hook: 10-20
· Thread: Cream
· Hackle: Light ginger cock
· Wing: Wood duck flanks
· Body: Cream seal’s fur or synthetic dubbing of similar color
· Tail: Cream hackle fibers or light ginger hackle barbs

December Saltwater Lure of the Month: Super Spook, Jr.

December 2010
“For any fish that feeds on other fish”

The Zara Spook was invented in Pensacola, a seaport in NW Florida, on Pensacola Bay, in 1922. This seductive lure with its trademark wiggle was originally called the Zaragossa, aptly named after the "wiggling" women on Zaragossa Street, which at the time was Pensacola’s red-light district.  A few years later the lure was given a new design (1939) and the name was forever changed to the Zara Spook.  The latter portion of its new name was inspired by the skeleton-like design painted along the sides of the first version of this popular lure.

To this day the Zara Spook remains one of the most often fished lures of all time.  In fact, even after all of these years and despite its enormous success, the Zara Spook's left-to-right, right-to-left top water action remains unique in the marketplace.  This 'walk the dog' motion pulls even the most stubborn game fish from the bottom when no other lure can.  The version of the classic enclosed is crafted from plastic, but the original was hand-carved from white cedar.  Not to worry, today’s Zara Spook is as deadly as the original.  Heddon, a company whose history dates back to 1894, originally sold the lure.  It’s now manufactured under the careful eye of EBSCO Industries, Inc.

Date Created: 1922 (The original Zara Spook received its name in 1939 and the Super Spook followed
Manufacturer: EBSCO Industries, Inc
Cast the Super Spook out into likely cover.  Let it rest long enough for the ripples to disperse.   With your rod tip at a 30 degree angle from the water, begin twitching the lure from side to side with an occasional short pause to induce its trademark 'walk-the-dog' style action.

December Walleye Lure of the Month

December 2010
Walleye Lure of the Month
In the fall of 1933, Charles Helin unveiled an unorthodox creation to the fishing community.  Helin fittingly named his lure the FlatFish, and it eventually proved worthy of his effort.  The "banana-style" lure’s fierce side-to-side action and unique shape has earned the FlatFish a secure place in fishing history.  So secure a place, in fact, that the FlatFish has become among America’s best selling lures of all time.  According to the manufacturer, an impressive 40 million of their lures have been sold to date.  Over the decades the FlatFish has produced trophies representing the entire spectrum of game fish found in both streams and lakes. 

Over the past seventy years, the FlatFish has grown from a single prototype, that Charles Helin first turned out on a home lathe, to a vast line of high quality fishing lures.  The FlatFish comes in sizes ranging from a modest one-inch lure to a mammoth six-inch muskie version.  There are fourteen different FlatFish sizes in all.  The FlatFish is also no slouch when it comes to color combinations; no fewer than ninety-four variations are available, including four new "Fire Tail" colors: Lime, Chartreuse, Tutti-Frutti, and Hot Fire Tail.

Featured lure: FlatFish
Created by: Charles Helin
Created: c. 1933
Manufacturer: Yakima (current manufacturer)

The Flatfish will produce the best results when fished slowly.  A slow retrieve will ensure that the lure realizes its now famous side-to-side wobbling action.   Be sure to tie the Flatfish directly to your line.  A small snap can be used, but a snap-swivel is not recommended.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

November Trout Fly of the Month

Lefty’s Deceiver
(With some Orange Parsons for the Holiday Seaon!)
In the late 1950’s, Lefty Kreh and his regular fishing companion Tom Cofield, both outdoor writers, were fishing in the Chesapeake Bay for stripped bass when conversation relating to this pattern first sparked. The fish that fed voraciouslyon alewives in the bay each season inspired Kreh and Cofield to create a fly pattern from scratch. The outcome of their musins eventually became the most influential pattern the sport has ever known. Almost immediately upon conception the Lefty’s Deceiver, as the fly became know, began blazing a trail for the fledgling sport of fly fishing.

The Lefty’s Deceiver owes its success, at least in large part, to its remarkable versatility.  Nothing about the Lefty’s Deceiver demonstrates this point better than the fact that it can be dressed in virtually any color combination imaginable.  The Lefty’s Deceiver has been tied in dozens of color combinations, each selected to meet the specific requirements of anglers across the globe.  It can also be tied long or short in length, tied to appear full or sparse.  The Lefty’s Deceiver can be tied as an imitator, imitating fish such as herring, alewives, and mullet.  Alternately, it can be tied as an attractor.  The repertoire of the Lefty’s Deceiver is nearly without limit and has earned its classic status.

Featured Fly: Lefty’s Deceiver
Created by: Lefty Kreh
· Hook: 1/0-5/0
· Thread: Black
· Tail: Black saddle hackles and strands of Crystal Flash
· Hackle: Black bucktail, green peacock sword feathers
· Eyes: Large eyes painted white with black pupil
· Head: black

November Saltwater Lure of the Month

 Swim’n Image
The Swim’n Image is a wildly effective and compelling lure created by the legendary lure maker Heddon.  Stories about this lure both on and off the water immediately captured the imagination of the FE staff.  Evidently, we were not the only ones caught up in the excitement.  The Swim’n Image created a sensation when introduced in the 1990’s.  Anglers are still clamoring over this lifelike lure.  Apparently, Heddon has come as close to engineering the perfect bait as any lure maker in the market.  The Swim’n Image casts a country mile, it’s fitted with a rattle chamber, and it boasts a finish so real that we wouldn’t e surprised if the Swim’n Image started flopping around on its own, to say nothing about how it performs on the water.

This is the most polished lure we’ve ever featured as a monthly selection.  Heddon left nothing to chance when engineering the Swim’n Image.  The result?  The lure’s finish is among the best the industry has ever seen.  Heddon told us that they went to unparalleled lengths to perfect the process of applying such lifelike and hyper-reflective details to the lure’s surface.  The achieve these incredible effects, Heddon used in-house color specialists and graphics scientishs to push the envelope of the lure design.  Heddon added super-sharp Excalibur hooks that have a patented counter-rotating design.  Top it all off with true versatility on the water, and you have a classic in your tackle box.  Like the Swim’n Image?  For more luremaking goodness, check out the Swim’n Image’s stable mate, the Spit’n Image.

Featured lure: Swim’n Image
Date Created: C. 1990’s
Manufacturer: Heddon/ Excalibur

Whether you’re fishing the Swim’n Image or the Spit’n Image, consider changing your retrieve style from time to time.  You might also find changing the speed at which you retrieve your lure advantageous.  The manufacturer suggests a stop-and-go retrieve, a slow-cranking retrieve, or a fast, “burning” retrieve as three specific methods you can use to generate “smashing strikes”!

November Freshwater Lure of the Month

Rebel Crawfish
Tim Gowing is a name Fishing Enthusiast subscribers might be familiar with.  He’s responsible for several of the lures we’ve selected over the past few years.  Gowing designed this month’s influential selection for Rebel early in the company’s history.  Considered a master lure maker, Gowing has been designing lures longer than some of the FE staff have been fishing.  By his own estimation, Gowing says he’s been designing lures for over 30 years.  That’s plenty of time to cook up a mess of killer classics.  In fact, if one were to crack open an angler’s tackle box at random, it’s highly likely that Gowing’s name will be behind more lures than any other individual designer.  That’s quite an accomplishment.

Though Rebel is wholly owned by EBSCO Industries, the Rebel Crawfish remains one of their best selling lures.  The company claims that it’s still one of the best selling lures of all time.  Perhaps Rebel Crawfish sales numbers do top huge selling classics such as Rapala’s Original minnow, the Johnson Silver Minnow, or the Mepps Aglia.  Regardless, it’s true that anglers consider the Rebel Crawfish to be without peer.  It’s the go-to bait for an alarming number of amateurs and professionals alike.  Anglers have a diehard loyalty towards this lure that is truly unique.  We can’t recall a lure that even comes close to the level of devotion that the Rebel Crawfish generates.  Except, maybe, another Jim Gowing designed lure.

Featured lure: Rebel Crawfish

Designer: Jim Gowing

Manufacturer: Rebel (an Ebsco Industries company)


Rebel recommends that your style of retrieve closely imitates the behavior of a live crawfish.  “Cast around structure, muddy banks or rocky shore lines.  Use a slow, deliberate stop-and-go retrieve.  This will attract every nearby fish… whatever the species, large or small.  Get it digging the bottom along a rock ledge or around structure… then, be ready!!”

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bayou Boogie vs. Rebel Crawfish

BAYOU BOOGIE      vs                       REBEL CRAWFISH

Which of these great lures should be the November Freshwater Lure of the Month? Vote on the right!

Monday, October 25, 2010

FE October Trout Fly of the Month

Tying The Zonker Minnow Fly Pattern
Hook:Tiemco #300 size 4 (any long shank streamer hook, sizes #2-#8)
Thread:Olive&White 6/0
Weight:Large lead wire
Underbody:White antron dubbing
Body:Pearl mylar piping
Wing/back:Olive Zonker strip
Hackle:Dyed olive grizzly marabou

How to tie the Zonker:

Many tiers omit the hackle, or use red to suggest the swollen gills of an injured bait fish. Some use marabou as a beard, instead of a hackle. A strip leech is a Zonker tied with a marabou tail (like a wooly bugger), gold or silver sparkle chenille wound as a body, and copper or brass wire to bind down a zonker strip on top. As you can see, there are many flies that owe their fundamental design to the Zonker…and for good reason. The rabbit strip pulses, breathes as it is stripped. It undulates, and seems to never stop moving. Once you see rabbit fur under water, any doubt you may have in it quickly disappears.
In the original pattern, adhesive lead tape is used over the top of the hook shank and taped to itself on the underside. It is then trimmed to the body shape of a minnow before the mylar piping. I tie some this way, but have found that once a good-sized fish (trout or bass) gets a grip on that tape underbody, it deforms it. The problem is that the mylar piping fibers often get pulled apart to some degree. In the pattern below, lead wire is used (strong, tight) with a smooth, dubbed body over it. This "holds" the shape of the mylar and gives a bit when the fish takes. I believe that the fish holds on just a bit longer when it bites a soft body.

Happy Fishing!

FE Saltwater Lure of the Month: Zara Puppy

FE Saltwater Lure of the Month: Zara Puppy

The Zara Puppy was originally created by Heddon, a fishing company started in 1894.  In the early 1900's the "walk the dog" technique began to take off in popularity, so Heddon knew they wanted to keep up with the technique, creating their Zara Puppy model. These lures are designed to allow you to control the lure's action, much like that of the Zara Spooks.  It takes a little practice, but once you get it down, these lures have a reputation for attracting fish from as far as 20 feet away and the strikes are vicious!

The Three L's: Lob, Lift, Lead and Set
"Lob the cast. With a short line loading the rod downstream using water tension to cast, form a tent with the rod and fly line. Raise and rotate the rod hand and in a chopping motion, drop the forearm toward the target (usually slightly upstream). This will allow the flies to sink to the desired depth. After the cast 'lift' the rod horizontally so all or most of the line to the indicator is off the water, leaving a slight bit of slack for a natural drift. Lead the tip of the rod above or slightly downstream of the indicator. This position will help with the hook set. (When thinking of lead, think about 'Walking a Dog'. If the leash is too tight, you are choking the dog. If it is too loose, the dog can get out of control.)" The hook set is when the indicator does anything other than drifting naturally, such as slowing, dipping, pausing....When in doubt, quickly set the hook downstream by moving your rod tip towards the water. This will pull the hook into the trout's mouth and keeps the rig in the water and not flinging in the air. Remember that most tangles happen in the air and not in the water."

Questions or comments?

October Freshwater Lure of the Month

Fishing Enthusiast Freshwater Lure of the Month: The Little Cleo!

The Little Cleo is a classic among the freshwater casting spoons.  Dating back to 1953, the lure was originally created by the Seneca Lure Company of New York City and was designed for salmon and steelhead anglers in the Great Lakes region.  Seneca lures was founded by Charlie Clark, a man with a very creative personality who began as a songwriter and publisher, only to later in his career get into selling fishing equipment.
As an avid fisherman in upstate New York, Charlie knew that if he could come up with some metal lure designs to take advantage of the growing demands, he could launch Seneca into a major player in the fishing industry.  His most popular lure was designed with a concave, humpbacked shape that Charlie felt wiggled so enticingly that it would be irresistible to any predatory fish that came its way.  Once he had tested the lure, he only needed to come up with a name.
As the story has been passed down over generations, it has been said that Charlie had become secretly enamored with an actress named Rhonda Fleming, the star of a 1951 film called Little Egypt.  The film popularizes a form of dancing that is now widely referred to as “belly-dancing”.  In Charlie’s head, he felt that the enticing, wiggling action of the lure would be as tantalizing to the fish as Ms. Fleming was to him.  So, Charlie wanted to name the lure after the movie, and decided upon “Little Cleo”, which was short for “Little Cleopatra”.  He even went so far as to imprint the image of a belly dancer on the packaging and on the inner concave of some of the Little Cleo’s themselves, his own personal joke.  This practice continued for the next 45 or so years, until the image finally became a casualty of politcally correct sensibilities in the mid-1990’s.    

Questions or comments? Contact me at!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

September Freshwater Lure of the Month

Freshwater Lure of the Month
Thunderstick Lure
Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. 
~Henry David Thoreau

The Thunderstick lure was originally created by Lauri Rapala in the early 1900’s and was fished off of docks in lakes and ponds.  Little did Lauri know, this lure that she had originally carved out of birchwood would become fine tuned over the years, and with a little added color, would be a mainstay for every pike, walleye, and any other freshwater fisherman out there. 
Currently being manufactured by Storm, these lures are now made with hard plastic that stops the pike from penetrating the lure with its teeth, which can result in a better hookset.  Casting and retrieving slowly will create a natural wiggle that attracts pike.  Thundersticks can be used to troll and to cast.  They are generally meant for water depts. Of 1 to 5 feet.
Rated as a “Top 10 Pike Fishing Lure” by, this lure is a must have for any fisherman’s tackle box.

Happy fishing!

Lures are on their way, be on the lookout!