Editor's note: 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of B.A.S.S. As part of our celebration we’re publishing stories, videos and photos about the history of the sport, including the one below.
Introduced in 2002, Reaction Innovation’s Sweet Beaver is truly a milestone in the realm of soft plastic bass lures.
This pioneering bait is the brainchild of Andre Moore, a former bass pro who founded Reaction Innovations.
Moore lived in Arizona when he began tournament fishing seriously in the mid 1990s. He qualified for two Bassmaster Classics, three Forest Wood Cup Championships and pocketed well over $800,000 fishing the two circuits. He did especially well fishing Western waters.
An incurable lure tinkerer, Moore made many of the baits he fished with in tournaments, including soft plastic lures.
“I was tired of walking into tackle stores and seeing nothing new,” Moore said. “Every soft bait on the market had a round, cylindrical body. Most of the prey bass eat are not round like a worm. Bluegill, shad and crayfish have a wide side and a flat side. I was looking for something that had that kind of bulky, compact silhouette.”
Moore’s lure business “started as a garage thing for some side money.” It took him three years to design the 4.2-inch long Sweet Beaver and have a production mold made for it. He knew he had something special when bass eagerly snapped up the new bait.
“I always had good days when I fished with it out in California,” Moore said. “I used prototypes while bed fishing at Lake Okeechobee. I could go behind guys all day that couldn’t get a spawner to bite and catch the bass in five casts with the Beaver.”
In April of 2002 Moore used the Sweet Beaver to win an FLW Tour event at Beaver Lake in Arkansas. It was this victory that gave the lure its name. Later that year Moore released the Sweet Beaver to the public under the Reaction Innovations banner, along with the Boom Boom Tube and Dominator worm. The latter two baits are still in the company’s line.
Despite Moore’s victory with the Sweet Beaver, the bait was slow to catch on.
“Fishermen freaked out when they saw it,” Moore said. “They told me it was never going to sell. They were hesitant to even try it. It looked too different from the worms and tubes they were used to throwing. At the time I didn’t care because I liked having my own secret bait.”