A day late and a lure short

Back when Jack Wingate owned and operated his famed Lunker Lodge on Lake Seminole, there was a sign at the entrance that read, “Cuz, they bit yesterday!” 

It reminds me of an all-too-frequent fact of fishing — that by the time we hear about something, it’s usually too late.

By the time we hear of a good bite, that bite’s over with. The same can hold true with lures. By the time we learn of a specific lure that’s really producing, it’s often too late. Either the fish quit biting it, or finding one is next to impossible.

Case in point

Remember when Chris Lane made his big splash with a Whopper Plopper during the 2016 Elite Series event on Toledo Bend? By the time the rest of us found out about the lure he was using, the tournament was essentially over. 

After the word spread on Chris’ magic lure, none could be found. Demand instantly overwhelmed a very limited supply. In fact, it took months for most of us to acquire one. 

The same thing happened again this year when Jason Christie whacked them on a Teckel Sprinker Frog. Ironically, that happened on Toledo Bend, too. And just like before, by the time we figured out what lure he was using, it was too late. Christie scored a top three finish while the rest of us watched from the bank.

Ever since that Elite event aired on Bassmaster LIVE, anglers nationwide have searched in desperation to secure a lure that’s essentially unavailable.

It’s interesting how obscure, oddball lures find their way into mainstream fishing…sometimes to the sport’s biggest stage. Of all the topwater lures to choose from, what made Chris Lane choose a Whopper Plopper?

I was curious about that, so I asked him. And here’s what he had to say.

“It was a total coincidence,” claims Chris. “While I was packing for that Toledo Bend event, a neighbor stopped by and gave me a Whopper Plopper … saying I should give it a try. And when I got a few bites using a walking bait in practice, I remembered the ‘Plopper’ and decided to give it a shot. And it worked, big time.

“That’s when I realized I had something special … something different. And that’s what it takes sometimes to separate yourself from the field.” 

Lane was the only angler in the tournament able to produce a consistent topwater bite all four days. His second-place finish earned him nearly $30,000.

Another example

Remember when Brandon Palaniuk cranked his way to a huge lead on the upper Mississippi River Elite, then had his weight disallowed after a culling infraction?