Of all the incredible lures that have been introduced by the fishing industry this year, the one that immediately made me think back to my childhood and say, “Boy, I wish I’d had that thing years ago” was the Hollow Body Crawfish from Live Target Lures.
Actually, I’ve thought that a lot through the years as new and incredible crawfish imitations have emerged.
See, when I was a teenager, my cousin, Brian Brown, and I spent a lot of time in a canoe on the Cahaba River — a beautiful, little stretch of water that flows through Birmingham into the Alabama River and ultimately into Mobile Bay.
The river is as wild a place as you’ll find in the Southeastern United States, with everything from sturgeon to spoonbill catfish and more obscure fish species like the freckled darter and the Cahaba shiner.
But what we knew it for most back then was big spotted bass.
We’d already caught hundreds of them this one summer — some as large as 5 pounds — on topwater baits, spinnerbaits and Texas-rigged worms. But for this particular trip, we decided to look for something that would imitate the river’s top forage — crawfish.
We found the baits we wanted (sort of) in the bargain rack of a local tackle store called Keith’s Hunting & Fishing. They were brown plastic worms with two orange pinchers packaged in clear cellophane bags and marked “Craw-worms.”
In 1990, they sold for 50 cents a pack — and looking back, it might still be the greatest bargain I’ve ever received on fishing tackle.
With those things tied on, we fished down one of the Cahaba’s massive rock bluffs between the Highway 78 Bridge and Grants Mill Road, and it was all we could do to keep the big spots from destroying our undermanned equipment. We landed several over 4 pounds, and I shudder to think how big the ones were that we couldn’t slow down.
The next day, I went back to Keith’s with intentions of buying every pack of those ugly craw-worms, but they were all gone.
It was years before anything showed up on the market that you weren’t half-ashamed to be seen casting. But finally the crawfish revolution began, and it hasn’t slowed down since.
The Live Target bait I mentioned above is almost creepy-realistic.
If they made human replicas that lifelike, no one would ever need to get married.
OK…that was really creepy.
But you get point.
The Berkley Havoc Craw Fatty, the Yo-Zuri 3DB Crayfish, the Yum CrawBug Finesse Craw and the Strike King Rage Tail Craw all look enough like a crawfish to fool some actual crawfish during the mating season.
They certainly look good enough to fool a bass.
Then you have a collection of creature baits like the Missile D Bomb and the Doomsday Tackle Mauler that look a little meaner than a typical crawfish to add more temptation for bass that might not be in a biting mood. If you’d rather fool bass with a crankbait, Rapala, Strike King Berkley and dozens of other companies now market crawfish imitators in their hardbait lines as well.
If you were born into the incredibly crawfishy world we live in today, you should be thankful.
You’ll never be at a loss for something to mimic a form of forage that’s as tempting to bass underwater as they are for humans when they’re boiled with corn on the cob and new potatoes.
You’ll never have to think, “Boy, I wish I’d had that thing years ago.”