When was the last time you saw a wooden lure? If you’re like me, it was when the Mrs. dragged you along shopping for antiques. Wood was a material used in vintage hard lures because it was readily available and could be carved by hand.
Years ago, there was a spot reserved in my small travel tackle box for Dad’s orange, wooden Lazy Ike. It tricked many bass and sunfish. If I ever snagged a submerged stump, I went swimming to get it back. In 1960, the makers switched from wood to plastic. After 45 years of demanding service, Dad’s lure was retired under glass. There are few remaining wooden lure companies, however at the 2012 Bassmaster Classic Expo, I stumbled across the Stanford Cedar Lures booth.
Because we have practiced catch-and-release during the entire 11-year life span of one of my “fishing tackle testing facilities” (our backyard pond), our fish have been trained to avoid lures. They still hit soft plastics and there are windows where topwater lures are the ticket. However, try as I might, they have learned to avoid lipped crankbaits so I really did not expect much when I tested these cedar lures. I mean, does it really matter what lures are made out of?
The topwater Turbo Shad was first. Equipped with blades front and back, the little plip-plip sound from short twitches enticed bass from the first cast.
“It casts like a dream,” my overly dramatic 10-year-old son said when he tried it. With a little instruction, he too, was getting hits. It was something these bass had never seen before.
Having gained a little confidence, I popped open the Patriot Shad lipped-plug. The dense cedar aids long casts, yet it floats great and upon retrieval wobbles down to about three feet. This too caught our finicky bass. I look forward to adding some muskellunge teeth marks to the deeper diving models this summer in Pennsylvania.
If a “bargain” lure fails to swim right or rolls over, it is banished to the dark recesses of a seldom used tackle box. One of the things that has impressed me about these hand-painted lures is the quality and attention to detail. And they do NOT roll over; each lure is hand tuned by Mr. Dieter Stanford.
For me, it doesn’t matter what the lure is made of as long as it catches fish. Maybe it is all in my head but a couple of wooden lures have once again earned a spot in my space-limited travel box. The differences in feel and look may be subtle at times, but significant enough to inspire confidence for just a few
Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad living in Oklahoma. Visit him at www.justkeepreeling.com.