outdoors banner
- Advertisement -

corner peel

Sorry, no featured properties currently.

- Advertisement -

« Outdoors Home

Jack Wollitz: Throwback Thursdays have a certain allure

Published: Sat, August 10, 2019 @ 12:00 a.m.

Two lures earned a workout this past Throwback Thursday after a long rest in a dusty corner of my fishing shop.

Nostalgia got the best of me early in the week and I started sifting through lures that hadn’t been in my boat for a decade or more. Two I found were the venerable Arbogast Jitterbug and a bag of grape Culprit ribbon-tail worms.

Both accounted for some dandy largemouth bass. What’s more, they earned spots in the starting lineup for fishing trips the balance of this season.

Grape-colored Culprits take me back to earlier days in bass fishing.

Legendary angler and luremaker Tom Mann is credited with popularizing many colors in plastic worms – previously they were all mostly brown or black to resemble nightcrawlers. Mann added grape scent to purple worms and called them Jelly Worms. He also added blueberry to blue worms, strawberry to red and other scents to matching colors.

For many years, grape was the only color worm I would rig. Then along came all the new colors with glitters and flakes and I found new favorites.

Thursday started as grape worm day. I caught a dozen or more largemouths on my Texas-rigged Culprits.

Just as the morning mist was starting to evaporate, I happened onto a flat that looked like good topwater territory.

I reached for the Jitterbug already tied to a casting rod and reel spooled with braided line and fired a cast to a stump that was visible just under the surface. I began a slow retrieve that produced the distinctive wobble that makes it obvious why Fred Arbogast named his creation “Jitterbug.”

The first cast was a little off target, but the second was delivered on a line that would bring it within inches of the stump. Just as the Jitterbug danced past the waterlogged wood, the lure disappeared in a splashy attack. I jerked and a two-pound largemouth cartwheeled across the flat.

That’s why I love topwater fishing. Even if I only get one strike, the show is worth the effort.

Surface lures are enormously popular because they are so much fun when the fish are interested. Anglers can chose from dozens of styles – from pencil poppers to chuggers to buzzbaits to surface walkers, gurgling toads and hollow-body frogs and rats.

But the Jitterbug is in a class of its own. It has a double-wide metal cup screwed into the face of the body where the line-tie is secured and a stubby body from which a pair of treble hooks hang. The design demands a slow retrieve. Reel too fast and the lure doesn’t jitterbug.

The slow retrieve also helps anglers guide their Jitterbugs through the cover where big bass lurk. The treble hooks are exposed and readily grab wood and weeds, so it’s wise to maneuver the bait carefully around the snags.

The Fred Arbogast company made Jitterbugs originally out of wood at its factory in Akron. Today’s versions are plastic and work just as well as the old ones, generating explosive strikes from bass that cannot resist the wobbling action.

Adding the Jitterbug to the Throwback Thursday fishing trip was a whim. But we are in the midst of prime topwater season and I’m keeping the old Jitterbug on the BassCat for a lot more work before the snow flies.

In the meantime, I’m going to make another pass through the boxes in the shop. Who knows what new old lure I might discover?

Jack Wollitz is a lifelong angler who enjoys writing about the nuances and details of fishing. He also enjoys emails from readers. Send a note to him at jackbbaass@gmail.com.

Subscribe Today

Sign up for our email newsletter to receive daily news.

Want more? Click here to subscribe to either the Print or Digital Editions.

AP News

HomeTerms of UsePrivacy StatementAdvertiseStaff DirectoryHelp
© 2023 Vindy.com. All rights reserved. A service of The Vindicator.
107 Vindicator Square. Youngstown, OH 44503

Phone Main: 330.747.1471 • Interactive Advertising: 330.740.2955 • Classified Advertising: 330.746.6565
Sponsored Links: Vindy Wheels | Vindy Jobs | Vindy Homes