PIKE on the Edge

COMMENTARY by Kendal Hemphill
October 25, 2016
NUGENT IN THE WILD by Ted Nugent
October 25, 2016

The Great $10 Lure Challenge

C hallenge: Somebody in Texas come up with the next real game-changer of a fishing lure. 

It can’t just be a spinoff, and for goodness sakes it can’t be named for another insect or liquor or barnyard animal. New. Different. Both, by the strictest definitions of each.

There isn’t space in this magazine for even a condensed version of our state’s prior contributions to freshwater and saltwater fishing. For obvious reasons—you can hardly make a long cast in this state without its payload landing in fishable water—some of the best-ever lures originated in the minds of Texans.

Off the top of my head, the shortest of short lists of absolute geniuses among Texas lure-makers alone includes the likes of Fred Nichols, Doug English, Paul Brown, Pat Kelley, Bob Norton—and some others I’ll ask to forgive me for not naming them.

They know who they are, and they don’t need to see their names in print (again) to know what they brought to the table and the tackle box. They know what they built through hours and years of experimentation on Texas’s bays and reservoirs, stock ponds and open Gulf of Mexico.

Even if you counted only baits for largemouths, speckled trout, redfish and flounder, you could fill a bushel basket with Texas-born, Texas-built lures that each changed the ways generations of anglers fished.

So, enough history. What will be the next truly innovative, potentially life-altering (for the right tournament fisherman, perhaps) lure to launch beneath that single-starred flag of ours?

I don’t know. But some of you probably have ideas swirling in your creative minds. Write them down. Draw them. Go into the garage or the workshop and build them. Take parts off other lures if you must, and name the amalgam of parts a Frankenstein lure for all I care. Just come up with something heretofore unseen that catches fish.

Incentive? I’ve got a crisp $10 bill, to be delivered personally if you live around Houston, for anyone who earns it. The amount is trivial, of course, but that lure you dream and ultimately create could be worth a whole lot more.

To merit this financial windfall, lunch money if you’re frugal, this lure will have to be unlike any other lure past or present. It can be a hard bait, a soft bait, or a combination of the two, but it can’t share profile or function with anything already out there.

Can it look like something fish eat? Sure it can. It probably should, but it can’t be something we look at and immediately think, “That looks like a….”

Can it be a different color? Yes, but only if you can invent a color or combination of colors other than the 20,000 or so already in use among tackle makers. Collect what you will from eager fishermen before your new lure reaches tackle stores, but to earn my $10, I’d prefer that you call colors by their familiar, proper names than go with Butterscotch Nose-hair Moonbeam. (Or is that already taken?)

Don’t be dissuaded from this challenge by the hundreds and hundreds of lures already out there. Remember next time you walk the tackle-store aisle, that every bait there, if you go back far enough in time, wasn’t there.

Somebody had to put it together, test each of the failed prototypes that preceded it, package it, and finally convince store owners it was worthy of a few pegs—at the expense, always, of something that already occupied that retail space.

If nothing else, acceptance of this “new lure” challenge gives you a (sort of) good excuse to fish more—lots more. There’s $10 on the line, straight from my pocket. Who wants it?

As Texas fishermen, we are blessed with high quality angling opportunities that last throughout the year. No closed seasons, no bitterly uncomfortable seasons. We fish when we can, and if we’re any good at it, we catch a few.

If you’re not especially gifted just yet as a fisherman, by the way, don’t let that stop you from trying to earn my money. There could be some slight advantage, actually, for a mind that’s not already cluttered with current lure designs. 

And keep your priorities straight—Faith, family, fishing. Don’t become a recluse living in a lean-to on the banks of a southeast Texas reservoir and looking like Tom Hanks toward the end of Castaway. It’s $10, not $10 million.

One prize. Someday. Maybe. Depends on the lure, and the decision of the judges—Chester Moore and me—is final.

Good luck.

Email Doug Pike at

[email protected]

Email Doug Pike at [email protected]

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