I love Swedish Fish. You know, those little, red, gummy candies? Yeah, I love them! I can, and have, eaten a pound of them in one sitting. However, after eating so many, I eventually get sick of them and don’t eat them for long periods of time. Then, after a year or so, I’ll buy a pack or mooch a few off somebody, and I’ll realize all over again why I love them. It’s like rekindling a lost love.
Well the same thing just happened to me this weekend with a Smithwick Suspending Rattlin’ Rogue.
As you may be aware, I love tossing a jerkbait. My dad loved them, and since he taught me, I grew to love them as well. Rapala Husky Jerks, Original Floating Rapalas, A.C. Shiners, Rattlin’ Rogues: These were the weapons my dad and I used to catch innumerable amounts of bass from ponds and lakes back home near Chicago. But like the Swedish Fish, eventually I grew tired of the “old” Rogues and started tossing around newer and flashier jerkbaits.
Well, the flame is back in the Rogues’ and my relationship.
FLW Outdoors Magazine managing editor Curt Niedermier and I traveled to Branson, Mo., for the Walmart FLW Tour event on Table Rock Lake. But after three days of photo shoots in gloomy weather and some frigid boat rides that made me want to jump in the 50-degree water to get warm, Curt and I got the opportunity to drive a few hours south on Sunday to fish with Mitch Looper. For those who don’t know the name, Looper designed the BOOYAH Swim’n Jig and is the guy Pradco – the company that owns such companies as YUM, Bomber, BOOYAH, Heddon and XCaliber, to name a few – calls when they need a big fish. Basically, Looper is a lunker hunter. And he’s very good at it.
Anyway, back to our trip. Looper took us to a postage-stamp of a reservoir in Northwestern Arkansas. It’s only 300-plus acres, but it’s loaded with “big ‘ins” as Looper likes to say, thanks to it being nearly an endless forest of stumps. Less than a week before our arrival, Looper went out for an evening and had three 7-plus-pounders try to kill his swimbait in one evening. However, since that time, the water temperature had dropped 10 degrees, meaning we were hitting it at probablythe worst conditions possible.
Considering the conditions, Looper wanted one of us to start out with a Rogue, and I was more than happy to take the rod. And once I figured out what cadence would turn followers into biters – a very fast cadence with aggressive snaps and brief pauses – it was on. Of the 25-plus bass caught, more than 20 were caught on Rogues, including a chunky 6-pounder. It was just the sort of performance that made me again think of sending Rogues a Valentine next year. Even Curt, who had never really fished jerkbaits before Sunday, has a crush on Rogues now.
Are Rogues better than more-expensive jerkbaits? No. The finishes, components and casting ability of upper-tier jerkbaits are unbeatable, which is why I’m always going to have them in my box. But for $4, it’s hard to beat a Rogue. And, if nothing else, it was fun to get reaquainted.
Slam the hooks!