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The 50 Greatest Fishing Lures of All Time

The 50 Greatest Fishing Lures of All Time

The 50 Greatest Fishing Lures of All Time

In honor of our 50th anniversary, we set out to come up with the ultimate list of fishing lures. Talk about a category loaded with candidates! Is there any way to estimate how many fishing lures have been invented and brought to market since the beginning of time?

“Impossible,” said Dan Basore, our longtime fishing collectibles columnist. “I have some that were made 6,000 years ago in Wisconsin, and lures were made much earlier than that. I discover makers every year that were unknown, and so do other collectors.

“How many fish have been caught? How many stars are out there?”

Our panel includes Fishing Hall of Famer Dave Csanda, MidWest Outdoors Associate Editor; Mark Strand, Editor; and Dave Mull, Digital Editor. All three are lifetime fishermen, and have been covering the fishing scene for around 40 years, giving them firsthand knowledge of the lures in their lists.

Each man’s Top 10 was published in the March, 2017 issue of MidWest Outdoors, and is repeated here, along with 40 more to round out the rankings. Would you have chosen the same lures for your own ’50 Greatest’ list? Whose list would come closest to yours? Are there any lures left out that you would put in the Top 50 of all time?

Let us know in the comments and on our Facebook Page.

Dave Csanda, Associate Editor

I agree with Dan Basore that selecting 50 is sort of an impossible job, because everyone has different opinions based on their own fishing experience. We all don’t live in the same regions, nor do we fish the same waters for the same species of fish. So individual preference comes into play.

For my money, the top 50 need to have made significant, long-term contributions to the sport, even if they are no longer in widespread use today.

For determining the top 10, I think we need to go a step further. The top 10 should have dramatically impacted the sport, revolutionizing the ways anglers fished, with a continuing influence into the modern angling era.

Csanda’s Top 10, in no particular order… 

Jigs

Jigs dating back to the Upperman Bucktail are unique in that they are fishing’s most universal lure. They can be fished at any depth, and can be jigged vertically, swum or snap-jigged horizontally, lift-dropped on the cast or drift, dangled through a hole in the ice, and dressed with any manner of feathers, hair, soft plastic, mylar or other substance–including many forms of live bait, tipped on plain heads or in combination with dressings. The sheer permutations of potential mix-and-match combos is off the charts. And here’s the kicker: Most combos have little or no action on their own; the angler applies his or her own desired action, motion, speed, direction or cadence to the presentation, like an artist wielding a brush. It’s personalized presentation to the max.

Lindy Rig

The first popularization of finesse live-bait fishing for walleyes and other species. Still a mainstay today.

Beetle Spin by Johnson

The first combo of a jig and spinner, and forerunner of the modern spinnerbait. Now made by Johnson.

Original Floating Rapala

It turned the fishing world on its ear in the late 1950s, and has been going strong ever since. The inspiration for a massive, worldwide tackle company featuring many different shapes and models of crankbaits.

Dardevle by Eppinger

The best-known member of the spoon family, with a wide range of models to suit casting and trolling situations. A staple item for Canadian anglers that remains popular with many fishermen in the northern U.S.

Jigging Rapala

A deadly, aggressive ice fishing lure that, in recent years, exploded into open-water popularity for a wide range of species. The fact that it turned winter into summer effectiveness with no re-design ranks it as the comeback lure of the century.

Mepps Spinner

The inspiration for a wide range of imitators that catch everything from panfish to bass, trout to muskies. Swirling, whirling magic in rivers and streams, with similar attraction and effectiveness for fishing still waters. Versatile and adjustable depth-wise simply by varying your retrieve.

Spoonplug by Buck Perry

Buck Perry’s original Spoonplug has faded in popularity in the modern era. But it hit the fishing world like a thunderbolt in the late ‘50s, not just as a lure, but as integral to a systematic trolling system that exposed anglers to radical new structure fishing concepts. Fishing took a quantum leap forward as a result.

Texas-rigged plastic worm

Crème Company was the first to put straight-tailed plastic worms into distribution, providing anglers with a new way to penetrate cover for bass with a virtually weedless, snagless presentation.

Big-O by Cordell

Fred Young carved the first square-lipped balsa crankbait in history in 1967, triggering an avalanche of similar lures that revolutionized bass fishing. Today plastic injection molded by the Cordell Company, the Big-O lives on in angling history.

Greatest Lure of All Time: Fuzz-E-Grub by Lindy

I chose the Lindy Fuzz-E-Grub, for all of the reasons I mentioned in my generic jig description, and more. It comes in all sizes and color combos, for all species of fish, all year long. The Fuzz-E -Grub combines a soft-plastic body with a seductive marabou tail that breathes at rest, imparting its own lifelike, realistic appearance. I don’t leave home without ‘em, regardless of which species I’m after.

Csanda’s nomination for a fishing accessory that’s not actually a lure: the slip-float. You can suspend many forms of enticement beneath it at virtually any depth. Awesome!

The rest of Csanda’s Top 50 Lures of All Time

Mister Twister

Tandem Spinnerbait (generic)

Creek Chub Pikie Minnow

Rapala X-Rap

Smithwick Devil’s Horse

Muddler Minnow

Bomber A Series

Suick Musky Thriller

Weedless bass jig (generic) & Uncle Josh Pork Frog

Red Devil Spinner & Bottom Bouncer (generic)

Northland Whistler Jig

Garland Gitzit (tube jig)

Strike King Tandem Spinnerbait

Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap

Slip-Bobber (generic)

Yamamoto Senko

Heddon Zara Spook

Jigworm (aka shakey worm, generic)

Blakemore Road Runner

Lefty’s Deceiver

Helin Flatfish

Smithwick Suspending Rogue

Doctor Spoon

Rebel Pop R

Luhr-Jensen Flasher & Howie Fly

Snagproof Frog

Rapala Shad Rap

Herb Reed Slug-Go

Castaic Swimbait

Dahlberg Diver

Reef Runner

Berkley Powerbait

Caddis fly (generic)

Hopkins NO=EQL jigging spoon

Swedish Pimple

Buzzbait (generic)

Countdown Rapala

Erie Dearie

Heddon Sonar

Johnson Silver Minnow

***

Mark Strand, Editor

Here’s how I thought about what makes up the list of 50 greatest lures of all time…

Highest scores went to lures that are the picture of versatility. Being able to use them in many depths was key. The ability to attract numerous fish species earned bonus points.

In other words, a lure that would rarely come out of the lineup, regardless of what fish you are after, what season it is, how clear the water is, how deep you’re fishing, etc., earned the highest marks.

In my list, it was harder for ‘lures’ that require live bait to be effective, or are commonly tipped with live or dead bait, to make the cut.

Having said all of that, though, it was difficult to leave out iconic lures built mainly to catch one or a few species. And iconic lures that do their best work in a narrow depth range. So some of those made my list.

Strand’s Top 10, in no particular order… 

Dardevle by Eppinger

I might go as far as to say the red-and-white Dardevle.

Considering that imitation is a good indication that you’re onto something, one estimate is that more than 300 red-and-white spoons similar to the original Dardevle have been brought to market. It wobbles and flashes whether cast or trolled, from shallow to deep, calling predators to bite.

Fun fact: the original version, invented in 1906, was called the Osprey. The name was changed to Dardevle in honor of a Marine brigade that defeated its German opponents in the Battle of Belleau Woods in 1918. The Germans called those Marines “Devil Dogs,” and the Allies called them “Dare Devils.”

Mepps Spinner

A spinning blade rotating on a shaft with a sharp treble hook at the end calls up fish that willingly bite. Think of all the other lures with spinning blades that have come along, and how many you find in any tackle shop, catalog, or website, and the impact on the sport is obvious.

Spoonplug by Buck Perry

An interesting piece of metal kinda shaped like something, some with several line-tie options, these swimming lures helped modernize fishing because they were the tools of choice for anglers following the teachings of Elwood “Buck” Perry, who helped us all understand the concept of structure and how fish relate to it. They are most often used to troll, in a methodical series of experiments where you “strain” different depths until you find biting fish.

A teacher of physics, math, mechanical engineering, diesel engineering, Perry was the guy who originally said that 90 percent of the fish live in 10 percent of the water.

Spoonplugs are still available, at buckperry.com, and in some tackle shops. I have some from when I was a kid, and some of my dad’s old ones, and they are not going back in the water. And MidWest Outdoors sells Perry’s home study course, “Buck Perry’s Guidelines for Fishing Success.”

Texas-rigged plastic worm

First, a special nod to Nick Creme, who created the worm that started it all in about 1940. A machinist from Ohio, Creme was the first to use plastics to make a ‘fake worm’ that fooled fish. Originally, it had three exposed hooks, beads, and a small propeller.

An enterprising bass angler on Lake Tyler in Texas, tired of getting snagged on submerged trees and brush, took off all the hooks and used only one. He pushed the hook through the ‘nose’ of the Creme plastic worm, then buried the point farther back. The ‘Texas rig’ was born, giving us something nearly weedless and snag-proof to fearlessly fish where other baits couldn’t go. (Actually, they could go there, but often would stay there.)

Curly-tail grub by Mister Twister

Soft plastics of uncountable shape and size are catching every fish in the world, and this one inspired the imagination of manufacturers after it proved itself in the water. I still remember the headline from an old ad campaign for the Mister Twister curly-tail grub: “If you had to live off what you caught.”

Another indicator that this particular bait had an impact: plastics of this shape are classically called ‘twister tails,’ and everybody knows what you mean.

Sonar by Heddon

Blade baits are killers, can be fished shallow to deep, fast and slow, jigged vertically, reeled quickly from the bottom, up through fish that hammer ‘em on the way up, and more. The Sonar is a bait that caught fish and still catches fish. It’s an under-appreciated ice-fishing bait, too.

There are three holes along the top of the lure, and its action changes as you connect to the front, middle, or back hole. Allows you to experiment each day to see what the fish want.

Spinnerbait

As important as the Beetle Spin was, for paving the way, I chose to put the skirted spinnerbait of classic design in my top 10. So many good makes, especially by Strike King. Because the arms get bent and it takes time to re-tune the bait, a big nod to Terminator for bringing out the first titanium versions that magically return to their original shape no matter how mean the fish are.

Jigs

The jig is in my top 10 even though it often benefits from being tipped with live or dead bait. Soft plastic tails of every imaginable shape and size are extremely common dressing these days.

I want to mention the Doll-Fly, an early model originally tied with polar bear hair(!), invented by Tennessee lure maker Elmer “Doll” Thompson; Fuzz-E-Grub by Lindy, for its soft body and marabou tail; Road Runner by Blakemore, first ‘pony’ style jig; Ugly Bug by Gapen’s, a design that fishes well in rocky areas because it’s less prone to snagging; and Bill Binkelman’s jigs, in fluorescent colors, because they also came with lots of fishing wisdom.

Lindy Rig

Despite being dependent on live bait for its overall allure, this iconic piece of fishing history made it into my top 10. A walking sinker designed by Ron Lindner (with input from others), a leader of monofilament line, a single hook, and live bait. Drift, troll, let it sit there, it catches fish and has spawned many similar live-bait rigs.

Greatest Lure of All Time: Original Floating Rapala

It can be fished, and is deadly, from the surface to the inkiest of depths. Effective as a topwater lure, fished as a waking bait at slow speed, a surface twitch bait, almost a popper, and goes subsurface on a faster retrieve, where it can be fished at a steady speed, burned, or presented as a jerkbait.

Extremely effective cast or trolled. The balsa body is lively and the built-in action triggers pretty much any fish that swims. Available in a multitude of sizes and colors. Can troll it behind a downrigger ball, wire line, lead line, bottom bouncer, rubber-core sinker, snap-on weight, or anything else you can think of to get it down.

Depending on how you position the knot in the eyelet, you can create a wider or tighter wobble. Fishes well on a light-wire plain snap or when attached using a loop knot.

It’s light, so when casting it, you’re best off with a spinning or spincast outfit. But because it starts out light, you can fish skittish shallow-water fish with it, due to its soft landing on the water. Only thing it doesn’t do well is cast into the wind.

Strand’s nomination for a fishing accessory that’s not actually a lure: Gapen’s Bait Walker. Original design that became generically known as a bottom bouncer, it takes shallow-running lures and makes them deeper-running lures.

Notes to self: Mull convinced me. Must. Fish. Ned Rig. And simply must run a Whopper Plopper 190 (by Larry Dahlberg, for River2Sea) past clear-water muskies to see what happens. And I’m excited to fish the Flick Fly, by Gapen’s.

The rest of Strand’s Top 50 Lures of All Time

Shad Rap

Vibrax Spinner (doesn’t twist line, even without swivel)

Panther Martin

Beetle Spin

Zara Spook

Yamamoto Senko

Jigging Rapala

Pillki Spoon (jigging spoon)

Silver Minnow

Bill’s Bass Frog (aka Bill Plummer’s Super Frog)

Slug-Go

Power Worm (Berkley)

Gitzit tube baits

Rat-L-Trap

X-Rap

Flatfish

Lazy Ike

CountDown Rapala

Creek Chub Pikie Minnow

Bass Oreno

J-Plug

Acme Kastmaster  (heavy but with good sideways movement on drop)

Swedish Pimple

Hopkins Spoon (NO=EQL)

Cleo Spoon (good for open-water casting and vertical jigging)

Williams Wabler

Arbogast Hula Popper

Rebel Pop-R

Jitterbug

Cowgirl (double-bladed muskie bucktail)

Heddon Moss Boss

Arkie Bass Jig

Uncle Josh Pork Frog (the ‘pig’ to your ‘jig’)

Umbrella Rig

Castaic swimbait

Carolina Rig (used with numerous plastics)

Doctor Spoon (great trolling spoon)

Erie Dearie weight-forward spinner

Bobbie Bait (one of the great big-fish jerkbaits of all time)

Power Tube (Berkley)

***

Dave Mull, Digital Editor

When selecting my list of the 50 best lures of all time, generally speaking, I went back to visions of how many times I saw a certain lure hanging out of a fish’s mouth. I also tend to favor those lures that catch different kinds of fish, not just one species. With imitation supposedly a form of flattery, I also considered how many times other manufacturers copied the original.

Here are my top 10 lures and my nomination for the top lure of all time (assuming it has already been invented).

T.R.D. Ned Rig. Although I only added this to my arsenal three years ago, it has become my supreme confidence bait for bass, with the added bonus of getting bites from just about every other species that swims with them. The 2 3/4-inch T.R.D. body is made of ElaZtech, an amazingly tough plastic that simply does not get too tattered no matter how many fish it catches. Personally, this lure has taken scads of bass, most of the panfish species, several big pike, walleyes, white bass, saugers, freshwater drum, a muskie and channel catfish.

Lunker City Slug-go. The first of the fish-shaped twitch-n-glide lures made of soft plastic, it has been widely copied with many different tweaks to the original design. String it on a EWG hook and skin hook it; add a nail weight for some weight if you want it to sink. Get in the “twitch-twitch-glide” cadence. It just flat out catches all sorts of gamefish, fresh and salt.

Silver Buddy. Still made one at a time by originator Buddy Banks in his Florida retirement home, these lures can be cast and burned, hopped, vertically jigged—you name it. They are superb multi-species lures in 1/2 and 1/4-ounce sizes. Only two colors—gold and silver—are available. These lures used to be considered only for cold water but that thinking has changed for anglers who have used them throughout the year.

Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap. The original lipless crankbait widely copied by other manufacturers, the Rat-L-Trap is an easily-fished fish-catcher for all sorts of gamefish and available in a plethora of colors. Different sizes work for everything from crappies to giant pike.

Stinger Scorpion Spoon. This diminutive 2 1/4-inch spoon dominated the Lake Erie walleye market for years and has spawned many similarly-size imitations. This spoon works great when trolling for inland panfish as well as for steelhead, brown trout and salmon when the dominant forage is small.

Gitzit. Gitzit is to tube lures what Kleenex is for nose-blow tissue. Thought able to imply a minnow or crawfish to bass and other predator fish, the smaller sizes work great for panfish while the 6-inchers have found fans among muskie and lake trout anglers.

Biffle Bug/Hardhead jig. Longtime bass pro Tommy Biffle designed this one for Gene Larew. Basically an evolved, all-purpose jig, the plastic creature “Bug” rigs easily for snag-free performance on the football-shaped jig head that’s “articulated” (meaning the hook swings free). It scurries along the bottom in a manner that gamefish find hard to resist. The Hardhead also pairs with a 4- to 6-inch swimbait to create the illusion of a disoriented baitfish bumping along the bottom. The hollow Bug can be Texas-rigged or fished with an open-hook head like a tube lure, too.

Beetle Spin. The original “safety pin” spinnerbait, credited to Kansas City house painter Chuck Woods, who developed it in the early 1960s. it is still a fish-catcher today. The original design has evolved into spinnerbaits for bass and pike while today’s Beetle Spin is still a top choice for crappies, bass and saltwater redfish.

Swim Whizz. This made the list for its ground-breaking design that is now common throughout the muskie world. Lake St. Clair Michigan guide Homer LeBlanc designed the original Swim Whizz in 1956 and modern versions feature new paint schemes with nearly bullet-proof finishes. Small, 4-inch versions have caught on in the steelhead and walleye worlds, too.

Greatest Lure of All Time: Original Floating Rapala

Developed by Finnish guy named Lauri in the 1930s, its off-center wobble when slow trolled was money for all sorts of gamefish. Still a great trolling lure, it is also the original jerkbait, great for casting and working quickly with sharp jerks of the rod for bass and other gamefish.

Mull’s nomination for a fishing accessory that’s not actually a lure: Sampo Ball Bearing Swivel

The Sampo Ball Bearing Swivel was designed in 1948, by Oney Johnson in Daly City, California. An avid angler, Johnson had for years been devising a way of preventing line twist. and his ball bearing swivels nailed it. Still the top choice among serious trollers and those who cast line-twisting spoons and in-line spinners, it comes in silver and black finishes, seven sizes and 20 snap/ring options.

The rest of Mull’s Top 50 Lures of All Time

These are in alphabetical order, because ranking them in order of effectiveness would be a crazy thing to attempt.

Arbogast Hula Popper. Work this one fast—forget all that old timey stuff about letting it sit until all the rings from your lure plopping in the water go away. Bloopng and spitting as you bring this orginal popper back to the boat will elicit strikes.

Arbogast Jitterbug. This is supposed to be an objective review, but this writer remembers that smash of an 18-inch bass my dad caught on a ref-and-white one in Southern Michigan, spurring a lifelong love of bass fishing.

Bechhold Fish Catcher. Trolled with a small spoon, bait head with a slice of herring or, most commonly, a tinsel fly behind, these original, finned flashers spawned many an imitator. Still deadly for salmon, lakers and other big water trout in the Great Lakes and beyond.

Berkley Power Worm. Intricately mixed flavors created soft plastics that fish found truly tasty—and would hang onto longer, enabling anglers to better set the hook. This big one is one of many body designs.

Blakemore Road Runner. A horse-head lead jig with a spinner growing out of its chin definitely implies food to crappies, bass and all other fish-eating gamefish.

Dardevle Clicker Spoon. The two little willow leaf spinner blades add more action, flash and some sound, and many days this spoon will outfish all else, whether cast or trolled.

Erie Dearie weight forward spinner. OK, you need a chunk of nightcrawler to make this one work, but few lures have caught more walleye in Lake Erie. Also a good one for trolling anywhere walleye swim.

Freedom Tackle Stealth Hybrid Jig. Fabulous with a swim bait or a flapping craw trailer, this design allows you to rig the soft plastic so it comes through weeds without snagging.

Heddon Pop-R. A standard in the tacklebox of modern bass anglers, it can be chugged to produce the sound of a crippled or feeding fish. Many anglers have found a fast retrieve skittering this lure on the surface is deadly.

Hopkins Spoon. Thes stainless steel spoons flat out catch walleys bass pike and more.

Jigging Rapala. Once thought of as merely an ice-fishing lure, anglers have found this one works great just cast, allowed to sink to near the bottom near fish-holding structure, and then reeled in. A no-brainer that really works.

Kelly’s Plow Jockey. The “tourist worm.” Could not track down the orgins of the original ‘Tourist Worm,” one, but this one, featuring three hooks sewn in the plastic is one of the oldest. It helped lots of Northerners learn that bass could be caught during daytime back in the 1960s. Still a popular worm among serious tournament bass guys for skipping under docks, it catches fish for anyone who throws it.

Luhr-Jensen Speed Trap. A lure designed for burning back as fast as your reel allows, this square-bill, properly tuned elicits reaction strikes from all gamefish.

Reef Runner. The signature banana shape started with the original Reef Runner deep diving stickbait and has proven it’s effectiveness in the offshoot Reef Runner RipStick and the Reef runner Little Ripper and Deep Little Ripper.

Heddon Zara Spook. The Spook is the plastic version of the Heddon Zaragossa, a wooden lure first produced in 1939. It’s safe to say most bass anglers have spent time “walking the dog” with a spook, making it swim on the surface with short jerks of the rod tip.

Heddon Tiny Torpedo. Bass of all sizes hit this little dude with its tail prop.

Johnson Silver Minnow Invented by Louis Johnson in 1920, it likely was in every MidWestern angler’s tacklebox in the 1960s, and it’s still a fish-catcher today. Designed so the hook always rides up, it’s great for swimming throughthe tops of weeds for bass and pike It’s also a stable among saltwater redfish anglers.

Keitech Swimbait. The soft texture, ribbbed body and wide-swiniging tail combine to make this a current must-have lure among a lot of bass anglers whether putting several on an “A-rig” or fishing them solo on a jig or a weighted swimbait hook.

Luhr-Jensen J-Plug Few Great Lakes salmon and trout trolllers leave the dock without a bunh of the cut-face plugs with their erratic, darting action when trolled at a wide range of speeds. It is the top choice for trolling for staging king salmon around pierheads in late summer.

Lunker Lure Buzzbait. First called The Lunker Lure” and made by Karlin’s Tackle in Carterville, illinois, bass pro Rick Clunn got the bass world clamoring for this lure after winning a tournament with it in 1976. Many imitations have followed.

Mann’s Alabama Rig. Mann’s Bass Pro Paul Elias won a big tournament on what became the original Alabama Rig, and copies are now often referred to as “A-rigs.” The rig receives swimbaits on jigheads to simulate a school of baitfish and neither largemouth nor smallmouth seem able to resist.

Mann’s 1-minus. The original “wake bait” designed to dive barely below the surface and cause a wake as it’s retrieved.

Mepps Aglia Spinner. “Mepps” is a French acronym for Manufacturier D’Engins De Precision Pour Peches Sportives. That’s Precision Equipment for Sport Fishing in English. The Mepps Aglia is the classic in the Mepps lineup.

Mister Twister Twister Tail This should have made it in the top 10. No telling how many fish get caught on curly-tail grubs, all of which owe their design to Mister Twister. Strung on a jighead or a spinnerbait hook as a “trailer,” these add action that appeals to a fish’s vision and lateral line.

Rapala Shad Rap.It’s the perfect artificial lure. Balsa wood,tight, shimmering wiggle and subtle finishes, this lure flat out catches them now like it did when first introduced in the 1960s.

River2Sea Whopper Plopper Larry Dahlberg of “the Hunt for Big Fish” TV show designed this tail-plopping plug that has been on fire in the bass world while also catching lots of pike and muskies.

Smithwick Devil’s Horse. Some of the very first lures to feature nose-and-tail  propellers to produce sound and flash were from Creek Chub and South Bend Tackle, made of wood back in the 1920. The Devil’s Horse was one of the first to be mass-prduced by Jack Smithwick’s Louisiana-based company in 1949. Available in a plethora of colors, it’s still a great fish-catcher.

Smithwick Rogue. A step up evolutionary ladder of jerkbaits, the Rogue added rattles and suspendability plus a plethora of colors to the jerkbait mix. Cast for bass or trolled for walleyes , this is an awesome bait.

Snag Proof Perfect Frog. Snag Proof gets credit for manufacturing the first hollow-body frogs back in the 1960s, and they’re still at it. The Perfect Frog is the evolved version of the original.

Storm Arashi Square. Available in models that are silent, rattle, dive 3 feet and that dive 5 feet, this is a high evolution of the squarebill crankbait, It’s weighted so that when you run it into something and the bait doesn’t deflect, the lure floats in reverse. Plus it has super strong hooks that stand up to pike, which love squarebills as much as bass do.

Storm Chug Bug. Storm got it right with this elongated popper that can walk like a Zara Spook and spurt water like a Pop-R. Make it “smack” like a feeding bluegill and it’s game on.

Strike King Hack Attack Swim Jig. Bass Pro Greg Hckney designed this one to bring through heavy cover, implying a fish to bass and other gamefish. Pike love these things. Add a flapping crawfish trailer or a swimbait.

Strike King Spinnerbait. Possibly an evolution of the Beetle Spin, the original Strike King was a single-spin, safety-in style spinner featuring rubber strands for a tail, made and advertised by McKewan’s Tackle Company of Memphis, Tennessee. Now a huge company, Strike King stays at the forefront of spinnerbait design and innovation thanks to input from such pro-staffers as bass star Kevin VanDam.

Strike King Red Eye Shad. Yes, it’s a lipless rattler like the original Rat-L-Trap, but its body design lets it quiver as it falls. Anglers have learned how to “yo-yo” this lure for great results.

Yakima Flatfish. These banana-shaped baits orginally made by Helin have accounted for countless pike, salmon, steelhead—you name it. Still going strong as a product from Yakima Baits, Flatfish

Yakima MagLip. The Flatfish’s evolved brother lure, featuring grooves on the sides for wrapping on bait strips and an amazing tolerance for speed. Five sizes range from 2.5 inches to 5 inches long. Big ones work great for big predators such as lake trout, salmon and pike while the little ones are great choices when trolling inland lakes for stocked trout.

Yamamoto Senko Made heavy with salt, this supple soft plastic stickbait can be Texas-rigged with or without a weight or wacky-rigged (hooked in the middle). It is one of the simplest lures to use to catch bass.

Yamamoto Twin Tail Hula Grub. This leggy, flappy thing has caught all kinds of bass and other gamefish throughout the Midwest. Savvy anglers swim this grub.

Z-Man Chatterbait. Basically a jig with a metal lip to make it wiggle when retrieved, the Z-Man Chatterbaits are a standard in many a bass angler’s arsenal.

Zoom Centipede. The flat-bodied Centipede from Zoom is one of the “frenchfry” baits that is still in production because it’s still catching fish. Great both for the lure on a Carolina rig as well as for Texas-rigging weightless and tossing at cruising or bedding bass.

Zoom 6-inch Lizard. The 6-inch Lizard is another Carolina rig bait. It also has found a following as a bulky, wiggly soft plastic for jigging up river walleyes.

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