After my last column, which featured a reader from New York reminiscing about the Arbogast Jitterbug, I’ve received several more fishing stories about peoples’ favorite lures that I’d like to run in their entirety. This week’s letter is from Topekan John Genther, who tells of his childhood and some of his favorites.
When I was a wee tadpole back in the mid-1950s, my father took me fishing on Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River. Don’t recollect what I caught, but vividly remember it was on his big, fat, black Jitterbug. And ever since I was that crankin’ 5-year-old, there’s never been anything quite like the jack-in-the-box thrill of a big-bellied bass blasting up on surface bait. The old man started my first tackle box with that wobbling wonder. Years later, I lost my beloved in a willow jungle at some long-forgotten farm pond. Broke my heart.
But it wasn’t long thereafter that Mr. Arbogast and my brother, Rob, reignited the thrill of thrashing bass. (Dan Aykroyd too, for that matter). That’s when my little bro introduced me to his Hula Popper. It had a yawning, orange maw you could drive a Packard through. OK, a Karmann Ghia. And YELLOW EYES! So help me God, yellow eyes! Just like Scut Farkus. (Go ahead. Google him.)
And so it was, long ago, on a steamy August evening just after supper, that me and Bobby ‘wast fishin’ flat water in flat light’ (we always talked that a-way when we wast fishin’) from our boat dock parked at the bitter end of the Lake of the Ozark’s North Buck Creek cove.
He said, ‘Tie this’n on, flip ‘er over yonder, run the ripple to three feet and then give ‘er a tug.’
I said, ‘I will if you stop talking like you’re auditioning for Deliverance.’
Plop … blaa-ooop … wham.
I miss that boy. Passed on in 2006. The golf stories are even better. More laughs. Fewer tears.”
Great fishing story and a great tribute to your brother, John. Your brother was smart to introduce you to the Arbogast Hula Popper, too, as it’s one of the most fun lures to bass fish with. I could spend all day top-water popping with one of those.
I also appreciate the “Saturday Night Live” Bass-O-Matic reference!
If you have a great fishing story about one of your favorite lures, be sure to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org tell me all about it!
Next week’s column will include a letter from Marty Reddick, of Topeka. Marty’s an old family friend and has a great story about another fantastic vintage lure, the Heddon Co. Hellbender.