It was a few days after Christmas and I was sure the gift giving and receiving was through. I made a standard trip to the post office, as there was a package for me from a client, Brock, whom I had guided a couple times and who became a friend.
I got that excitement all over again and had another surprise to tear into, and that’s what I did. Inside was a fancy, custom-made swimbait and a note stating that this specific lure was magical and could be fished at higher speeds without losing the desired action. I couldn’t wait to test swim it.
My first day of trying it I thought it was good, but not as crazy as I had been told. I continued to try it on and off and had some action and interest being shown by giant bass. I mentioned in a phone call to my friend who gave me this secret lure, that it was OK, but couldn’t fish it too fast. “That’s not right,” he replied. Fortunately, we had a trip on the books and he was headed my way.
We started the morning off with an absolute fish-catching clinic; all the fish were caught on this custom lure. However, they were on his original and not the one gifted to me. Once the bite tapered off, he decided to test-swim the lure he had given to me. After two casts, he took it off and said, “It’s a dud.”
Being such an advocate for this specific custom lure, he knows the maker and ensured me he could have it replaced. And, that he did. I got the new and improved one back a month later and, wow, what a difference. It swims like a dream. If only I could find some time to throw it.
Now I don’t usually let my clients use these one-of-a-kind custom gifts, but I really wanted to see it in action. I had Dr. Daniel on the boat, who is an exclusive lure collector and very proficient with this technique. He also wanted to see it work and had heard some of the hype.
We found ourselves in a situation in which a swimbait would be the bait of choice. He asked which one he should use and I recommended the one that was given to me. The first couple casts are always to learn the action and see how to work the lure. He was impressed and continued casting with utmost confidence. A dozen casts later, he got a hit and hooked a giant. The fish came wallowing into the net with this magical lure wedged in its mouth. He almost instantly said, “You know I’m keeping this lure?” All I could do was smile.
The next few days he threatened to take the custom bait, but since it was a gift, I could not part with it. However, I could try and get another one, so I sent it out to him. It was time to make a call and see if Brook could hook me up with another.
And after a little shopping and searching he found another one, which turned out to be a dud as well. He dipped into his personal collection and sold me one of his.
He was headed out to fish at New Melones Reservoir, so we decided to meet up after he was done. In the parking lot of the gas station, he handed over the goods and I gave him $100. Yes, these lures are that expensive and worth every penny.
The fishing community is a complex one. I have made some amazing friends and we share the same interests. In this case it is giant custom-made lures that tempt giant bass. It reminds of the days of trading baseball cards. I’m thankful to be a part of this secret swimbait society and am adding to my collection whenever the next must-have lure comes along.
John Liechty is the owner of Xperience Fishing Guide Service in Angels Camp. Contact John at 743-9932.