A Tale About Tommy By Stan Fagerstrom
Dedicated bass anglers usually pay close attention to the new lures introduced by the nation’s bait makers.
That, of course, is another of the major reasons I especially enjoy getting to eyeball new lures when bait makers and the nation’s outdoor media representatives get together at the American Sportfishing Association’s summertime ICAST show.
You can count on the Strike King Lure Company to come up with attention-getting new baits year after year. Last year this Tennessee based company introduced a new line of plastic lures called the Rage Tail. This fall Strike King brought more new models of the Rage Tail line to market.
My friend Tommy Akin has been catching his share of bass for a long, long time.
If you read Part 1 of this two part column you’ll remember me talking about my long time friend Tommy Akin. I told how he and his fishing partner had won a bass fishing tournament at Tennessee’s Kentucky Lake just before the July ICAST show. The lure they won it with was one of the new additions to this year’s Strike King Rage Tail bait line up.
My pal Tommy, because of his long time association with Strike King, gets to test prototypes of their new baits before they actually come to market. That’s exactly what he was doing when he and his fishing partner won that Kentucky Lake contest.
“We won that contest because of the help we had from a new 10-inch Strike King plastic worm called a Rage Thumper,” Tommy says. “Four of the five fish we weighed in were caught on that worm.”
Tommy’s success with the new Rage Tail baits didn’t surprise me. I’ve used some of those that were introduced a year ago. The tail action of these baits is something else. It’s this tail action as well as the scent it has that helped put Tommy’s tournament winning fish in the boat.
I’ve talked to Steve Parks, the Strike King lure-building expert who has designed all of the Rage Tail baits. He told me some of the stuff the new Thumper Worm has going for it. One thing is that this new worm has a rapid tail action flicker. There are five action points built into the 10-inch worm that give it a distinctive underwater beat. That’s where the “Thumper” name comes from.”
As you can see from this close up, Strike King's new Thumper Worm is a sizeable hunk of coffee flavored plastic with a special tail action. It has already won bass fishing tournaments in Tennessee.
”I especially like the length and width of the Thumper,” Tommy says, “and the tail has great action. I usually fish it Texas Style with either a 5/0 or 6/0 hook and with fluorocarbon line. I throw it nearly always with a 3/8th-ounce tungsten sinker. I’ve fished it in water as deep as 25-feet and in a variety of cover.”
I mentioned these worms come with a distinctive scent. If you read much about new bass baits, chances are you’ve already heard about it. A couple of years ago Strike King came up with a new smell for their plastic baits. They’re calling it “Coffee Scent.”
Does it work? I can personally tell you the smallmouth bass in Oregon’s beautiful Umpqua River go for it. I knocked the snot out of them there using a 3.5-inch Strike King Coffee Tube the last time I fished the Umpqua.
It’s easy to understand why my friend Tommy says its odor is something else the new Thumper Worm has going for it.
I don’t know all of the ingredients that combine to make up the Strike King Coffee Scent but I know real coffee bean granules as well as genuine coffee bean oil are included. The color it imparts is another factor. Its makers maintain the granules give certain of the baits, the Coffee Tubes are an example, a more natural earth tone that closely imitates the coloration of things a bass often feeds on.
You don’t have to go far to find others who maintain the new coffee flavored baits are super fish catchers. One such is Kevin Van Dam. If you don’t know who he is, you just don’t know squat about professional bass fishing. Many rate him---with good reason--- as the number one professional bass angler in the country. There are also a number of others whose names you’d recognize who have similar sentiments where the coffee flavored baits are concerned.
What colors should you get if you decide to try Thumper Worms in your own angling endeavors? I know what I’m going to do. I’m going to at least lay in a supply in shades called a red bug, green pumpkin and bama bug.
You never know for sure what colors bass will respond to best, but the shades I’ve named are the ones that got the job done for Tommy and his partner in that tournament on Kentucky Lake. I neglected to mention they not only had the winning weight in that tournament, they also had the two largest bass weighed in. Seems to me those three shades would be a good choice to start with.
Some ask if all fishermen are liars or if it’s just that all liars fish. Well, friends, my long time pal Tommy Akin doesn’t fall into either category. He tells it like it is. I’ve yet to hear him giving voice to that stuff you’ll always find littering the ground in the pens where the bulls are kept. He’s been around this business of bass & baits for a long, long time. If and when he gets excited about something it rubs off on you.
Tommy is sold on the Thumper Worm. That’s good enough for me. I’m going to use ‘em as he has suggested.
Been looking for a new bait to show those bass in your own favorite pond they’ve likely not seen---or smelled---before? If the answer is yes, you might be wise to do the same.