A long time ago, I stopped labeling lures as “freshwater” and “saltwater.” There really is no difference. Size no longer matters. I’ve caught a 40-pound dolphin on 1-ounce bucktails and a 10-inch farm pond bass on a 7-inch Rapala. The same is generally true for flies. My Clouser Minnows are equally productive on trout as they are on striped bass. Some lures have corrosion-resistant hooks, and some have bronze hooks that will rust, but I never worry about hooks rotting away because they are easy to replace. With few exceptions, all lures will work in both fresh and saltwater.
As a young boy, I caught my share of pickerel in the coves of Lake Hopatcong with a wood orange Charles Helin’s Flatfish with crossbar hooks. It just had an enticing wobble that pickerel could not resist. I still have one, and I wouldn’t dare use it again. I have the box and brochure that came with the Flatfish, which may be just as valuable as the lure. I’m not sure which lure came first, the Flatfish or the Lazy Ike. The Lazy Ike made its appearance in the 1930s and was hand-carved until 1945. I always suspected that the Lazy Ike was designed to duplicate the action of the Flatfish, but it never could quite match the success of the Flatfish.
My other old favorites are the Jitterbug, the Hula Popper, Creek Chub Pikie, Heddon Torpedo, and, of course, the Dardevle Spoon, which is reported to have caught more record fish than any other lure. The Dardevle spoon has been subjected to hundreds of knock-off models, but none have ever matched the action of the original. In my trips to Canada, I always carried at least a half-dozen Dardevles. The spoon will catch just about every species of fish in both fresh and saltwater.
Fishing Lures That Made History — Ron Spomer Outdoors is written by Vin T. Sparano for www.ronspomeroutdoors.com