the wooden wonder…


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This post is about innovation. It pays tribute to a man named Stan Gibbs who developed some of the most innovative casting surf plugs out of Cape Cod. He is most famous for one particular plug named “the pencil popper” which was originally carved out of wood and weighted in the rear, which allowed for longer casts and a side to side motion when retrieved slowly. The face of the plug was not cupped. Stripers and bluefish couldn’t resist trying to kill this plug and it was great to throw into the wind. It changed the surfcasting game. As a kid I used to fish these plugs in the fall off off Breezy Point and catch bluefish and bass in the surf. Stan created the Stan Gibbs CAST-A-LURE series of lures out of necessity to make better fishing lures for himself and the world. They included pencil poppers, swimmers, darters and polaris poppers. Unfortunately Stan never patented his ideas and they were knocked off by every lure manufacturer since. Here’s an interesting letter that I just came across from a friend in Montauk.

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This is an email I received from Lefty Kreh, “Al, I met Stan several times but did not fish with him. He gave me some of the lures like the ones shown in the bottom of  your photos. The sleek design with the heavier portion at the rear was a real breakthrough in lures. The taper drastically reduced air resistance in flight making long cast possible with relatively light plugs. The heavier rear allows the lure to “walk the dog” better than any in production at that time. Their solid wood construction made them exceedingly durable. I caught stripers, bluefish, cuda’s, tarpon, and many tropical species even when most of the finish had been battered from them. Stan was a true pioneer in lure design.”   

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