REBEL Lures marks 50th anniversary

By: John K. Flores
The nice part about being over 50 is the ability to wax nostalgically. One of the fondest memories I recall, albeit somewhat foggy, was fishing with a few buddies during the summer of 1968 between the sixth and seventh grades.

The war Americans fought at that time was in a place called Vietnam, where our troops were embroiled in the Tet Offensive. The Chevrolet Camaro was one of the hot muscle cars, along with the Dodge Charger and Mustang Fastback.

Detroit Tiger pitcher Denny McClain mopped up the competition that year to become the first and last Major League pitcher since Jay “Dizzy” Dean to win 30 games in one season. Later those Tigers beat St. Louis in a compelling World Series that went seven games.

Fifty years ago, NASA’s space missions were flown out of single-man Mercury capsules. Bicycles came with a banana seat, sissy bar and chopper handle bars. And, 50 years ago, a fellow from Arkansas by the name of George Perrin, out of frustration, overcame the nuisances of wood by developing, out of space age polymer, a plastic lure — the F-10 REBEL Minnow, thus, changing the way anglers fished forever.

PRADCO Fishing’s Public Relations Manager Lawrence Taylor, in discussing the REBEL Minnow’s inception, said, “He was the first to really mass market a plastic lure. There had been a few attempts, but nothing ever really stuck. When Perrin made his minnow out of plastic at his molding company, he worked with it a lot to get it absolutely correct. And, when anglers saw that it worked as well as the Rapala that was revolutionizing fishing on its own, Perrin saw that his was sturdier and more consistent, where every one of them ran correctly. That was the evidence people needed to push that revolution forward.”

Growing up in the city of Flint, Mich., where Buicks and GMC trucks have been manufactured for years, not to mention Sherman Tanks during World War II, there wasn’t much water around other than the Flint River. Back then, there wasn’t a “Clean Water Act” to govern much of what industry did with runoff, sewerage and plant wastewater.

Armed with a brand new F-10, my partners and I headed to a little dam where a tributary of the river ran into a sort of fenced off lagoon on the east side of town. I remember casting the plastic lure for hours into the pool of water on the upstream side of the dam and not catching a darn thing. Neither did my friends, for that matter.

Nonetheless, it still remains a fond memory. Perhaps because I’ve caught a lot of fish since then on a crank bait bite but more likely, because nothing has changed in the looks of that REBEL Minnow. What’s more, in the 50 years REBEL fishing lures have been around, nothing has changed in terms of quality either.

They’re still as durable as ever. But, the product line has changed tremendously, where REBEL offers an extensive array of baits designed to catch fish.

In celebrating their 50th anniversary (1962-2012), REBEL is offering special edition twin packs of some of their top baits, such as the POP-R, made famous by BASS MASTERS Elite Series angler Zell Rowland, who credits the lure for his 1986 win on the Tennessee River at the Super Invitational that year. Discontinued in 1976, Rowland’s win created enough interest to cause REBEL to bring it back in 1987, and they’ve never looked back, selling millions of this plastic since.

A twin pack of Tracdown Minnows closely resemble the original F-10 and come with a realistic color pattern, 3-D eye and the erratic action that will catch trout, bass and panfish that anglers are accustomed to.

Also for the 50th anniversary, offered only in twin packs, anglers can get the REBEL “Crickhopper” and “Teeny Wee Craw” lures designed for skinny (shallow water) fishing. And, since more often than not, coastal fishing in the marsh along canal banks, trenausses on a falling tide and narrow bayous with moving water is a shallow water proposition. Both of these lures are death on marsh bass.

For crank bait anglers, the REBEL Humpback is still offered that will do some damage to bass. But, for the sac-a-lait fishermen, REBEL offers the CRAPPIE CRANK-R lure in 10 different color patterns. Designed to troll, anglers should still get some mileage out of the lures by casting the CRAPPIE CRANK-R into deep canals in and around the Atchafalaya Basin.

New for REBEL in 2012 is the Frog-R, a top water bait just shy of 3 inches long. The bait has a realistic eye and color that resembles a small leopard frog, or as mama used to say, “croak-croaks.” And, everyone around these parts knows what it’s like to catch bass on a frog bite.

“This is a bait people are going to beat the banks or sparse grass with,” Taylor said. “It’s fantastic for small waters. It’s a lot like a Pop-R in that it’s the same size. Obviously, the Pop-R has proven to be an effective lure. But, the Frog-R has a totally different action. When retrieving, anglers will use a twitch-twitch-twitch type thing with a little bit of slack in their lines.”

Much has changed when it comes to fishing in the past 50 years. The boats are bigger and faster. The fishing line is stronger. And, the sport of fishing has become extremely specialized. But, one thing hasn’t changed. Just about every angler’s tackle box has a REBEL lure in it.

Located in Fort Smith, Ark., REBEL Lures is part of a broader group of brands that include Lindy, Bomber, Heddon, Cotton Cordell, Arbogast and Booyah, among others, produced and marketed by Plastics Research and Development Corp., or PRADCO.

For more information on REBEL and other products offered by PRADCO-Fishing go to www.lurenet.com or www.RebelLures.com or call 479-782-8971.

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To make a comment or have an anecdote, recipe or story to share, contact John K. Flores by calling 985-395-5586 or at gowiththeflo@cox.net.

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