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Memoires of the World Series Troll

Gary Heffley author photo, myoutdoorbuddy.com

By Gary Heffley
10/01/15 -- For those sports fans like me who grew up fishing in the Bay Area early October meant two things, the World Series which during my young years excluded my beloved Giants and Striper fishing. More specifically living in the north East Bay and the evening troll through the Carquinez Straits.

When the tides were right there was something magical about those special evenings. Back then the most popular lures were Pet Spoons and Bug-eye Jigs. Yes, I am dating myself as Rebel large minnow baits were just coming to popularity in the market.

Pet Spoons which are still manufactured by Luhr-Jensen is a large single hooked chrome spoon. We selected our baits by the color of the feather attached to the rear behind the single hook welded to the bottom of the spoon and often tipped the hook off with a pork rind trailer.

The bug eye jigs varied in the size and weight of the painted lead head and were finished off with maribou, hair or nylon strands tied in back. While I don’t know who made these jigs back in the day as I suspect they were produced by many local shops. Bug eye jigs are still in vogue today with many anglers on the east coast using them to target stripers and cobia along with other game fish. The shape of the jig head with bulging sides and glass eyes defines the name.

Bug eye lure, Photo courtesy of Google Images
Photo courtesy of Google Images

Today many would equate these to very popular bucktail tail jigs of today but back then it was very simple. Flashabou, mylar and other fancy synthetics along with intricate head painting were still in the future. We didn't think to add a plastic worm or curly tail grub trailer to the jigs until my late teens. Your color patterns were simple red, white or yellow and combinations of the three. How did we even catch fish back then?

But catch them we did and still today as then, the combination of red and white are a favorite of mine as the classic red and white Daredevle spoon still outperforms many other baits in my tackle arsenal. In fact many of the early successful baits were red and white. Think back on the classic Bass Oreno, Lucky 13 and Creek Chubs lures, they all had red and white patterns.

Rods were rigged for trolling with the use of a wire spreader which allowed two baits to be trolled at once, call it a predecessor to the A-rigs of today. The pet spoon or a lighter weighted bug eye jig was placed on the top with the heavier bait on the bottom.

Timing the tidal movement was key; slack tide meant a boat ride, which wasn't a bad thing… think about it… I could have been doing chores. But when we caught the tides just right and better yet caught the tidal rip through the straits it was game and fish on. Limits were common and the action was often fast and furious as my dad handled not only the boat through ripping currents but netting duties as well. Great memories with my family!

It's funny, when I fish today on the Sacramento River with the traffic of the city and Highway 5 buzzing in the background, along Hat Creek with the cars and trucks traversing Highway 89 in clear view or within sight of any highway or bridge I still get the same thoughts I did as a kid looking at all the traffic on the Carquinez Bridge above. Do any of these people realize what they are missing?

Gary Heffley has been a valued contributor to MyOutdoorBuddy for over seven years serving as manager, sales representative and reporter for much of Northern California. He is an avid outdoorsman and loves to fish and write about his adventures. He has long history in the Sporting Goods field and is presently managing the Gift Bar and Camping Department at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Redding.


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