The Last Honest Man in Bass Fishing

By Pete Robbins

Over the course of thousands of interviews with professional bass anglers, I cannot begin to count the times that I have been told to refer to a product as “unnamed reel” or “prototype lizard,” because the angler in question wasn’t getting paid by the company that actually produced it. There have probably been an equal number of times where the angler has said, “Look, I was actually using X, but I’d appreciate it if you’d say I was using Y.”

This is a vexing and complicated situation for a not-quite-journalist, but it is the realm that we currently live in. That’s why I pay attention whenever a pro bucks that trend.

So it happened with John Crews last week. Crews, who has an Elite Series win and 10 Classic appearances under his belt, also founded and owns Missile Baits, a tackle company that produces a broad line of soft plastics, among other things. Based on my experience-based-prejudices, I assumed he would never knowingly promote or commend any other brand of soft plastics. I was wrong.

He said that friends and buyers from big box stores have repeatedly asked him to produce a Senko lookalike, and each time his answer has been the same: “If I want to fish with a Senko, I’ll just go buy a Senko,” he said. “I’m not going to design something that already exists. I’m trying to design something that doesn’t exist or a better way of doing something. When I go to flip, you can rest assured I’ll be using a D Bomb, a D Stroyer or a Missile Craw, but if I want a horizontal fall, nothing beats a Senko.”

My big bosses at Yamamoto, who provide me with this space, should be glad to hear that. But you as a consumer should perk your ears up, too. It tells you that you should be fishing a Senko and not a knock-off, because that’s what successful pros do when their livelihood is on the line. It also tells you that if John Crews produces something, it’s not just because a peg at the tackle store is available, or because he thinks he can make a quick buck. Rather, it’s because it’s something he needs to earn his living. Sometimes, complimenting someone else’s product reflects positively on you and your product. When John Crews says something in the future, I’ll listen even more attentively.