In Case of Emergency Break Glass


The first bass I ever caught on a Spook-style lure came on an Excalibur Zell Rowland Pro Series Zara Spook. I was practicing for a tournament on a local lake when a friend zoomed around the corner and stopped to ask if I could take a picture of a fish in his livewell. It was November of 1997, so I didn’t yet have a cell phone camera, but I did have the old film point and shoot. As he reached into the frigid livewell, I looked on his deck, where there was just a single rod with a Zara Spook tied on.

After I snapped a few shots, he took off, I moved the boat away from the shore (remember, this was 1997, pre-Power Poles) and sat down to tie on a Spook of my own. The first one I came to was the three-hooked Zell model, and it was a good choice because while it had been a slow day with just a few dinks, I caught a solid 2-pounder within my first 10 casts. Later that day I caught a 6-12, which even 20 years later remains the second largest fish I’ve caught from that lake.

I don’t remember when those signature series lures went out of production, but over the next few years I bought a few more and proceeded to catch a bunch of fish on them all over the country. Then one day I learned that they were highly coveted and from then on whenever I saw them I bought what I could. The last place I remember buying any was at Toledo Tackle on Toledo Bend, which I believe would’ve been 2003.

With a stash firmly established in my boat and on the garage pegboard, what did I do?

Well, I stopped throwing them.

As new options like the Sammy and the Dog-X and the Vixen became available, I was lured away by them, and caught fish on all of them. Zell’s baits stayed dry. Because of that, I’m half-tempted to sell the new-in-package ones in my garage, which seem to consistently go for at least 30 bucks apiece on ebay. I’m sure that the moment I do that, though, I’ll happen onto a situation where that’s the only bait they’ll eat, or suddenly their value will rise greatly. It’s not like they’re taking up much space, so they’re staying put. Call me a hoarder if you like, but I just want to be prepared.