Monday, March 27, 2023

Made Some Square Back Minnows For The First Time In Years

The other day I made some for the first time in years. It still catches fish.


That picture came with this message just this morning. “Went out with my dad. First cast using squareback. I stained the tail chartreuse. Caught several with it.”

I had actually sold the mold a while back to somebody to help them out. I sold it cheap and told them if they bought it they couldn’t whine or complain about it. Well they whined, complained, bitched, and carried on like a little _ _ _ _. Rather than listen to them I took it back. They said they couldn’t get good pours with it. I never had any problem with the mold myself. Its a big mold and shoots a lot of baits in one shot. 20 maybe. I forget. Once in a while I’d get denting on a couple, but if I kept it cool and shot towards the cool end I got better than 99% good baits. Anyway, I bought it back so I wouldn’t have to listen to it. I didn’t actually want to sell it in the first place, but I did to stop a prior round of… well anyway.

As you are probably aware the 4” Club-O is one of my early successes. I made this one not long afterwards, and it fished so well I almost never made the 5” Club-O. It was styling after a Zoom Fluke ™ of course, but its not a copy. The hook slot is much wider and goes all the way out the back of the bait. My thought was it would glide better than a Fluke. Its was also limited to some extant by my CAD/CAM tools and machining knowledge at the time I made it. When made them with the same soft sinking heavy salt formula I use for Club-Os it was insanely good. It glided well, sank well, and when slack lined it sank with a wave of the tail that I never saw with a Fluke. I saw no need for a 5” Club-O. This was the 5” bait for that niche in my opinion.

There was a problem though. I’d show people the 4 inch Club-O and they would say, “Can you make a five inch?” Never mind the poor choice of grammar. Of course I have the ability to make a different size. I made the first one. That’s not what I said, but what I said wasn’t what they wanted to hear either.

They wanted me to say, “Yessir. Right away sir. How many free samples do you want and when sir?” Instead I tried to explain how the Square Back Minnow more than filled that need for a 5 inch bait. I could tell them. I could show them. It didn’t matter. If I didn’t say what they wanted to hear I was to stupid to even listen to. I wasn’t worth their time.

I gave in and made the five inch Club-O. It turned out to be a great bait. One old fishing buddy caught atleast half dozen fish over seven pounds on them. I caught a lot of 4s and 5s, and a couple 6s myself. The first time I ever fished it I caught several 3 and 4 pound fish. I even got a couple big fish checks in tournaments with it. The five inch Club-O even had an enticing tail waggle and natural swim when slack lined as it fell. Since then I have added a 6 inch Club-O for the “big bait” guys and a 3 inch Club-O for the finesse guys. I’ve personally caught fish on all of them and you can buy Club-O molds for all those sizes on my business website.

Here is the thing though. The Square Back Minnow is still a great bait. I have not actually fished with it myself in years, but everybody who has seems to do well with it. A few years ago I was out fun fishing with guide/captain Tony Jackson of FinChasers and started talking about how soft jerk baits had done well in the past in a certain area. He was fishing as my guest and using my gear. When he started looking through my compartments I knew what he was looking for. Some soft jerkbaits. I didn’t have any in the boat, but we had planned to stop back at the shop mid day and then hit some different water. While we were in the shop I grabbed an old tackle tray full of Square Back Minnows.

Back on the water I was throwing 4 inch and 5 inch Club-Os and I was catching fish. Cap’n Tony was throwing Square Backs and out fishing me three to one. I let him fish them all up. He was my guest after all.

A week or so ago my current fishing partner was in the shop making some Club-Os. He is a big fan of Club-Os and he wanted some in a particular color. Why not. I let him use my stuff to make a huge batch in all the sizes. While he was cranking them out I dug out the old Squareback Minnow mold and suggested he might want to make a few of those as well. He was not enthused. He wanted Club-Os. Story of my life. LOL. Still I got him to shoot the mold a few times.

That picture came with this message just this morning. “Went out with my dad. First cast using squareback. I stained the tail chartreuse. Caught several with it.”

Now after all that you might think I think the Square Back Minnow is better than the Club-O, or maybe this article is a long drawn out commercial to sell Square Back Minnow molds. Neither of those things is true. The Club-O and the Square Back Minnow are both great baits. They both catch lots of fish. Even for a hack like myself. Its not a commercial or a plug to sell Square Back Minnow molds either. I don’t offer them for sale. Its so old that somewhere along the way I have completely lost the original cut file. I would have to reverse engineer it to make it again.

I originally made the first Square Back Minnow mold when an out of town pro was on a crazy good bite locally with a particular color soft jerkbait. He went to every store in town and bought every soft jerkbait there was in that color so nobody else could get any. When I made the current Square Back Minnow mold with its large cavity count I gave the original to my friend Garret Garcia, because he was going to get into making baits. As far as I know he never has, but he is the only other person in the world who has the ability to make this exact bait without reverse engineering the mold.

I picked the name Square Back Minnow, because the movie Broke Back Mountain (which I have never seen) was popular and nominated for lots of awards about that time period. Being a rather controversial movie I hoped my bait having a similar sounding name might provoke some attention when people heard it said. Well that and the obvious square back on the Square Back Minnow.

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