The Roberts Mud Puppy was created by C.C. Roberts in 1917. This tail-spinning topwater came from Roberts observing muskies going after salamanders in the Big Rib River in central Wisconsin. The Mud Puppy was unique in that the body of the lure was designed to detach from its hooks when the fish shook its head so the angler would not lose the fish and then be able to retrieve the plug floating in the water. This innovative topwater came in 5 ½ and 7 inches long but could vary in size due to being hand-carved. The earliest versions had flaired gills, glass eyes and were split in the middle with a rotating tail much like the Whopper Plopper today. Roberts’ later versions provided only the last third of the body to rotate and added the option of a double tailfin.
The Bass-Oreno was first manufactured in 1915 by James Olds who sold the rights to South Bend Bait & Tackle. Soon, the “Old Redhead” became one of the most popular wooden topwater plugs until the company discontinued it in 1964. Luhr-Jensen later took over production until 1996. This lure was fished effectively as a shallow diver providing a jerky erratic wobble. The Bass-Oreno came in several sizes, colors and began a whole line of lures with the “Oreno” moniker.
The story of the Small Okiebug (S.O.B.) is, undoubtedly, the most legendary origin story of any spinnerbait in bass fishing history. It started out as a popular lure sold in Don Butler’s tackle shop in Tulsa, OK before he became the first member of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society founded by the late great Ray Scott in 1967. Butler went on to win the Bassmasters Classic with the Okiebug spinnerbait in 1972 on Percy Priest Reservoir in Tennessee. The impact Don Butler made for the sport of bass fishing was as instrumental as the man who created competitive bass fishing as we know it today. He was the first person to believe in Ray Scott’s vision and helped significantly with financing to get the organization up and running and with new member recruitment. Without his support, there may never have been a Bassmasters Classic.