Recently I had the opportunity to chat with a couple of folks from Charlie Brewer’s Slider Company, Caroline Calton, granddaughter of Charlie Brewer Sr. and owner of the company, and Trey Johnson, pro staff member for Slider Fishing. In Charlie Brewer’s Slider Fishing Now, we’ll take a peek at what the company is currently up to, how they’ve changed (or haven’t) with the times, and discuss whether the “Do Nothing” technique is still relevant today.
For a good overview of Charlie Brewer’s original Crazy Head Lure Company and the “Do Nothing” concept, check out this 2021 BFA article, The Crazy Head Lure Company.
My first question to Caroline: Has anything changed or evolved in the Slider Fishing “Do Nothing” approach since Charlie released his book, Charlie Brewer on Slider Fishin’, in 1978?
She replied, “After my dad and I discussed these questions, we can say that the Slider ‘Do Nothing’ approach is still what we follow today. New products are developed with that type of fishing style. It’s our niche. We have lots of people asking why we don’t develop different lures for other types of fishing. We want to stay true to what our company is built on. That is why we are still here after 53 years. We stick with what we know and are good at, and continue to support the system that my grandad developed.”
I admire that. Here’s a 3rd generation family company that’s remained in business for more than half a century, and is still going strong because they stick with what works, rather than trying to be everything to everybody.
Next, I asked Caroline if they’ve altered any of the components (the worms, jigs, bait additions, tackle, rods and reels) or the technique itself since it was first developed. For instance, I know that in Charlie’s book he recommends certain rods and reels, which were the choice tools of the day. How has the company responded to the changing technology and improved tackle of today?
Caroline answered, “One of the original lures was tweaked back in the late 1980s. The 4″ worm is actually 4.25″ now. My dad, Charlie Jr., was preparing to have a new mold built. He asked my grandad, Charlie Sr., if there was anything he would change about the worm. My grandad thought a bit and said he would make it just a tad longer. This caused some grumbles among some of the die hard Slider fishermen, but Charlie felt that it being a tad longer was necessary. Here we are in 2023 still selling that worm, so I think he was right.”
Think about that for a moment. In over 50 years, one of the major changes in the product line was to add a quarter-inch to the length of a four-inch plastic worm.
She continued, “In the early days our rods were made from fiberglass. Later we began building them with graphite blanks. Fun side note, building rods was my very first job in the business. I began building rods in 1986. At that time we still produced the yellow fiberglass rod as well as the newer graphite rods. The fiberglass rod was phased out and not produced for many years. In 2020 we celebrated our 50th anniversary. We decided to produce an ‘anniversary’ rod. The old yellow fiberglass, 4’9″ rod. We never dreamed how many people would love it. We were selling it as a piece of nostalgia (although we knew it was still a great fishing rod), but we have had so many positive comments about how it fishes. It’s a fun little rod!
You can currently purchase this old school rod directly from the company website, for $53.48.
I asked, what are the current best selling lures?
Caroline told me, “Our current best sellers include the 1.5″ crappie grub. Top colors are black with chartreuse tail, white with chartreuse tail, and junebug with chartreuse tail. We have over 100 colors in that style. The 3″ bass grub is another top seller. Top colors are pearl with chartreuse tail, pearl, black chartreuse tail, and motor oil glitter with orange tail.”
She added, “The Slider 4″ worm has recently been listed as one of the top baits for bass fishing with forward facing sonar! It’s amazing that the original Slider worm that was the very first Slider produced has been a good seller for all of these years, and now is gaining popularity with forward facing sonar users.”
Of course the Slider Fishin’ company has more baits in their line-up, including the Spin Jig, Spinn Charlie, Streeker, Charlie Bee, Whirly Bee, Cranky Charlie, Twitch Doctor, and a variety of Slider Jigs and soft plastics.
Caroline referred me to Trey Johnson, pro staff member for the company. She said that Trey “studies Slider fishing and probably fishes closer to my grandad’s style more than anyone I know. He reads the book every January!”
So, I emailed Johnson and asked him what he’s learned most from reading Brewer’s book each year. He replied, “The most important thing I’ve learned from the book is to not ‘over-act’ nature. To slow down. You can fish too fast, but not too slow. Those 4” worms are made to act like minnows and minnows only spend about 10% of the time running around crazy. It’s important to not only understand the fish, but understand their prey. I thought slowing down would mean less fish, but it actually meant more.”
I asked Trey what kind of set-up he prefers.
“My preferred setup is a 6’ medium or medium light spinning rod spooled with 4 or 6 lb. line. I use mono or a good copolymer line. I’ve tried braid and fluorocarbon. I just like the way mono or copolymer handles. I feel like I get better casting distance with it. Especially when I trim the head down to hardly nothing, which I do often. My line of choice right now is Kast King monofilament. I also like K9 copolymer when I can find it.”
“I sweep the hook like Charlie taught. You could get away from that with braid, but I believe the lure acts more natural on light mono. I just feel like I get more bites with it. I’ve used the shorter rods with the Tennessee handle and like them, but I feel that a 6’ rod is just as comfortable and I get a little more casting distance and a little better hookset.”
I then asked about his biggest fish or best day on the water using the Slider Technique? Johnson replied, “My biggest fish was an 8 lb. largemouth fishing a bluff wall in 40’ of water. I was using a 1/16 oz. spider head that I trimmed half the weight off. It was closer to 1/32 oz.. I was using 6 lb. mono, stair stepping it on the small shelves of the wall. Slowly. My best day for numbers of fish was when I was fishing with a friend about 15 years ago. We caught close to 200 bass that day. Nothing huge. Mostly 12”-16” largemouth. On 4 or 6 lb. line. Those fish were a hell of a lot of fun.”
I mentioned the old Slider kits to Caroline, and wondered if they still had those available for anglers. Unfortunately, she said no, they don’t. But she did also say that she does know that “there are collectors looking for the old red box with the label. We have a regular customer that recently bought one on ebay. Maybe we need to bring those old kits back.”
Now there is a great idea!
Truth be told, I’ve never tried Slider Fishing although I’ve been intrigued by it for a number of years. I really admire Charlie Brewer’s creativity and his passion in bringing what at the time must have seemed a strange, even weird, technique to the masses. And he was very successful at it, as many of his ideas have become commonplace today: “finesse fishing” anyone?
Here’s a link to a cool Crazy Head Tackle Company ad from an old Fishing Facts magazine: Slider Fishing 1980.