In the early years of bass fishing, there seemed to be no set lure or genre of lures designed for big bass. It seems every lure designed for bass was designed to catch fish, both large and small. Today in JW Lures Hawg Hunter, we’re going delve into a bait that was specifically designed for big bass. Its name almost guaranteed it.
Looking at big bass baits over the decades, I’ve come to the conclusion that plastic worms were the first lure designed to target big bass. Some may argue the jig and pork eel always boated bigger than average bass but its size was limited to roughly six inches total, even including the length of the jig.
The plastic worm, on the other hand, was being stretched from a standard six or seven inches to double that size by the early 1970s. Companies like DeLong and JW Lures had the idea if a small worm catches smallish fish, then a big worm will catch trophy bass.
DeLong had been making their Witch for several years but only in six and eight-inch models. In 1968 they started making their 16-inch Snake, which became one of Lunker Bill Murphy’s favorite baits.
Then in 1973, on the St. Johns River in Florida, Bob Tyndall put JW Lures on the national map when he broke the BASS Master all-time big fish record by catching a 12-13 bass on a JW Lures Hawg Hunter worm.
The Hawg Hunter was 13 inches long and came pre-rigged with two weedless hooks. It also came in a wide variety of colors. I remember them being sold in Bass Pro Shops catalogs of the 1970s but not much after that. We even had some hanging on the walls of our shop, but I can’t remember ever selling any of them from 1978, when I started working, on.
The Hawg Hunter and the DeLong Witch both caught their share of big fish in their day. Known throughout the industry as “tire retreads,” which they resembled to a tee, they lost their place in tackle stores most likely due to the fact they were pre-rigged and couldn’t be rigged Texas style.