1980 Mister Twister Sassy Worm and Keeper Hook ad.

Here’s more proof that a large number of baits/tackle are retreads from the past. Take for example the 1980 vintage Mister Twister ad here. In it you’ll see two products that are prevalent today except that the Mister Twister products didn’t gain much popularity and were soon relegated to the bargain bins. Today’s “copies,” though, are in the arsenal of nearly every basser.

For example, by 1980 the Twister Sassy Shad, one of the first boot-tails on the market, was enjoying phenomenal sales. It was selling so well that Mister Twister decided to put a boot tail on nearly every bait they made. Unfortunately, the Sassy Worm didn’t cut the mustard and faded into obscurity shortly thereafter. The boot-tail worm was dead.

Fast forward to around 2007 and what do we see on the market again? I don’t know if the folks at Yamamoto remembered the “success” of the Sassy Worm and felt they could make a better mouse trap or if they’d forgotten the concept altogether. No matter what happened, GYCB introduced the Swim Senko and, like most things the worm factory in Page, AZ has done, it was met with great success. Was it good timing on their part? Bad timing on Twister’s part? The difference between Yamamoto’s plastic and Twisters? Who knows. It didn’t sell then but it is now.

The second item in the ad is the Weighted Keeper Hook. Look at the design. Sixty-degree jig hook with a keeper attached to it and weighted shank. Although the sales of the original Keeper Hook were minimal, they never went off the market. I never used the weighted Keeper Hook due to the fact I wasn’t a fan of the standard offering after losing copious numbers of fish to them when they first came out. Now I own a hundred or so variations of them from manufacturers such as Mustad, Eagle Claw, Owner and Gamakatsu. I rarely lose fish on them and they’ve become a standard piece of terminal tackle when I throw swimbaits, flukes and Horny Toad-type baits.

Again, this just goes to show that there rarely is something novel in the fishing industry – things are just rehashed and remarketed more so than not. Maybe the market wasn’t ready at the time? All I know is regarding these two products, they definitely catch fish now. I bet they would have back then too, the fish never change.


Past Reader Comments:

fish_food:  And how about Mr. Twister’s long overlooked Hawg Frawg. Did the Hawg Frawg inspire the topwater toad craze in the mid-2000s?

Terry to fish_food:  fish_food, Brian will have a piece up tomorrow on the Twister Hawg Frog!

Rich:  Can’t you see the difference? The way that worm is rigged, the boot tail is on the top side of the bait, while today’s boot tails are on the bottom side. totally different, right?

As far as the weighted keeper hook goes, it always bothers me when a hook or jig is pictured upside down in an ad. Didn’t anyone in the company that actually knew something about the product and its use get to review the ad before publication?

For what it’s worth, after all these years, Twister’s Sassy Grub — originally released in the summer of ’79 is still one of my go-to cold water baits.

Terry to Rich:  You know Rich, I saw that the dang thing was rigged upside down and it didn’t register with me. 🙂

I never used the Sassy Grub much but I used the Sassy Shad a lot for flipping. If George Kramer is reading this, he’ll get a kick out of this. Lake Elsinore in the early 1980s had (maybe still does) a huge shad population and the cover was primarily flooded trees. When the shad would spawn in the trees, there was no better bait than a 4-inch Sassy Shad, Texas rigged with a 1/4- to 1/2-ounce slip sinker. Flip the thing in the trees that were in 6- to 8-feet of water and hold on.