[Editor’s note: Steve Quinn, of In-Fisherman fame, and I have been good friends and colleagues for a while. Recently he contacted me to let me know he had an interesting find after going through his desk – a correspondence with Allan Cole – who is the inventor of the AC Plug. Below is the story of these documents.]
If the names Porter Hall, Jerry Rago, Ken Huddleston, Darin Tochihara, Bart Crabb, Mike Shaw, Greg Vella, and Allan Cole stir up memories of giant bass on special lures, you recall that it was an exciting era of discovery and bass beyond our wildest dreams. I covered the scene for In-Fisherman beginning about 2005 as swimbaits began to take the bass scene by storm. After the big wooden baits made a splash, Bruce Porter and later Fred Ward got us into hollow-bellies that changed the way we fished as well.
In revving up for a recent article, I came across some interesting correspondence about those days and thought I’d share a note from Allan Cole, whose AC Plug ignited the fire. He first built them in 1987, but the genre didn’t come into its own for 6 or 7 years, as they transitioned from striped bass lures to bass baits.
I received his note and instructions, with a schematic of his patent and a list of noteworthy catches on his lure, as well as some of his hand-built baits.
Was Allan Cole the inventor of the AC Shiner (jerkbait) that we used in the early 80’s?
Hey Dave, no, they are two completely different people. The AC Shiner is made by a guy named Arthur C. Schoultheis out of Ohio. Not sure how Cole got away with naming his company A.C. Plug but I guess there was enough of a difference. Here’s a good video on the maker of the AC Shiner if you want to check it out! Good hearing from you Dave! https://www.pbs.org/video/kentucky-afield-wonderful-world-fishing-lures/
The story I heard about the AC plug was it was actually designed to be trolled for trophy Brown trout . Allen Cole was a member of the “Brown Baggers” who were a group that specialized in catching brown trout 10 lbs and up . Dennis Lee ( Father of 4X Delta Basmaster winner Robert Lee ) was also a Brown Baggers member and in fact Robert had the age group record for a Brown trout when he was a kid .
You are right about the Brown Baggers and the fact that Allen Cole was a part of them. Same with Jerry Rago. Now I am not sure about whether the AC trout was designed for the big browns of the Eastern Sierra. I do know, and from talking with Jerry Rago at length for about 20 years now, Allen and the other brown baggers generally used customized Rapalas and Rebel Spoonbills for their trout exploits. It was when they decided to target the striped bass of Silverwood, Pyramid, and the Colorado River Lakes, that they started making their own plugs. When they found out that a 10-pound bass would get more attention than a 30 pound striper, that’s when they shifted gears to black bass.