1990 Berkley Power Worm ad from Bassmaster Magazine

Yesterday we posted a piece on Mister Twister and how the curly tail changed worms fishing forever.  Today in Power Worm 1990, we’re covering another ground-breaking soft plastic developed by Dr. Keith Jones for Berkley.

Scents have been used in plastics since the late 1940s when Dave DeLong placed anise oil in his famous DeLong worms.  Concoctions of all sorts were developed to mask the odor of the human scent even before that.

Nick Creme, most likely in response to DeLong, started adding scent to his baits in the 1960s and then, Tom Mann came out with his Jelly Worms in 1971 in 14 different flavors.

Scent continued to evolve in baits and as spray-on potions.  But there was always the question, if it wasn’t baked into the plastic itself, was it even worth it.

Then there were the anglers who didn’t believe in it at all.

Then in 1990, Berkley, with the help of Dr. Keith Jones, developed a line of plastics called the Power Worm.  This was a different plastic altogether.  You could cut the plastic and see small specks of what looked like salt or some sort of organic matter.  Put a worm in a glass cup and you could see a milky substance start oozing from the surface.  Take the worm out of the cup and it felt slimy to the touch.

Dr. Jones said the plastisol and whatever else was added was based on scientific studies in his lab.  According to Jones, the bait didn’t just attract fish, when they bit, they held on.

A lot of this advertising seemed hyped and there were a lot of naysayers who scoffed at the claims.  But it didn’t take long for those naysayers to start grabbing packs of Power Worms.  Too many anglers were catching fish on them.

Statistically, if a majority of people are throwing one thing, a majority of fish are going to be caught on it.  But according to my notes and notes from close angling friends at the time, there was something to this new plastic formulation.  It actually did catch fish over conventional plastics.

Berkley’s original Power Worm formula lasted for a good 15 years before it was shelved for the next new thing in soft plastics.  They still make Power Bait plastics but talk to those who threw the original and they’ll swear the new formula is different.  I have to agree.