Today in Rebel Lures Catalog 1975-76 we’re taking a step back to the hay-days of Rebel Lures and Plastics Research & Development Company, pre-PRADCO. This catalog features all the baits that Rebel offered for this year as well as an introduction to their new line of tackle boxes designed for the bass angler.
Rebel catalogs are hard to come by and I would like to thank Andy Kinslow for scanning this catalog and giving us the file to share. Over the last couple weeks, we’ve had a couple folks reach out to us and offer scans of their collections. This really helps us build our gallery of tackle and boat catalogs, documenting the history of these companies.
So, let’s get on with this amazing catalog.
The front cover (lead-in image) of this catalog features a cool image of all the products Rebel was offering that year. They were still in the troll-motor business as well as the boat business. If you recall, the boat used for the first BASS Masters Classic on Lake Mead, NV in 1971 was a Rebel. That boat was a tub-style boat with an inboard/outboard motor and featured the Rebel trolling motor. Looking at this cover you see their boats had morphed into the more modern style bass boat of the 1970s, a tri-hull. I wish we had access to that boat catalog so we could add it to our boat gallery.
Also on the front cover is the new tackle box they were offering, the Rebel Bass’N Box. There’s also a couple rods that appear to be Lew’s Speedsticks and of course a host of Rebel lures. For a cover picture, this image has it all.
Inside the front cover are several fish pictures on the Rebel Bulletin Board from anglers along with their written testimony on why they like Rebel Lures. Great old images from days gone by.
Page 1 gets into the good stuff – the Rebel Minnow. Offered in six sizes with floating and sinking versions in all but the smallest F49, which was only offered in floating. What I was unaware of was the fact they made sinking models in this bait. It makes sense Rebel would do that since they were trying to compete with Rapala and their Count-Down minnow. We just never stocked them in the shop I worked at during the time.
I also found it interesting that all the sinking models had rattles in them. It’s my thought that this is how they got the baits to sink, or maybe there was also some added ballast added to. If someone out there knows more about this, please let us know.
At the bottom of the page are the two smallest sizes of the Rebel Jointed “Broken Back” Minnow, the J50 and J100. Both were floating models and were 2-1/2-inches and 3-1/2-inches in length. The next page features the rest of the Jointed “Broken Back” Minnows, in sizes J200 and J300.
Next, we get to one of the most popular baits ever made by Rebel, the Deep Runner or better known as the Spoonbill Rebel. This is arguably the bait that started the jerkbaiting craze and technique in Missouri. For shallow water the floating Rapala was the dominant bait to throw but when you needed that extra depth, it was the Rebel Spoonbill that shined.
Due to its lack of weight and the long bill, the bait was difficult to throw in all sizes, especially if there was a hint of a breeze. Because of this, most anglers threw them on spinning gear. And man did they catch fish.
Rebel offered the bait in three sizes, the DR100 (3-1/2-inches long and 1/4-oz), DR200 (4-1/2-inches long and 3/8-oz), and the DR300 (5-1/2-inches long and 3/4-oz). The DR100 had two hooks where the DR200 and DR300 had three.
Page 3 highlights more of the original baits that put rebel on the map, the Humpy, and the Super-R. The Humpy was offered in one size but four different models. There was a shallow diving floater (F25) and medium dunning sinker (S25). Both baits were 1-3/4-inches long but the floater weighed 1/4-oz while the sinker weighed 3/8-oz.
Then there were three deep runners, the DR25, the DR25R, and the DRM25. The first two models were essentially the same except the DR25R had rattles. The DRM model had a metal lip.
Next, we move to the Super-R. This bait got its first bit of fame from Tommy Martin at the fourth BASS Masters Classic held on Wheeler Lake. Although Martin didn’t catch all of his fish on the bait, it definitely helped him weigh enough fish to garner his first and only win of the most famous bass tournament in the world.
The Super-R was a deep diving bait that was 2-1/2-inches long and weighed 3/8-oz.
Continuing with the original Rebels on page 4, we see the Racket Shad in both floating and sinking models, as well the Poppers and Bonehead Poppers. The Racket Shad Floater came with a diving lip in two sizes – F61 (2-1/2-inch), and F62 (3-inch) and came with rattles. The sinker, on the other hand, had no lip and was a vibrating lure. Built off the same bodies as the floaters, these baits also had rattles in them but I’m not sure if they just had more rattles or there was ballast weight to make them heavier. The S71 (2-1/2-inches long and 3/8-oz), and the S72 (3-inches long and 5/8-oz) came with two treble hooks.
Next in the lineup are the Rebel Poppers starting with the Popper itself. Offered in two models, the P100 and PB100, the bait was 3-inches long and weighed 1/2-oz. The difference between the two being the bucktail treble on the back of the PB100.
Below the Popper is the Bonehead Popper, model numbers PBX100 and PX100. This bait looks like the Popper but with a shaved upper lip. The bait came in one size, 3-inches long and 1/2-oz, but one of the models had a feathered treble on the rear.
Page 5 continues with the most famous popper that Rebel ever made, the Pop-R. Brought back to life in the mid-1980s through the success of Zell Rowland, the Pop-R in its original form doesn’t resemble the Pop-R of the 80s, unless the rendering is missing something. The 1980s Pop-R I am familiar with had a slenderer body. It came in two sizes, the P60 (1/4-oz and 2-1/2-inches long), and the famous P70 (1/2-oz and 3-inches long). Also notice the lack of the feathered treble that became standard in the 1980s.
The next three baits, the Jumpin’ Minnow, Spinback and Top Prop are three baits I have zero experience with. The Jumpin Minnow was offered in two models, the TW100R (3-1/2-inches long and 3/8-oz), and the TW200R (4-1/2-inches long and 1/2-oz). It’s hard to tell if this was a walking bait.
The Spinback looks to be made from a Humpy-like mold, minus a slow for a lip and adorned with two props. It’s a cool little topwater bait that bares no resemblance to any contemporary bait I know of. At 1-3/4-inches long and 1/4-oz, this would be a spinning rod-only lure as well as one to fish with lighter line.
The Top Prop looks to be the typical topwater prop bait, probably in response to Smithwick’s Devil’s Horse. At 3-1/2-inches long and 3/8-oz, the bait was assembled with rattles.
If you’re a fan of Rebel crankbaits, then page 6 is the page you’ll want to focus on. The R-Series cranks make their statement here with seven models from the Teeny-R to the Maxi-R in the shallow running baits and the Deep Wee-R to the Deep Maxi-R in the deep divers. Reading the descriptions of the shallow runners, nothing out of the ordinary strikes me. They’re all straightforward. But jump down to the deep divers and things get a bit deep, so to speak.
The problem I have is with rebels stated run depths. Now I have a lot of experience with these deep running baits and could never get them to run at the depths they claimed. Even on 6-pound line. For example, they state the Deep Wee-R will dive to a depth of 10-12 feet. Nonsense. You’re lucky if it’ll run 6-8 feet. Then, jumping down to the Deep maxi-R, their claim it’ll run to 20-plus feet is also full of it. This bait, in my experience casting with 8- or 10-pound line was it might hit 12 feet. All of this, of course, is on a normal cast, not trolling.
The last page of baits is page 7, featuring the Sea-Gar, Windcheater Popper and the Super Minnow. Three more baits I haven’t seen or fished. These are all saltwater lures and painted with what Rebel called Superkote finishes.
On to page 8 and the “New” Rebel Bass’N Box and Trolling Motors. I vividly remember these boxes, as I owned one. They were great if you kept them in a climate-controlled environment. But in the heat of the Arizona summer sun, mine warped to the point the lids wouldn’t close anymore. That was after one trip. As a young kid who saved his lunch money to buy tackle, that was a setback. Thankfully the department store I bought it from let me return it and buy a Plano.
Below the tackle boxes re the Rebel trolling motors. Rebel offered four models, two in 12/24 Volt and two in 12 Volt. Look at what the 12/24 versions had to offer. Thirty-six-inch shaft with 24-1/2 pounds of thrust. Today that seems crazy, but you must remember, back then a 15-foot boat was standard with few boats in the 17-foot class offered. We used two batteries to power the trolling motor, and one of those batteries was used to start the motor and run all the electronics. It was simple and it worked.
The final page of the catalog was Rebel’s color chart. This is probably the most important page in the catalog for today’s collectors as it shows the stock colors offered. Of course if you were a shop that had a custom need, you were welcome to order a gross in a custom color and many shops throughout the U.S. did that very thing. Tracking custom colors can be a lifelong adventure, never knowing what might come up next but with the stock color chart, at least collectors know where to start.
The back cover of the catalog features the new BASS’N Box, filled with baits. Crankbaits, minnows, spinnerbaits, and it looks like they even have some Mister Twister Phenoms in there with weights and hooks. Then at the bottom is the always recognizable red and blue, Rebel Logo. It’s a great image to end a great catalog.
Again, I’d like to thank Andy Kinslow for the file of this catalog. Hopefully by the end of 2023 we’ll have the best catalog directory on the internet for old lures and boat companies.
If you’d like to participate in sharing your old catalogs with us, please leave a comment down below or hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To view the entire catalog in its entirety, please check out the gallery below. Click on the first image and use the arrows to scroll through the catalog.
Along with Bill Norman and Bagley, Rebel was the crankbait to be slinging in the 70’s. Pro staffers like Larry Nixon, Ricky Green and Tommy Martin kept their baits in the tournament limelight. Interesting,Terry, that you mention the issues with diving depth claims. Besides tuning issues, this was a big deal with crankbaits around this time, trying to determine how deep a lure would actually dive. There were a lot of claims from a lot of manufacturers that were suspect. Rebel did come out with the double deep series, that had a small lead ball in the front of the lip that purportedly gave the lures greater diving range.
In later years(2000), there was an interesting book published called “Precision Casting, A Comprehensive Guide to Crankbait Running Depths” that did a comprehensive study on popular crankbaits of the time, including Rebels. It listed a graphical dive curve and various depths achieved based on casting distance and line size. I hope to give this book a post here at BFA in the upcoming months.