The Creek Chub Plunker – A Classic Bait
This advertisement from the March 1928 issue of Outdoor America magazine proclaims the Creek Chub Bait Company's “Plunker” as “new” though it is known that it was produce in 1927. Seasoned Creek Chub Bait Company collectors will recognize in this illustration the Plunker's early, full-bodied shape. It is listed as weighing ¾ oz. In a few years it would take on a slimmer appearance and have its weight trimmed to 5/8 oz. Identifying genuine early Creek Chub Plunkers can be confusing . The confusion results from the fact that later Shur Strike Plunkers (made by C.C.B.C. as a less expensive, second line of baits) are nearly identical in shape to the earliest Creek Chub Plunkers. The Shur Strike baits must have been made from a lighter wood or had a lot less paint on them as they are listed at ½ oz..
Few plugs have been featured in paintings as many times as the Creek Chub Plunker. It is usually in the mouth of a bass with the fish leaping high, as anglers in the distance look on. Most of the time it is the ubiquitous red and white.
The idea of a surface lure (with no spinners) that popped, plunked and splashed when given a good tug, seems to have evolved from Jim Heddon's “slopenose”(cc 1902) on through the various “woodpecker” style baits. The Holzaphel Mushroom Bait (cc 1912 -- see Deconstructing Old ads for October 17th 2009)) appears to me as somewhat of an intermediate between the “woodpeckers” and the Plunker. Since the Plunker proved to be an effective lure for big fish, it has been copied in countless ways by large and small companies alike. From the Heddon Chugger to the present-day Pop-R and its many morphs, the "plunking bait" has become a standard type in any line-up of surface lures.
When sportswriter Brent Frazee of the Kansas City Star was introduced by Warren Platt to bass fishing with vintage tackle, he was presented with several vintage lures to use. He first chose the Creek Chub Plunker. Brent soon started to catch bass with the bait and despite repeated encouragements from Warren and myself to try some other baits, he has steadfastly stuck with the Plunker. Frankly, he has caught about as many fish as either of us when we've fished together. If one has to be a “one-lure fisherman” you could certainly do worse.
As a boy, I spent many hours looking over the selection of plugs at the local hardware store. These always included Creek Chub Plunkers which I found very alluring, but for some reason I never chose to buy one with my hard-earned, lawn-mowing money. It was not until I got into collecting old tackle that I decided to give the Plunker a try. It has since accounted for many large bass, especially after dark. I wish I had purchased one back in the 1950's ----- just think of all the bass I missed out on!
-- Bill Sonnett