History of Slug-Go®

As hard as it is to believe today, prior to the mid-1980s, there was no such thing as a 'soft stickbait' or 'soft jerkbait'. Back then, Lunker City Fishing Specialties occupied Herb Reed's garage, and supplied a small group of avid anglers with custom-built spinnerbaits (Thunder Blades), living rubber jigs (Jungle Jigs) and hand poured soft plastic lures in color patterns that at the time, were considered exotic. The soft-stickbait concept germinated when Reed connected a few common bass fishing observations.

  • Most predatory fish — bass in particular — exhibited a notable preference for long, slender baitfish, and accordingly, responded most readily to lures of similar proportion.
  • The more erratically those long, slender lures were worked, the more frequently and more violently bass attacked them.
  • In heavy cover, where most bass live, the multi-treble hook configuration of typical slender minnow style plugs is self-defeating.
  • The best slender minnow plugs available were too light and too delicate to fish efficiently with tackle heavy enough to for Reed to feel comfortable using it in even moderate cover.
  • The lip that causes a hard bait to dive and wiggle produces a rhythmic action that works against the angler's efforts to work the lure erratically.
  • Reed's observations led him to conclude that the most powerful factor in generating strikes was erratic, out-of-control action. On several occasions, he watched bass ignore — even charge right through — a school of baitfish to attack an injured or dying minnow. He theorized that the erratic, random motions of the distressed baitfish were a natural trigger for predators in the "survival of the fittest" way of the aquatic world.

    Reed set out to design and construct a lure that could be fished on heavy tackle in heavy cover; that would capitalize on the predator's affinity for long, slender prey; offered the rigging versatility to be fish from top to bottom and everywhere in between and above all, one that captured the erratic, out-of-control behavior of a baitfish in trouble. The general shape came quickly. "Tuning" the details of the shape took several seasons. When it all came together, and Reed applied his artist's background (he was an acclaimed illustrator before Lunker City took over all his time) to creating color patterns that would mimic common baitfish better than anything that had ever been poured in soft vinyl, the results worked far beyond even his most optimistic expectations.

    Of course Slug-Go® was more than just a new soft plastic lure. It was a new type of lure! Not a worm or grub with a different wiggle, but a bait that created a whole new way of fishing ... imitating an injured baitfish with a soft plastic lure designed specifically not to have any repetitve wiggle or action of its own, but to rely entirely on what the angler does with his rod tip.

    Slug-Go® actually won its first tournament in May of '87, at Lake Winnepesaukee, when Reed and partner Phil Hunt Slug-Goed a limit of smallies that averaged nearly 5 pounds apiece. By 1988, the lure had become the 'secret weapon' of a handful of avid northeastern bass anglers. In 1989/90 Slug-Go was the subject of feature articles in In-Fisherman and BASSMaster magazines. 5th and 2nd place finishes in B.A.S.S. Invitational tournaments in the '90-'91 season helped secure Slug-Go®'s place in history. Within a year, it had become the hottest selling new soft plastic lure introduction in bassing history.

    Never one to rest on his laurels, Reed has converted many of his old custom poured soft-plastic creations into full production, and has introduced dozens of new designs as well. He has helped to reshape soft plastic injection technology as he pushes the envelope to force manufacturing techniques to keep up with his inventive designs. Slug-Go® has been copied ad infinitum in the years since it made Lunker City into a major player in the fishing lure industry. But serious and knowledgeable anglers keep coming back to the original. The reason is simple...only the folks who conceived it know all the tricks to building it right, and it consistently outfishes the copies. Indeed, many of the 'improvements' that those who copy the lure incorporate are actually counterproductive, and illustrate an ignorance of the underlying design concepts that make Slug-Go® into something far more than just another hunk of plastic. The inability or unwillingness to stop applying plastic-worm-design-concepts to a lure that shares only the material with 'worms' forever limits the copycats to 'also-ran' status.