I got some unsettling news earlier this week: The bait that I used to catch the largest bass of my life July 20, weighing 5 pounds, 11 ounces, is no longer being made.
It’s called a Ribbontail worm and it was manufactured by Berkley. Not only did I use it to catch a 21-inch bass and two 19-inchers on that wonderful day on the water, but my son, Andy, caught the biggest bass of his life on the same bait the following week. His lunker bass was slightly longer than 20 inches and weighed 5 pounds, 2 ounces.
After making this startling discovery, I did two things: 1. I called Berkley and got on the phone with a high-ranking manager, Ron Kliegl, who, interestingly, was part of the group of people who made the decision to stop making the Ribbontail; and, 2. I went on an all-out search to find more. I was down to my last package and really wanted to keep using them for a long time.
I was able to find one package at a local store. It was the third store I tried and it had exactly one package left, so I bought it. I also found some on Berkley’s website and ordered several more packages, which have been shipped and should land on my doorstep in a few days.
So, I think I’m set for now. This supply should carry me through the end of this fishing season. It’s next year and beyond that I am worried about. Maybe I’m being too paranoid. After all, Berkley still makes its standard Powerworm. And, aren’t they close enough to the Ribbontail that they will catch fish just as effectively?
Maybe. But, the bass have spoken and said they like the Ribbontail, so I’m not inclined to change this offering. And, at least for a little while, I won’t have to. But, unless I am able to convince the company to start making them again — which I tried to do by pleading with Ron on the phone and sending him a follow-up e-mail — I will have to find a suitable equivalent. I’m not convinced the Powerworms are close enough to lure the big bass into biting, but I truly hope the fish will prove me wrong.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy fishing the Ribbontails I have left and count my blessings that a few of them still reside in my tackle box.