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Sweet Sugar Pine Topwater Lures

by: Brad Wiegmann

The whole line of Gilmore Lures topwater baits.

  Few lures can match the excitement of a bass striking a topwater lure.  While the majority of topwater lures are made out of plastic, one lure manufacture, Gilmore Tackle Company, or phone 870-294-5337) located in Pelsor, Arkansas, still makes wooden topwater lures.  In fact, Gilmore Lures makes every one of their hand crafted, topwater lures out of sugar pine.

  Gilmore Lures began in 1950, when Luney Gilmore moved back to Arkansas and expanded his line of lures to include hard baits.  Luney Gilmore designed and made hand crafted lures to catch bass in lakes, ponds, rivers, and creeks in central and north central Arkansas.  Like all lures that catch fish, the word spread quickly and anglers across the nation had to have one.  The hand crafted, custom painted sugar pine wooden lures have proved to be extremely durable and sit higher on the water’s surface, creating more noise than other prop lures.  Early Gilmore Jumpers series lures were equipped with hook hangers; however, today’s only require a quality screw eye to hold the extra strong, sharp VMC hooks.

  Gilmore Lures topwater baits with props are the Jumper Series, Hoodler Series, Poppa Doodle Series, Jumbo Jumper Series, and the Oddball, which is made without any blades at all.  Each of the 4 different prop series is uniquely designed for different conditions anglers face on the water.  Gilmore prop lures equipped with round blades produce bass after a cold front or when an angler wants a more subtle action; pointed blades catch bass in shallow lakes or lakes with limited water clarity around wood, rock, and aquatic vegetation.

  Luney Gilmore has passed away but the company continues on with his son, Dennis as CEO.  Dennis said, “Anglers should select their lure color based on water color and which type of bass they are fishing for.”  He suggested the following colors for catching bass on topwater prop baits but stated, “Anglers should not limit themselves to only one color.”  For Largemouth bass: clear water/Frog, cloudy water/Smokey Joe, stained water/Fire Tiger, murky water/Black, muddy water/Blue, for smallmouth bass: clear water/Copperhead, cloudy water/Black and Yellow, stained water/Ole Blue, murky water/Frog, muddy water/Black, and for stripers and hybrids: clear water/Gray Striper, cloudy water/Smokey Joe, stained water/Black and Pearl, murky water/Christmas Tree, and muddy water/Smokey Joe.  Gilmore Lure prop baits come in over 34 custom paint finishes.  The Jumper Series also comes in a one-of-a-kind Snake-Skin finish.

  To fish a topwater prop bait, Dennis suggested 3 techniques for catching bass, “Try chugging the bait by moving the tip of the rod 6 to 8-inches then reeling up the slack before doing it again,” he continued, “if a bass strikes at the lure but misses it, stop the lure and allow it to remain still for a moment, if the bass does not strike it begin chugging it again.”  “Buzzing is another technique in which an angler simply reels in the prop bait at a constant speed, the lure will make a bubbling sound as it is retrieved,” explained Dennis, “or try the ring test, by nature a bass is an opportunistic predator and when an easy or free meal offers itself, bass will usually capitalize; cast next to cover and let the rings around the lure disappear then barely twitch the lure, this movement imitates a dying or weak meal which bass can not resist.”  When fishing Gilmore prop baits, Dennis recommended anglers to not use braid fishing line; instead, a stiff monofilament 17 to 20-pound test line on a heavy action rod with a high speed reel.  

  Whether it’s a smallmouth bass in a river or largemouth bass in a lake; exciting, vicious, sweet topwater strikes are just a cast away with a hand crafted, custom painted, sugar pine, wooden prop lures.


Large Jumper 4.25" Ole Blue                       Go-Getter 3.25" Green Perch


Brad Wiegmann is a professional fishing guide on Beaver Lake and outdoor writer. Contact him at (479) 756-5279 or by e-mail at