A swimmin’ minnow does the trick

By Larry Dablemont, Contributing Columnist
Posted 3/8/23

I hired Nancy Smith Lynn a year or so ago to work with advertisers for my magazines. She owns a farm near Mt. Grove, Missouri and is a nice lady who does a whiz-band job of what she does for me, but …

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A swimmin’ minnow does the trick


I hired Nancy Smith Lynn a year or so ago to work with advertisers for my magazines. She owns a farm near Mt. Grove, Missouri and is a nice lady who does a whiz-band job of what she does for me, but she had never cast a lure. She thought could do it, but all ladies think they can learn to fish good… I just smile at that. I took Nancy fishing last week when it was too cool, and too cloudy and not at all like I like for it to be when I go up a lake tributary looking for white bass.

I spent a few minutes showing Nancy how to cast a spinning outfit, figuring I would see a lot of lures in tree limbs that day, and I will be darn if she didn’t learn how to use it within minutes. But the fishing in one of my favorite spots was lousy. Then it got fair when we caught a couple, including Nancy’s first white bass. The fish was okay, but not huge, maybe 12 inches. Big enough to filet and eat!

So I made a big thing of it… her catching her very first fish ever on something besides a cane pole and night crawler back when she was 10! We bet a thousand dollars that I would catch a bigger fish than she would that day. Sort of funny it was, Nancy thinking that on her first trip she would out-fish a grizzled old veteran angler like me!

Fishing sort of went from slow to okay that afternoon! In an hour or so it was medium-good and Nancy caught a 13-inch largemouth. I told her that fish wouldn’t win any bet against me and what I would catch when I got serious about it. Then the sun broke out and it got well-good. I caught a 12-inch smallmouth…fought like the dickens in that current. It hadn’t exactly become the kind of holy-mackerel-outstanding like it has often been in that river. But it was getting there.

Here is where I would like to say that there are a thousand fishing lures in my basement, maybe 2 thousand I don’t know. Because I am an outdoor writer lure companies have sent me free lures hoping I would write about what they sent me and from time to time I did. I have a story about a lure that I was sent which I used on a wind-blown lake in Kansas at an outdoor writers meeting that is a humdinger of a tale, but I’ll tell that story about that lure later.

Hundreds of my lure collection adorning that wall are lures I have found, combing the water-lines on dozens of lakes for years and years. One day in Canada I found ten oversized foot-long Muskie lures, two of them antiques; in one day, 300 dollars worth of fishing lures from Lake of the Woods sandbars.

Well, last week I tied an old lure on Nancy’s line that had been on that ‘wall of lures’ of mine for at least thirty-five years without getting wet. It is called a Swimmin’ Minnow lure, likely made in the fifties. To see a picture of it, go to my website, larrydablemontoutdoors.

I figured that old lure would give me the opportunity to catch the biggest bass, when all it did was made Nancy a semi-pro. That little wiggling lure began to call fish like a dying rabbit calls in coyotes. A white bass here, a largemouth there, and she don’t even offer to let me have it back! Then she starts hollerin’ that she is gonna need a net and her light-action spinning rod is bent over like one of those peach-tree limbs I use to cut for my mother years back. What a fighter he was, a 15-incher that won Nancy the thousand dollars we bet on the biggest fish. I haven’t paid her yet; there are deductions, like boat gas, and rental of fishing gear.

But when it was over, that Swimmin’ Minnow lure had racked up about two-dozen white bass and a half-dozen largemouth, her rod bent more often than it was unbent. Nancy is chompin’ at the bit to go again with one of the Ozarks finest fishing guides. Heck, I ought to be the best; I started guiding my Dad when I was only ten. And I took Joe and Kate Richardson on paid float trips when I was twelve years old and Mrs. Richardson caught the only six-pound smallmouth I have ever seen come from the Ozarks. If that sounds like bragging just a little bit, it is. But it isn’t the big-time bragging that I often get into! Back then as a kid I got 50 cents an hour for guiding fishermen, and Nancy didn’t have to pay me nothing! Next time I take her, it is gonna be a paid trip… 50-cents-an-hour and a thousand dollars on the biggest fish!

In some future column, I will tell more stories about fishing lures I have used, especially the old ones. But that will have to wait. Next trip out I intend to use some lures made in the 40’s and before, like the Flatfish, Tadpoly, and Lazy Ike. But for the first 3 or 4 hours I intend to use a Swimmin’ Minnow.

I write some stuff that newspapers can’t use, and take dozens of color photos that readers might like to see on what is known as a BlogSpot. To read all of what I write and see the color photos, just get on a computer and put in larrydablemontoutdoors

You can write me at Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613 or email me at lightninridge47@gmail.com I’m not in my office much when I am gone, but my secretary is. Just tell her to tell me to call you. That phone number is 417-777-5227. To see my 12 books and 90 magazine issues, the website is just larrydablemont.com.