Back in the 1980’s, when splitshotting was as popular as drop-shotting is today, we had some pretty good choices to pin on a hook. We also had a bass population boom that made tiny baits the focus.

But as those fish grew up some, and still in big numbers, there came a need for a slightly bigger bait that did all the right things.

It was Al Kalin out in Brawley, then, who adapted a ribbon-tail style worm in a four-inch version, with a thicker head for a larger hook. Yet, in a somewhat confusing marketing approach (in retrospect) rather than depart too far from associating Kalin’s popular swimbait/shad tail, called the Lunker Lure (yeah, we had that name out here too), Al named the new bait the Lunker Worm.

But it caught ’em. I can’t tell you how many bags of those guys I went through over the next 10 or 12 years, but then we started using other things and kind of got away from it. However, when Al sold his company to Uncle Josh, I managed to procure a hundred or so salt & peppers–but then the worms totally disappeared. The Kalin brand remained in the catalogue, but not those baits.

Until last week! Making my rounds at ICAST, I ran into Matt Bichanich their sales manager, and there on the display board behind him were packs of that very bait–only now it’s called the “Finesse Worm.”

LOOK WHO'S BACK...

Yes, the name is changed. But these are the very same baits from the original Kalin molds, that perfect little swimmer with the thinnest little tail. True, they don’t offer all the 400 or so colors Al used to produce, but they do have 11, including green pumpkin/purple flake, straight green pumpkin, black with red flake (they call neon), Al’s “nightcrawler” a brown with black flake, and as you can see, another favorite of mine watermelon/red flake.

Yeah, I’m out of luck for now on salt & pepper, but I’m pretty sure I can do some damage with the new line-up. It just feels good to have an old friend back in town.