For whatever discussion there is about the earliest of plastic worm creations (and you can explore some of that on the web click here), the tradition of worm colors began slowly. Sometime by brand and sometimes by region, the choices expanded from the very first: natural, black or purple to untold options.

In San Diego, Delong’s brown with a black stripe dominated all other colors from 1960 to almost 1980. But there were niche colors elsewhere that had great followings. Creme’s purple with a fluorescent pink tail Scoundrel won at least one national tournament. Still in production, I’ve never seen that color in any boat in California for decades.

During the 1980’s, there was an intriguing color that seemed to change hues in the water or under different light conditions.  A greenish, goldish, purplish semi-transparent color, “motoroil,” many of you remember, was something we caught ’em on in the clear water from San Vicente to Lake Mead, while it also had its moments in the murky waters of Lake Elsinore.

Yet, one day it just went away. It left the bass racks and the saltwater scene as well–and I don’t remember why. Did it just fall out of favor, replaced by something else?

I know this. It was not something that worked if the manufacturer tried to make much of a variation of the original. As soon as it became too gold it was more like amber/scuppernong. And if it was mixed too green, it lost that fluid appearance.

Yet maybe it’s just the evolution of things. Brown with a black stripe was replaced with chocolate/blue vein, and straight black is more a specialty color for big worms and night fishing–or trips to Mexico. And heck, among the once reliable choices, we don’t see straight blue very often.

And purple survives. But for now, motoroil worms are not in the trays. And for now, maybe we can live without them.






20 Responses to “Motor oil: I guess we can live without it”

by Jason Prewitt

Wow Mr. Kramer you are bringing back memories of El Dorado Park lakes in the 80’s. Motor Oil was a great color for a 12 year old kid like me back then,sneaking into any golf course pond I could find for a cast or two. It also sparks a bit of nostalgia for another long forgotten color. One that I caught more big bass on than anything else pre-1991, that was Blueberry. 🙂

by George Kramer

I know this, Jason. I would throw them again…

It is nostalgia time – remember the old Reds brand in motor oil and red flake?

It seems that green weenie replaced it and then all the mutations that followed.

by George Kramer

Could be, cc, on its replacement. But for a time I also remember the SD bait company called “Lit’l Muthas” and its motor oil 5-inch straight tail was killer.

I haven’t seen a green weenie/red flake color in a long time. I’ve got some hand pours in this color that I can’t get any more of so I hesitate to use them. I’ve settled for green pumpkin/red flake and watermelon/red flake. They don’t work as good but they catch fish.

by George Kramer

Somewhat similar was the story of the old “Lake Perris Special” followed by its sequel, “Lake Perris Fire. Pea soup green with a black stripe was the former. The follow-up added red flake. But I hear you. When we get low on an old favorite, we only pull them out for “life or death” situations. 😉

Oh George… You had to bring up Motor Oil didn’t you? 🙂 The one that worked best for me at your pond was the 6-inch Twin T’s Motor Oil Gold Flake. Amazing bait at Elsinore. Then at Vail and Skinner we had good luck with the Mann’s Jelly Worm and Auger Tails. Hodges was all about the Reds in Motor Oil Red Flake (post dated the Lil Mothers and had a thicker body from the egg sack forward.

Great color and I wonder if any of the new pourers today even remember what the color is? It’d be nice to see someone start making it again.

So, here’s another one for you…. Color Plus?

Thanks for the memories GK.


George, I still have a bunch of the Perris Specials – Maurice Holybee was a terrific pourer.

He had a color he called “magic green” that later showed up as green pumpkin. Don’t know if he pre-dated it but magic green was the first green pumpkin that I remember seeing. Someone once told me that Holybee was the first to pour green weenie.

Perris Special is a great color.

CC, or GK, was Maurice the guy that poured California Customs? I thought they were the ones that came up with Green Weenie – but I could be wrong.

by George Kramer

Holybee was from Riverside. He did drop-shot before most in the U.S. He called it “stacking.” His company was Workin’ Girl Worms.

by Kevin Linehan

George Pultz was the original “California Worms” guy. Great person and he made a hell of a worm! I still have a grip of his Perris Fire worms and made an exact copy the other day.

by George Kramer

I believe Conroy Oakley was the name, arguably, associated with the earliest green weenie. Again, true “firsts” in baits and colors are sometimes hard to pin down…

by Dave Schreck

Hey Darlene, If you need some Green Weenie Red flake I make a good one!
Paste to your Browser!

by Jojo Norwood

I still got some Motor Oil hand pours from an Iduho outfit “Snake Bite Baits”. They had a very cool web-site that was full of good info on how to rig each bait. I just have had a hard time w/ “hand-ours”. Have a large stock of MO/Red flake Manns Auger Tails. I had very good luck on a MO/Chart laminate worm in clear water years ago. Their was a purple version of Motor oil changed from purple to brown…Chamelion??

by George Kramer

Creme’s “Color Plus” had one that went purple to brown–and was available until just recently. What I’ve found hardest is to logically relate conditions in front of me to my choice of a motor oil worm. I did better with it when I didn’t think so much… 🙂

Too many choices nowadays, George. Back in the day, we didn’t have this many choices. We had a few basic colors, worm styles, hooks, line, sinkers, etc. and that’s what we used. Now I have so many colors, I just grab the first one I see and tie it on! My Roboworm wallet is bulging! I’m at the limits of the strap and velcro!

by George Kramer

I hear you, Darlene. Then there is also the possibility that some guys are out there whacking them on the MO and nobody’s talking…

My grandpa Conroy Oakley started the green weenie in the 1970’s and many other colors. I still keep his name going by making his colors the same as he did.

by George Kramer

Glad to hear that. Conroy was quite a guy and quite a bass fisherman!