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The Magic of the ZinkerZ by Ned Kehde

Tackle Warehouse is running a special on these today.  Clink on the Tackle Warehouse banner and type in ZinkerZ. 

It’s the nature of talented and veteran bass anglers to shun talk and thoughts about such things as a magic lure.  It’s said that such chatter, ponderings and trumpeting are the province of neophytes, publicists and the world of infomercials.

 But in mid-September of 2010, Clyde Holscher of Topeka, Kansas, helped the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks man their exhibit at the Kansas State Fair, and he and several fisheries biologists were flabbergasted by what transpired with the bass that inhabited the exhibit’s massive aquarium. And the words magic and magical even crossed some lips.

Holscher is an astute angler, and for several decades, he has been a popular and successful multispecies guide on the many reservoirs that grace the countryside of eastern Kansas . Across these years, he and his clients have wielded scores of the newest and hottest baits available, and never has he considered one of those baits to possess any magical attributes.  Then shortly before the fair began, Glenn Young of Z-Man Fishing Products gave Holscher a few ZinkerZs to test. 

For a few years before Holscher obtained his first ZinkerZ, several of his friends had been cutting a ZinkerZ in half and attaching one of the three-inch segments to a 1/16-ounce jig and catching bass galore.

Holscher, however, hadn’t partaken in this experience, thinking that the ZinkerZ was just another stick worm.  But when he was at the state fair, he quickly realized that the ZinkerZ wasn’t an ordinary stick worm.

At the Wildlife and Parks’ massive aquarium, fair goers periodically watched Holscher demonstrate how he employs a topwater bait, crankbait, spinnerbait and jig.

Except for his jig, the first three lures he demonstrated were ones that many professional and recreational anglers utilize.

His jig, however, was far from a conventional looking lure, and at first sight some fair goers must have thought that this odd-looking contraption didn’t possess enough pizzazz to allure any of the fish in the aquarium or at any waterway in Kansas. 

Unbeknownst to the spectators, as well as the fisheries biologists who were manning the exhibit with Holscher, it was the same jig combo that several of his friends had been waylaying bass with for a few years.

As his friends fashion their jig-and-ZinkerZ combos, Holscher created his by cutting the six-inch PB&J ZinkerZ in half, and then he affixed a three-inch segment to the jig.  In order to not injure any of the fish, all of the hooks on Holscher’s four baits were removed.

During his first demonstration at the fair, Holscher first showed the audience various ways to use topwater baits, crankbaits and spinnerbaits.  Then he picked up his ZinkerZ rig.

His first three baits provoked a lackluster response from the aquarium’s denizens, but straightaway the ZinkerZ immediately garnered the attention of the channel catfish, drum, largemouth bass, saugeye and smallmouth bass. And these various specimens attacked the ZinkerZ when Holscher hopped across the bottom, swam it from a foot to three feet off the bottom, and some of them walloped it on the surface. A remarkable number of times, several fish refused to let go of the ZinkerZ.   The flathead and gar were the only denizens that weren’t allured, and the Holscher said: “The most profound phenomenon was watching the largest smallmouth, which was a five-pounder, inhale the bait on nine consecutive presentations, stretching the three-inch bait to over a foot.” 

Even though Holscher conducted demonstration after demonstration for several days in a row, the allure of the ZinkerZ never waned. Thus, as Holscher’s demonstrations went on and on, and the fish continually were bewitched by Holscher’s ZinkerZ rig, he and two of the KDWP fisheries biologists were so astonished, saying that they had never seen anything like what was transpiring. Thus some thoughts that the ZinkerZ might be posses some magical qualities resonated in their heads.

Once the fair ended, Holscher resumed his guiding routines, and he and his many clients spent the last 3 ½ months of 2010 primarily wielding the ZinkerZ-and-jig combo. To their delight, they caught an array of species and incredible numbers of them. Consequently, the word magic began to cross the lips of some of his clients.

Now that he has an ample supply of the ZinkerZ in various colors, he is eager to see how the fish react to them in the winter, spring and summer.

About Travis Perret