9. Bob Schneider's Yap
Bob Schneider of Lake Park, Florida, used his stint in the U.S. Navy as a way to test and design lure shapes way back in the late '50s. He started by raiding the ship's chandlery for pieces of wood that he could whittle down to lure heads.
"I'd fish the lures with a hand line off the fantail of the destroyer, and when one started catching fish, I'd name it for whatever island group we were closest to. That's how the Yap got its name. It's named for the Yap Islands near the Mariana Trench," says Schneider.
Schneider got a copyright on his Yaps, making them one of the first offshore lures to be patented. With its blunt nose and slightly off-center hole, the meandering and quivering Yap still holds the Florida state record with a 981-pound blue caught off Destin by Warren Culverson on the Dixie Darling.
Capt. Allen Sizle, who now resides in Birmingham, Alabama, was one of many who recounted great early success with Schneider's Yap. "One day during the early '80s, when everybody else was pulling bait in the Bahamas, we decided to try pulling some lures while fishing out off Chub Cay. For three days, we screamed around pulling lures and caught 10 blues, two sails and three whites almost all on the same lure: Bob Schneider's Yap. The first time we ever pulled it, we missed three blue marlin because we didn't know what we were doing. On one of those three days, the Yap caught a 535-pound blue, two whites and a sail."
10. Any small jet or bullet on the shotgun
A large majority of anglers like to pull a jet or bullet-shaped lure on the shotgun. Almost everyone who makes a jet was represented in the sampling, with no one manufacturer coming out a clear winner ? which pretty much sums up Capt. Peter B. Wright's third favorite choice: "Any brand of conical, symmetrical, metal jet head has caught more 1,000-pound-plus blue marlin than any other lure." And here's my theory on why: Because everybody in Hawaii is pulling one on the shotgun trying to catch a tuna! When the majority of crews are pulling the same style lure, in mostly the same position, in one of the premier big blue marlin destinations, it's going to get eaten a lot.
And since the fish doesn't have to pluck the lure off the water's surface and can catch it with relative ease, the hookup percentage of the heavy lure is going to be pretty darn good. While you hear a lot of claims about jets whistling like wounded squid or creating bubbles through the jet holes, I think a jet or bullet-headed lure's main advantage lies in its relatively small size and lack of a side-to-side motion. Bart Miller insists that his Black Bart Pro Jet is the best jet ever and the only one of his lures that never comes out of the spread ? and I'm not going to argue with him.
Although there are probably dozens more lures that deserve mention, a few that almost made the cut for this story include: the Makaira Brutus, pulled by quite a few boys in Louisiana; the Bomboy Magilla, a huge Hawaiian lure made by Bomboy Llanes; and the Joe Yee Apollo. I would like to thank all of you who took the time to send in your nominations, and I hope the resulting list will keep you talking until we do it again.
Marlin would like to thank Tracy Melton at Melton International Tackle for supplying some of the photos for this article. You can purchase just about all of the above-mentioned lures at Melton's by calling 714-978-9192. And no, he didn't get to pick any.