Cedar Plugs Do It Again (Part 2)

SO there I was, cleaning out the garage of unnecessary and/or unwanted items, when I ran across a stack of old pictures. I could not suppress the urge to chuckle a bit when I looked at these memories from the ancient past. Leisure suits. Bell bottom pants. Duck tail haircuts. Nehru jackets. Big gold jewelry. Belt buckles laid to the side. Members Only jackets. Platform shoes with live goldfish in the heels. Starched and ironed white t-shirts. Dixie Peach pomade. The laughs kept coming as each fashion misadventure showed up again and again.

Years from now, I may pick up a stack of dusty pictures and find myself wearing t-shirts and shorts while I am wearing … t-shirts and shorts. Somehow, I have found a "look" that is truly timeless.

Cedar plugs in their own humble way, are just that … truly timeless. Cedar as a lure making material is just about the ideal material for a large swath of artificial baits. It is a stable species of wood, it has great structural strength, has a fairly predictable buoyancy, and is relatively easy with which to work.

The Poppy and Junior Poppy from Phase II Lures are deceptively simple lures. The have a classic double tapered cigar shape with a buck tail dressed single hook off the back. Pick one up, however, and you will notice a surprising detail. Up near the front, about a quarter of the way back from the front, there is a hidden weight. It is this weight that gives this lure its balance and unique swimming action.

These lures are ridiculously easy lures to cast, unlike many modern jerkbaits/twitch baits/shallow running stick baits. Long accurate casts are a snap, not that long casts are always necessary, but it is good to know when you need the distance these lures are not going to tumble on you when you add that little extra "ummmmmph!" in the cast.

It is the unique swimming action of the lure, however, that ol' Mr. Linesides is interested in. Cast it out. Give it some slack line and you will notice that it floats. It floats, but not like almost every other lure in the market. Other lures float in the familiar head up/tail down configuration or maybe the classic flat to the water angle, but not these lures.

These lures from back east float tail up/head down, much like what you may see from a tailing trout in a shallow stream. I thought about this for a while and concluded that this design was genius! Other lures in this "category" are floating lures that swim shallow. These lures are shallow running lures that float. There is a big difference.

I have yet to have a fish strike this lure as it is floating. Maybe it's just me. But when retrieved continuously with small subtle twitches with small directional changes of the rod tip, these lures came alive with an action I haven't seen in any other lure. With every twitch the single buck tail hook would kick a little so that it very much looks like how a tail wiggle would propel a baitfish forward in real life.

The closest lure to these Phase II lures I have seen is the Subwalker from Rapala, but there are differences. Both lures can be fish producers (as it is true with all lures) when time, tide, temperature, and temperament all come together, but I like the fact that the Phase II lures are armed with just the single hook. It's a lot safer to be tossing around at night.

And unlike those fashion disasters of the past, I have a feeling these lures will become timeless classics.

Check them out at <<>>.

* STEVE "HIPPO" LAU is a regular columnist for the FISH SNIFFER, the leading West Coast fishing magazine. His current column is reprinted below with permission.

This is the second of two articles in The Fish Sniffer magazine by columnist Steve "Hippo" Lau on his experience with Phase II Lures – Junior (4", ¾ oz.) and Poppy (6", 1 oz.) darting swimmers.

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