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THE SUNDAY TIMES

MARCH 8, 1992 - SCRANTON

Cammerino Worked Long Hours to Perfect Bass Lure

By Dave Lewonczyk

I was fishing a tournament in New York state, and since I was paired with a guide, I had high hopes I would do well.

We started down a shoreline I had fished before, albeit poorly.  When he started using top water lures, I put on a spinner bait.  My hopes were high, but after 20 minutes without a fish, I started to worry.

We moved to another spot that was so shallow I figured my spinner bait would work wonders.  When I saw him pull out what I thought was a broken worm, I figured he only had one oar in the water.  When he hooked the piece of worm through the middle with a bait hook, I figured he really lost it.

He cast the weird bait close to shore and began to shake the rod.  The first thing that crossed my mind when I saw the worm n top of the water was the action a bait fish makes when it’s dying.  After shaking, he gave it slack line and let it drop to the bottom.

It wasn’t lying n the bottom more than five seconds when the line started to move.  He slowly reeled up the slack and hit the fish hard.  His rod bent in half and a minute later a two-pound bass was aboard.

My immediate reaction was, “What luck to catch a nice bass on that silly looking rig.”  I didn’t have much time to think about it when he cast back to the same spot.  Again, he shook the work, then gave it slack and let it sink.  Again, the line twitched and he set the hook.  Two minutes later a twin of the first fish came over the side.  It happened three other times in quick succession before he had a lull in the action.

Normally when someone is catching fish and I’m not, it doesn’t bother me too much.  When I’m in a tournament and somebody is cleaning my clock it really gets to me.

He offered me the same worm that he was using and I refused, more out of curiosity than anything.  I anted to see if it as just a fluke, or if it as the lure.  If I started to catch fish behind him with the spinner bait, then I would know the fish were jut active.  If he continued to catch fish and I didn’t, then it would surely be the lure.  Six fish later, I knew that it was the lure and I wished I had accepted one when he offered it.

When he offered me one the second time, I didn’t hesitate.  I wish I could say I caught my limit but it wasn’t that easy.  I wasn’t proficient with the lure and he was.  He covered the water so well there weren’t many fish left to look at my offering.  I did manage to land four though for a respectable showing.

I couldn’t wait to try the lure on my favorite lakes back here.  To my surprise it works every bit as well around here on every lake I have tried it on.

It’s not often a new lure comes around that will work wonders like this one did.  It seemed to catch fish when nothing else did.  My biggest worry was I would run out of the bag my partner of the day gave me.

My worries were over when I attended the Allentown show last month.  Not only did I find every color imaginable, I met the originator of the lure.  To say Jeff Cammerino originated the lure is a big simplification.  He figured out the whole system that makes the worm work so well.

The length, weight, circumference, density, and overall surface design has contributed to the lure’s superior ability to catch fish.

When I interviewed Cammerino, I was surprised to learn he started to develop it 17 years ago.  It took him years to get everything right, and this is the product of all those years.

It started when Cammerino was fishing one day and noticed some fish rising under a tree.  When he got close enough to see what they were feeding on, he was surprised to find that t was caterpillar larvae.  This started him on his quest to develop a lure that would imitate the larvae dropping into the water and sinking.

At first Cammerino would go to discount stores and buy cheap worms by bulk and experiment with them.  He would cut them and try to get them to the size he desired by melting them together.  By cutting and trimming here and there, he finally got the size and weight he wanted and by testing different materials he finally got the density needed to sink at the rate he desired.  When he was satisfied, he made a mold and started to produce the “Jersey Riggs ™”.

Because of the density, size, weight, etc., and the unique way of rigging the “Jersey Rigg™”, they float on the surface long enough to shake them and then they start to sink ever so slowly.  The buoyancy is almost neutral when rigged the way Cammerino tells everyone to do.

As Cammerino explained, he experimented for years to come up with the right combination of worm and hook size.  He said, “Take a number one bait hook and penetrate the center of the worm with the hook so that when the barb is brought back out and exposed, the hook shank is perpendicular to the worm.  Don’t use any weight with this system in shallow water.

“If you’re fishing it in deeper water, a small split shot weight can be used to get it to the bottom quicker.  Use the smallest weight possible though,” he said.

Because the lure hits the water with no commotion, the fish aren’t spooked by it, and by keeping the worm in the strike zone longer, the fish find it hard to resist.

“Because of its compact size and no weight, the worm can easily be skipped under the lowest docks on the lake.  Getting it where the fish are plush the lure’s ability to be worked without moving out of the strike zone adds to its attraction.

“The reason the lure attracts so many fishermen is because it will catch every species of fish that swims.  Although it was designed with the bass fisherman in mind, it appeals to every species”, he said.

The thing that impressed me most was the fact the first time you use the lure you can catch fish.  Unlike many lures on the market, it will catch every species of fish in the lake you are fishing, which makes it the ideal lure to give a child to keep his interest high.  I guarantee it will keep your interest high also.

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