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Lured by love of the Rebel Humpback: Tom Shank's Woods & Waters

Posted 7/18/18

Back in the 1960s, a strange-looking fishing lure came into existence. It was made out of plastic, not like the many wooded ones of that era. Instead of being a normal minnow length bait, it was …

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Lured by love of the Rebel Humpback: Tom Shank's Woods & Waters

Tom Shank loves his vintage Rebel Humpback.
Tom Shank loves his vintage Rebel Humpback.
photo courtesy of Tom Shank
Posted

Back in the 1960s, a strange-looking fishing lure came into existence. It was made out of plastic, not like the many wooded ones of that era. Instead of being a normal minnow length bait, it was small and humped shape, thus the name Rebel Humpback.

If you fished artificial lures back then, several of these found their way in your metal tackle box. They came in several colors. Black and silver was my choice.

Most of the rebels either had a black, gold or blue top with silver color sides. It was a shallow water bait with a small lip and would run shallow. It was a smallmouth bass-catching machine.

As time went by, fishing lures became complicated and modified. Thousands of artificial lures can be found in every shape, design and color on the shelves of sporting goods stores. Lures are so realistic that sometimes it’s hard to tell the lure from live bait.

The costs of modern fishing lures also have increased. No more do they cost less than $2. Be prepared to pay big bucks for the most updated and sophisticated artificial lures.

I consider myself an updated fisherman. I try to keep informed of the latest gadgets on the market and have purchased through the years many scores of fishing lures of all shape and sizes. Keeping up with the modern trends makes you a better fisherman.

Techniques of presenting artificial baits have come a long way, too, with countless methods of rigging and casting retrieves, to get the most action out of a lure.

So where does this Rebel Humpback come into play? Recently, on the Susquehanna River, the vintage Rebel Humpback came out of retirement and proved once again the “ol’ dog can still get it done.”

My cousin Donald Manning came from a family who fished the Susquehanna River around Highspire. From his uncle to his father, the Manning name is associated with fishing.

Recently, Don decided to fish the river with his friend, Frank. As they fished throughout the day, something became quite clear.

Frank put on a Rebel Humpback and stayed with it most of the day, while Don fished everything under the sun, using all the “modern” — plastics, spinnerbaits, crankbaits. They all produced smallmouth bass, but the Rebel, old as it was, held its own and produced strikes and catches. When Don updated me on their outing, he couldn’t believe how well the Rebel Humpback performed.

Of the many vintage fishing lures that have come and gone, the Rebel Humpback has proved to be making a repeat comeback in the arena of modern day fishing lures. So for many of us that still have some of these gems, you might want to brush off the cobwebs and tie a “Humpy” back on.

As I was writing this article, I checked the Rebel website and have found that the humpback has returned into production in new colors and slight modifications. The classic hump shape still is the keystone of this lure. The shape hasn’t changed a bit.

Tom Shank has been writing Woods and Waters for the Press & Journal for about 10 years. His expertise has been gained through more than 50 years hunting, fishing, trapping and exploring the full gamut of nature. The Susquehanna River and his cabin in Lycoming County are his true loves. Woods and Waters is his playground in life, and to write about it for the Press & Journal is a dream come true.