Several years ago, at a fishing expo, I passed a booth where a video showed a topwater plug I had used as a kid, but hadn’t seen in decades. I talked to the owner who was very enthusiastic about his single lure lineup! He handed me a couple and I packed them away, forgetting about the lure and where I had stashed them.
During one of my off-season clean ups, I found the missing lures. They were the Hubs Chub. For giggles, I put one in my boat. After a few months, I saw it in my topwater box and decided to give it a whirl. I loved the way it walked, spit, rattled and churned up the water. Apparently so did the bass! I was amazed at how this old fashioned lure was met with such ferocity! Bass killed it! If they missed, they’d come back! And back again until they were hooked! I played with it all summer and decided to give the owner a call.
A long phone conversation with Steve Monoyoudis proved worth the time! Monoyoudis discovered the lure in 1987 as a 15 year old watching the legendary Billy Westmorland catch fish with it on his TV show. Westmorland endorsed the Rattalur, the original name, for years and dedicated four of his “Fishing Diary” television shows to this lure; calling it “The Best Topwater Lure Going.” This was verified by long time fishing buddy, owner of Silver Buddy Lures, Buddy Banks who remembers the lure owner coming to Billy with this “new” lure and Billy achieving success when other lures struck out!
Monoyoudis called the BPS catalog store to order two. When they arrived, young Steve went wading on the river, and popped his go-to frog-colored 3-inch lure 2 or 3 times. On his first cast he caught the biggest smallie he’d seen. “I was hooked and it came to be my favorite lure for the next 4 years into 1994.” But, the lure was removed from the BPS catalog in 1992. He had lost his last lure later that year to a fish breaking him off! “I thought I would buy more but they were gone and I went 12 years without it but was elated when I found Hubs Chub owner Phil Yeather online, still making a few of them by hand for friends in the back of an old Quonset hut.” Yeather had lost interest in the lure as Wal-Mart had a larger interest in his cricket cages. He pulled his baits from BPS because he couldn’t make enough. Monoyoudis was happy to locate the source!
Finding Yeather in 2006, Steve was able to buy enough to restock his tacklebox, but the following year Yeather retired the lure side of biz, as the company buying him out wasn’t interested in the bait. Monoyoudis’ immediate reaction was to keep the Hub’s Chub alive and in 2007 he made an offer to buy the rights to the bait. He went to Sheridan, Indiana. “We got the molds and inventory of 500 baits.” It didn't take long to find out how tough the tackle industry really is! Getting lures into the hands of anglers and on store shelves is difficult, even harder when you aren’t a tackle giant like Pure Fishing, Pradco or Strike King.
This independent insurance salesman and financial advisor thought it was a wonderful opportunity to enter the fishing industry. “My first thought was not a get rich quick, it was a heartfelt effort to keep a lure around for people to create the same memories for them as it did for me. Keep a kid out of trouble and keep fishing to hold their interest.” Next it was preserving effectiveness and increasing quality of the lures. Monoyoudis’ buddy, who was with him when that first fish hit, was still a friend and designed new packaging and marketing for the company. It took 2 years to make the first lure. There were molding and legal issues to address. A knock-off had entered the market. Once rectified, even though he had lost some ground, he didn’t make a mad dash to produce baits. They wanted it to be perfect. They overcame weak plastic, leaks and loose screws. He pursued his dream during his available free time taking 2 years to accomplish what might have taken only 3 months with full time attention. May of 2009 was the official rollout of the new and improved Hubs Chub!
To improve durability clear Butyrate, a tougher plastic costing twice as much, was used with a tougher automotive grade coat finish. A hardware change to screw eyes instead of hangers allowed more hook rotation almost comparable to split rings. Screw eyes also allow removal of the front hook to provide an even more vertical presentation with the bait standing straight up and down. Another modification is achieved with bending the prop forward and tightening the screw to keep the bait stationary and in the strike zone a bit longer. Made in the USA meant control and quality to rival even the best high dollar Japanese lures. But it came at a higher price, nearly double the manufacturing cost of overseas production, but still very affordable!
Hubs Chub fans kept him on the phone telling stories, sometimes for an hour! “I have received many stories from anglers that this is the best topwater bait and they really have a passion as they have done so well with them.” Old timers are glad they found him and are really excited to find the bait in production again. But, Monoyoudis knew original customers would not sustain the business and that he needed to get the word out to new fishing prospects. He contacted stores with samples. “After fishing with it about 75% of the stores will order as I build relationships, taking time with them.” He recently began to market to guides. Hopefully they will like them and with word of mouth, demand will be created. “Once they have success they’ll become hooked!”
So, upon finding the Hubs Chub lures I had picked up, I tossed them during a tough fishing season on the Potomac River in 2013. My first instinct guided me to walking the dog with this 4-inch black topwater lure. The rattles were loud, the propeller on the rear stirred the water leaving a bubble trail, and side notches sprayed water outward. This commotion awakened the mean streak in the river’s largemouth bass! I was sold! Who can argue with Billy Westmorland? This really is the best topwater lure I’ve ever used. That’s saying a lot as there are so many to tie on these days. Many might look more realistic, but fish don’t get a close up with the Hubs Chub. I think they just wanted to make it stop making noise in their quiet neighborhood! By the way, this bait extends the range of topwaters, being effective in stained and choppy water. While there are a few other presentations, the walking method is awesome.
You won’t see a top pro bass angler donning the Hubs Chub logo on their tournament shirt or wearing a Hubs Chub hat. Writers won’t flock to editors with article queries. And corporate stores won’t go out on a limb to stock valuable shelf space. So, why would any halfway intelligent guy invest so much time, money and passion in a single fishing lure? If you could talk with a young Steve Monoyoudis, he would tell you because it catches fish! Steve Monoyoudis the elder would tell you it captures memories.
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