Editor’s Note: “Why in the world would you spend $60 on one bass lure,” I asked my friend Mike Carter of Cedar Bluff, Alabama, who primarily guides on Guntersville Lake – one of the nation’s top big-bass lakes. “You know if you lose that lure, you’ll have just thrown $60 down the gutter.” Carter answered, “I did lose the first $60 lure I bought on the first day I fished it.” When I asked if Mike bought another of those $60 bass lures, he said, “I’ve bought several dozens of these lures after I lost the first one.” So, I set-out to learn how a bass lure would be worth spending $60 on it. To learn more, visit Mike Carter’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/and his website at https://mikecartersguideservice.com/. Here’s what I learned.
John E. Phillips: Why do the Bull Shad and the Bull Shad Wakebait cost so much?
Mike Carter: Mike Bucca handmakes each and every one of them. There’s been a lot of imitations of the Bull Shad and copies of it, but I just don’t believe that there’s a better jointed swimbait that looks more realistic and swims more naturally than the Bull Shad. Mike spent between 10-15 years making prototypes to get the Bull Shad to look like a shad, swim like a shad and be colored like a shad. Right now Mike’s in the process of developing a Glide Bull Shad. During the spring and through the fall, I’ll rarely take out a party that someone in the boat isn’t casting either the Bull Shad or the Bull Shad Wakebait.
Phillips: Mike, have you had a problem fishing the Bull Shad?
Carter: Yes, I have. When I started showing my customers how to fish this bait, they began catching big bass with this lure. They wanted to buy the Bull Shads I had in my tacklebox. Well, my job is to please my customers. I hated to sell my personal Bull Shads because I knew I would have to start going back and forth to the tackle shops to buy more. So, I finally decided to keep a large number of these baits in my boat. Then I wouldn’t have to make so many trips to the tackle store. Last year, I sold 8-dozen Bull Shads out of my boat. When a fisherman sees the lure will catch bass – and catch big bass – he’s just like me. He’s got to have that lure – even at $60 per lure. Like me, fishermen don’t care what a bait costs if it will catch bass and a lot of bass, and particularly really-big bass. Another reason I think anglers want to buy my Bull Shads is their wives aren’t around to see what they’re spending, what they’re ordering, or what they’re paying for the lures. Then they don’t get in trouble at home.
Phillips: Mike, what’s the best day you and your clients ever have had fishing the Bull Shad on Lake Guntersville?
Carter: Two years ago, I had two men from Georgia I was guiding, and they never had fished the Bull Shad before. They caught 20 bass, and seven of those bass weighed from 4 to 7-1/2 pounds; and, they lost four more bass 5-pounds each or larger. That day the bass were really eating shad. After I taught these two anglers how to cast and retrieve the Bull Shad, that $60 lure seemed to be the favorite entrée of the day for big bass.
Phillips: Mike, on what lakes do you guide?
Carter: I guide on Guntersville, Chickamauga, and Weiss lakes. The Bull Shad Wakebait doesn’t produce as well on Weiss as it does the other lakes. However, I did catch the biggest spotted bass – a 5 pounder – that I’ve ever caught on the Bull Shad Wakebait while fishing Weiss Lake, fishing the lure right up against the seawall.
Phillips: If people want to learn more about the Bull Shad before they spend $60, where can they learn more about the bait and the man who makes them?
Carter: There’s a number of YouTube videos on the web as well as articles. If a person wants to talk to Mike Bucca, who makes them, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can go to his Facebook page “Bull Shad Swim Baits.” (https://www.facebook.com/bullshadswimbaits/).
To learn more about bass fishing, check out John E. Phillips’ latest book, just published in 2020, “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro, Volume II,” at https://www.amazon.com/ for Kindle, print and Audible versions. (On right side of the page and below the offer for free Audible trial, you can click on Buy the Audible with one click). You may have to copy and paste this click into your browser. (When you click on this book, notice on the left where Amazon says you can read and hear 10% of the book for free).