Gulf Coast Fisherman Magazine Vol 40 - No. 4 FALL 2016 - Page 8

by Colby Sorrells Tackle Time The Venerable Hump M5 M ost coastal anglers have been exposed to the numerous hard plastic minnow-type lures of the 1960s and 1970s. Their size and shapes are very familiar and regularly found in tackle boxes even today. Probably the lure feature most anglers recall is the virtually unlimited number of colors these lures were made in. No doubt these lures worked. There are simply too many of them still around for them not to have caught fish. But where do anglers start if they want to try out one of these classic lures? Petroleum industry processing plants are located along the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida. It didn’t take fishermen long to figure out a way to use the chemicals they were producing at the plant in their fishing regimen. The epicenter of this activity was the Corpus Christi, Texas area. Soon, companies like Doug English, PICO, Humps and Hogie were making small minnows out of hard plastic to fish with. And they made a lot of them. The use of soft plastics was yet to crash onto the coastal fishing scene. Doug English’s Bingo lures were made in 58 basic colors and maybe another 100 “special” colors. Humps were made in 28 regular colors and 6 tiger stripe colors. Hogie followed the same extensive color offerings for anglers. Every fisherman has his idea about which is the best color for his particular body of water and that’s where the secret of lure color selection lies. The fish in each different bay system may prefer a different color unique to that body of water. Lure color preferences can also be strictly a personal choice. One fisherman once caught a fish on a solid red lure and now uses nothing but solid red lures. Another angler prefers purple and that’s the only color they believe will work. While researching fishing tackle used along the Gulf Coast, one particular color scheme seemed to be preferred in almost every location and it’s also the color most recommended by anglers that used these lures for many years in many different locations. It’s a good idea to remember that the fluorescent chartreuse, 8 GULF COAST FISHERMAN orange and yellow colors of today were not widely available in the 1960s. Which color out of several hundred actually worked and which were designed to catch more fishermen than fish? Upon checking with several different seasoned anglers, fishing during the days when these lures were most popular, one lure and one color was the most recommended, the Hump M5. Earl F. Humphreys and his Hump Lure Company of El Campo, Texas made the little lure. Mr. Humphreys painted the model number on each Hump lure so anglers could easily find the lure and color combination they were after. The “M” was for the Mighty Minnow and the “5” was for the red with yellow spot color combination. Many classic coastal angling books refer to “red and yellow” as their favorite color combination. Mr. Humphrey even incorporated the numbering system in his company’s advertising, calling it “Fishing by Number”. MirrOlure and other companies use a similar numbering system on their lures today. The M5 makes a tight wiggle when retrieved and works even better with modern tackle. It can be cast and steadily retrieved or worked the way many seasoned anglers did under a popping float. Recent field tests of the M5 did not show anything different than what the early anglers stated. The lure works. On a recent winter trip along the Texas coast, the little M5 went up against a modern, chartreuse, soft plastic lure and at the end of the day the score was tied with number of fish and number of keeper size fish equal for both lures. Sadly, that particular lure was lost on the last cast of the day to an oyster shell line cut. Anglers wishing to find an example of this classic coastal lure can find them at flea markets, garage sales or through one of the on-line auction sites. Hump Mighty Minnows are 2-1/2 inches long and weigh just less than half an ounce. The Hump M5 is made of a translucent red plastic and painted with small yellow spots. It also includes the typical large yellow eye with black pupil found on many Humps and has an under chin area painted red. Color variations occur in all colored plastics including the Hump M5, which may be found with slightly darker or lighter tinted red plastic. The color variation is due to the individual batch of plastic and not wear or time. The weight is placed horizontally inside the body and covered by the paint for the eyes. The Mighty Minnow includes two galvanized, light wire treble hooks, with the back hook typically smaller than the front hook. The hooks are attached with a small wire bent in an “L” shape and held in place with a small screw. A similar “L-Rig” was also used by Heddon and later by Bomber on their Bomber Jerk, which was also designed specifically for use in coastal waters. Hump used a unique wire system to attach both hooks and for making the line tie. The line tie, made of the same small wire, is made into an elongated V or U and placed between the two lure body halves when they are glued together. Hump Lure company made several other lures including the Chubby Minnow and the Mighty Midget. All have a weighted nose and line tie near the front of the lure. Hump Lures were just one of the numerous companies making petroleum produced plastic fishing lures in the 1960s and 1970s. There are still thousands of these old plastic lures out there and they still catch fish. If you’re going to fish an M5 be sure to sharpen the hooks as many older lures have dull hooks and as the company advertised “Don’t Get Bumps, Catch Fish With Humps”. When asked, “Which one of all of those old plastic lures worked best?”, the best answer is “M5”. GCF W W W. G U L F F I S H I N G. C O M