Trapped bubbles make Sidewinder deadly

It’s lots of fun to catch bass, which is one reason a widely known artificial-lure manufacturer calls his newest product, Sidewinder, a “fun little worm.” Without a doubt, it catches bass.

The designer is Lonnie Stanley, who started making artificial lures three decades ago. The Huntington, Texas, resident and all-around outdoorsman won’t take sole credit for creating the ringed plastic worm with a rattle chamber in the tail (or air chamber if it doesn’t have a rattle) that’s taking the bass-fishing world by storm.

Sidewinders hit the market in August, a few months after the prototypes got the OK from Stanley, John Dean, John Hale and Ken Chaumont, who all collaborated on the design earlier this year.

Take note, folks. That’s 120 years combined artificial lure manufacturing experience among the four men, including Hale and Stanley, who have been together in the industry “forever,” the latter said with a chuckle the first week of December. What they came up with is a soft plastic for Texas-rigging, Carolina-rigging, wacky-worming, drop-shotting, shaky-head fishing and, even, as a trailer for jigs. It also can be worked as a soft-plastic jerkbait.

“It’s so much different than anything else out there,” Stanley said.

Stanley and Hale, both accomplished pro bass anglers, took a trip a few weeks earlier to nearby Lake Sam Rayburn, where they used the Sidewinder to catch 27 bass up to 5 1/2 pounds in and around bushes in 3 1/2 hours on a windy day.

“We had a lot of fun,” Stanley said.

The fun started taking shape early this past summer when those four bass aficionados put their heads together to come up with something new. One thing led to another, and the 5 1/2-inch ringed plastic worm with a chamber in the end was born.

Dean noticed in the early stages of the development that when he put the plastic worm in the water, the air chamber in the tail made the end stand up. That’s important for all soft-plastic presentations, especially Carolina-rigged Sidewinders and shaky head fishing with Sidewinders.

“I used it all summer long when I was out there drop-shotting — a red bug Sidewinder,” said Dean, a Toledo Bend bass fishing guide and former pro bass angler and who has made a splash in the lure manufacturing industry with ReAction Lures and now with Stanley Lures. As Dean pointed out in one of his Louisiana Sportsman columns, he devoted his summer bass fishing to learning how to target deep structure on the lake with the help of advanced marine electronics.

“I had some hand-poured (Sidewinders) only,” he said, noting when he found what he was looking for, the drop-shotted Sidewinder put bass in the boat.

The rings clearly make the Sidewinder a deadly underwater weapon. The rings are larger than on past ringed plastic worms and the core’s diameter is smaller than before, Stanley said.

In effect, Stanley and Dean emphasized, the rings trap air that floats off the soft plastic as bubbles when below the surface. They act as additional fish attractants, they believe.

“It looks like something alive with the bubbles coming out of it; something breathing on the bottom,” Stanley said. “I throw them in real easy — I want the air to stay in there. As long as you don’t move it, it stands straight up. After about 20, 30 seconds I pop the rod a little bit and bubbles shake off. That’s how we caught them the other day. I really think that’s the reason it catches fish so well.”

More and more trapped bubbles come off on the retrieve. After the soft plastic is exposed to the air before the next cast, it’s loaded again.

“Because it’s ringed and it’s got a soft core, when the fish bites down on it, the rings collapse in the fish’s mouth, giving the feel of live bait. They’ll swim all over the lake with it.”

Some savvy saltwater fishermen have already applied the soft plastic to their sport, he said, noting Chaumont took it to Calcasieu Lake, also known as Big Lake, and caught beau coup speckled trout after biting off 1 inch of the Sidewinder and using it on a leadhead. As a result, Stanley and Dean said, a 4-inch model should be out soon.

That shorter model will have many freshwater applications, too, they said.

“We’re getting a lot of good response out of it. A 4-inch is being cut as we speak. It should be ready somewhere around January,” Dean said.

Stanley and others add a No. 5 rattle mostly when fishing stained water, he said.

The Sidewinder is available in 11 colors, led by the watermelons, green pumpkins and junebugs, with some laminated combinations. The colors were chosen by the Big Four at Stanley Lures.

More colors will be introduced this year.

There’s a touch of garlic imbedded in the soft plastic, which is high grade in texture, according to Stanley.

The Texan, who turns 64 on Dec. 30, said when it is hooked with a Stanley T-Wacky hook of 1/16- or 1/8-ounce, the weighted hook and slow-sinking Sidewinder “fight” each other to give it lifelike action, whether hooked through the middle or the nose.

Sidewinders are outstanding for wacky-worming, he said.

“When hooked in the middle of the air pocket, everything about it goes crazy,” he said.

For more information about the Sidewinder, call 800-256-2075 or email

About Don Shoopman 534 Articles
Don Shoopman fishes for freshwater and saltwater species mostly in and around the Atchafalaya Basin and Vermilion Bay. He moved to the Sportsman’s Paradise in 1976, and he and his wife June live in New Iberia. They have two grown sons.

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