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JACK FRECH'S BANANA PLUG

Designed to mimic a wounded adult bunker, the banana plug’s popularity was born right here at The Fisherman Magazine.
By Toby Lapinski
Tags: surf, general

There are only a select few individuals in the fishing community who are considered true pioneers in their field, and even fewer who deservedly receive the title of a legend. Jack Frech, in my opinion, is both.

I first learned of Jack on the pages of The Fisherman thanks to his plug building series back in the 1980s. Sure I was just 5 or 6 years old at the time, but my dad and I put many of the articles to good use in our garage, crafting some very crude versions of the Beluga, Montauk darter, W-Y popper and others. Our plugs were not pretty but we caught some fish on them and even at a young age I recall looking forward to each week’s subsequent article arriving in our mailbox to see what plug might be next on the table. I guess I didn’t really know much about him at the time, but I never forgot how much I enjoyed reading about making lures as well as the history behind each lure’s development.

Now I am not going to try to tell the whole story of Jack’s life as I am not knowledgeable enough on the subject by a long shot, but I do recognize one’s influence and make certain to give credit where credit is due. If you would like a little bit of insight the man, be sure to read the profile piece written by Frank Pintauro, Profiles In The Surf: Jack "The Professor" Frech.

Over the years many a plug builder has crafted Jack’s plugs based on those articles of The Fisherman Magazine back in the 1980s. Plug popularity comes and goes as one season the hottest item is a metal lip, and the next it’s a needlefish. For the last several years—maybe 5 or 6—the banana plug has risen in popularity and a lot of wood workers have taken a stab at it. Some do so only from pictures they see posted online, while others copy the plans printed in the original article. Some, like me, who do not have a wood working room set up somewhere in there house have even taken to buying banana plug kits online from saltwaterplugs.com. Perhaps the plug's popularity is due in part to the resurgence of adult bunker as much as it is the rather high degree in difficulty involved in building one. I mean, it’s not like you can just grab a wooden dowel from your local hardware store and turn it into a banana plug with some sand paper like you can a needlefish.

Well when Dave Anderson and I began discussing the 2017 Plug Building series for The Fisherman Magazine, we both suggested the banana plug and Dave was eager to take on the challenge. He planned to make his version an update of the original with several of his own twists and modifications added, but at its heart it remains a solid homage to the original. You can read the article online or pick up a copy of the February 2017 of The Fisherman Magazine at your local tackle shop or news stand.

Dave was kind enough to provide a downloadable pattern of both the side and top profiles of his version of the banana. As always, we'd love to see your renditions of the plugs that appear in The Fisherman Magazine, so be sure to email them to us at tlapinski@thefisherman.com and maybe your work of art will be featured in print!

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