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Tackle & Gear Reviews


Now that the summer fishing season is in full swing, striper and bluefish fans should consider two classic lures that have not lost any of their magic fish-catching abilities over the years.
By Capt. John N. Raguso

Acme Kastmaster: The Acme Tackle Company was founded by inventor Art Lavallee back in 1952 in Providence, RI. One of their initial products was their famed Kastmaster lure, which featured a basic brass design and a durable, jewelry-quality nickel plated finish. The Kastmaster was quickly accepted by both fresh and saltwater anglers and is now used to catch a wide variety of fish worldwide. An amazingly versatile lure, the Kastmaster is equally deadly whether cast, trolled, or vertically jigged. Its aerodynamic, wind-cheating, weighted oval shape casts like a bullet and its unique side-to-side darting action creates an action that can be modified by the angler based on the style and speed of the retrieve, covering just about every level of the water table from top to bottom. Offered in sizes that range from 1/12 to 4 ounces in 27 colors, there is a size and hue Kastmaster that is just right for you. Saltwater Kastmaster sizes include 1, 1.5, 2, 3 and 4 ounces and are offered in four basic hues: chrome, blue/chrome, blue mackerel and green mackerel. These larger models are available with either a plain treble or single bucktail hook.

Over the years, I have tweaked some of my Kastmasters with swivels, split rings, treble hooks, single hooks, bucktail hooks, surge tails, etc. to vary their action and appeal to different species. Some of the Kastmasters in my tackle box are over 30 years old and are still catching fish! Any corrosion on the Kastmaster’s durable nickel-plated finish is usually easily removed with a dose of WD-40 and steel wool.

Anglers asked Acme to design a lure that would “match the hatch” when predators were feeding on slender-bodied baitfish such as sand eels, anchovies, silversides or smelt and the Kastmaster XL is the answer. Available in four sizes (2-3/4 inches, 3-1/2 inches, 4-inches and 4-1/2 inches) and five colors (silver flash, blue flash, green flash, yellow flash and pink flash), the precision machined Kastmaster XL is equally effective whether cast, trolled or jigged. Equipped with stainless steel split rings and a 4X strong VMC treble hook, it’s deadly for stripers, bluefish, bonito, albacore, weakfish, Spanish mackerel and other coastal gamefish. The third member of the family is the Kastmaster with Tube Tail. The durable latex rubber tube is attached to the Kastmaster with a Rosco barrel swivel, which helps to prevent a hooked fish from twisting itself free from the lure. It is equally effective for casting or trolling and is especially deadly when vertical jigging. For more information, visit

Atom Striper Swiper: Designed by noted lure-maker Bob Pond back in the mid-50s (the Atom and Reverse Atom are also his prodigy), the Atom Striper Swiper and the Atomizer popper are the only Atom lures still being manufactured today and are distributed by Uncle Josh. The unique features of the Atom Striper Swiper are that it is made from plastic and is tail-weighted for extra casting distance on windy days. The added heft aft also causes this lure to sink, which is atypical for most top-water poppers. Anglers can keep the Striper Swiper at the surface with a steady retrieve, but the added weight will allow this lure to get under the wash and whitewater so that predators can have a better look. It also enables it to track straight and true and minimize getting swept sideways by wind or current flow.

The Atom Striper Swiper’s durable hard-plastic construction makes it super-tough and it will hold up to repeated strikes from toothy critters like chopper bluefish, as well as being a natural for stripers in the surf, inlets, jetties, back channels and shallow bays. The through-wire construction enhances this lure’s indestructible qualities and I have Atom Striper Swipers in my tackle box that have been catching bass and blues for me for four decades that are still on my go-to list for inshore endeavors. Striper Swipers are offered in four colors (blue/silver, silver/white, mackerel, red/yellow) and in five sizes from 3/8 to 3 ounces. The forward hook position features a replaceable plated treble that rotates on a swivel to minimize lost fish, while the aft hook position features a replaceable treble with bucktail skirt. I have removed the tail hook on some of my Striper Swipers and substituted a single bucktail hook to minimize foul hooking and to make removing hooks easier, especially where big bluefish are concerned. The Atom Striper Swiper is a classic lure that still works.

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