Bill Lewis Lures is named for founder Bill Lewis, who invented a whole new class of baits when he developed the world's first rattlebait in the late-1960s. The story goes like this.
Lewis was determined to make it in the fishing business and spent years peddling his wares for little or no profit out the back of his old Ford station wagon – a vehicle he often described as a rattletrap. Things changed one day on Toledo Bend – the famed reservoir that straddles the Texas-Louisiana border and that bore witness to so many early revolutions in bass fishing.
As Lewis and his partner motored toward their fishing spot one day in the late-1960s, they noticed a large group of boats gathered along the main-river channel edge. Despite the notorious tough bite across the lake that week, at the center of the crowd were two anglers who boated bass after bass up to 8 pounds. They were casting into standing timber and Lewis recognized them immediately. One was a buddy who'd picked up some rattlebaits the day before.
Bill called out to his friend and asked a question he knew the answer to: "What bait are you using?"
"That silly lookin' rattling bait," his friend answered. "Can we have a few more?"
During his drive home that day, as Lewis manually operated the broken windshield wiper of his old car – one hand on the wheel, the other out the window – he thought of the car, thought of the term "rattletrap," and that became the name of his new, revolutionary bait. And to this day, Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn are still famous for the spring Rat-L-Trap bite on the Rayburn-red color.
Although heavily mimicked and copied, the original Rat-L-Trap is still one of the four or five most important lures in bass fishing. It's particularly effective in spring, when cranked over the tops of emergent grass, or anytime the water's off-color and fish rely on senses other than sight. But it's also effective year-round and is at its best when fished through and over weeds. When the Rat-L-Trap gets hung on a weed, rip it free and hang on tight – that's the action that triggers voracious strikes from largemouth bass.
The Original Rat-L-Trap is available in six sizes and more than 70 colors. Anglers can even design and order their own color schemes through the Custom Lure Creator at Rat-L-Trap.com.