In 1964, a small-town angler with a creative spirit began building a revolutionary new lure out of his garage in Memphis, Tenn. He used handmade skirts and safety pins to fashion what he called the “New Original Strike King Bass Lure,” with a single, spinning blade.
In 1964, a small-town angler with a creative spirit began building a revolutionary new lure out of his garage in Memphis, Tenn. He used handmade skirts and safety pins to fashion what he called the “New Original Strike King Bass Lure,” with a single, spinning blade. The old catalog pictures of this wire-framed piece of fishing history are reminiscent of a lure that is in virtually every tackle box in the country today. But 55 years ago, it was not called a spinnerbait. It was simply called the Strike King.
In 2020, Strike King introduced the reengineered Tour Grade spinnerbait with 3/8 and 1/2-ounce double willow models, for 2022, the Strike King Tour Grade Spinnerbait gets new sizes and blade combinations. A product of 55 years of honing and perfecting, the Tour Grade Spinnerbait is offered in four innovative blade designs, a multitude of sizes, and 13 colors.
The additions are a 5/16-ounce size with Colorado / Turtleback blades, a 3/8-ounce Colorado / Willowleaf combination, a compact frame, hidden weight 1/2-ounce model with double willowleaf blades and a 3/4-ounce double willowleaf model.
Major League Fishing pro Andy Morgan’s home is in Dayton, Tenn. just a few hours east of that little garage in Memphis where the legendary brand was born. He cut his teeth fishing tournaments when about all he could afford was a handful of spinnerbaits and a few bags of soft plastics. With all that experience with the category, it is fortuitous that Strike King leaned on his expertise to design the new Tour Grade Spinnerbait. “After all these years, no matter what time of year it is or where I am fishing, I have a spinnerbait tied on 100 percent of the time,” said Morgan. “It is always a part of my arsenal; its versatility is just second to none. Our new design on the Tour Grade model is even more exciting.”
The light wire frame of the Tour Grade Spinnerbait provides maximum vibration for the lure. The vivid new head design and hand-tied skirts impart an action and durability that sets it apart. “That skirt really moves when you pump the bait with your rod tip or when you deflect it off structure,” Morgan explained. He fishes double willowleaf Tour Grade model when he is targeting clear, shallow water. “The willow leaf blades fish a little faster, and that hand-tied skirt just dances,” Morgan offered. “The Tour Grade Spinnerbait comes to life out there.”
There are a number of occasions when Morgan will downsize his presentation, which necessitated the new models. “As a tournament angler, I have to quickly react to subtle changes in the fishing. If I am fishing in highly pressured waters, or if a weather front is changing the way fish are responding, I will often tie on the Strike King Tour Grade 1/2 oz compact model in a more natural color, like white/silver, blue glimmer, or olive shad,” Morgan offered. “And the great thing about the compact model is the weight. A lot of times, when you downsize, you end up with a lure so light that you don’t get the same distance out of your casts, and you don’t get the same action out of smaller lure. But the Strike King Tour Grade compact model casts and moves just like its big brother.”
When Morgan is focusing on stained water, he favors the colorado/willow or colorado/turtleback blade combinations. “These colorado blades are my thumper blades,” Morgan explained. “Sometimes in dirty water, or even if I am fishing deeper, I want a little more vibration. The Strike King Tour Grade models with a colorado blade will give that to me.” Though the 1/2 oz receives most of the deck time with Morgan, different conditions require adapting, and now he has the versatility in the lineup to do that.”
Thumbing through the old catalogs from over half a century ago, you will find that the legendary spinnerbait made it Memphis had a tag line: “If it's big bass you want, get Strike King.” It’s a new era with new fishing pressures, and Strike King continues to offer new choices for anglers. If it’s still big bass you want, then you should still get Strike King.