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updated: 7/11/2012 6:42 PM

For anglers, this little worm a great catch

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It takes some big bucks to push a fishing product across the counter into the hands of the angling consumer.

The "madness" began many years ago when a European fisherman carved a minnow-like lure out of a piece of wood. History was changed after recording remarkable catches of various species.

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Then along came a guy named Nick, who claimed responsibility for inventing a plastic worm.

That wispy thing, however, became more than the Lure de Jour. It was responsible for launching similar products that flooded tackle stores.

At the outset, I said it takes lots of dollars to position a fishing product in the public's mind through massive advertising and public relations endeavors. That is not the case with a tiny company located in the far northern suburbs called Little Action Mac.

And because of this popular lure, friend and fishing buddy A.J. Paul is ecstatic this season.

Like me, A.J. enjoys scouting and fishing new locations throughout the suburbs. A.J. has got a "thing" for ponds because of their preponderance with good-sized bass and monster bluegills.

Being seduced by some glitzy lure advertising or a colorful, ornate box that houses the lure is one thing. Catching lots of fish is the true test, and that's exactly what A.J. and I discovered a long time ago.

A.J. has access to a pond that has nice population of largemouth bass.

I bought a dozen of the Little Action Mac worms and gave them to him. He spent much of his free time at the pond hauling in bass after bass, as well as jumbo bluegills using this particular worm.

The Little Action Mac company is a small-time operation headquartered near the Chain 'O Lakes. Tom Wenman is the owner, and his production line takes place in his garage. Wenman bought the company in 1996 from McHenry angler Gerry Macey.

My "love affair" with the worm started around 1987 when local angler Rich Reinert showed me how to use one on Bangs Lake. That was a memorable afternoon because I caught 22 largemouth bass, along with a couple northern pike.

Reinert was a down-to-earth bass fisherman who taught me a lot about the bottom makeup of Bangs as well as East and West Loon lakes.

Rich told me he discovered that Little Action Macs were excellent trigger baits that would create situations in which schools of largemouth and smallmouth bass would fight to get to the worm first.

A.J. recently told me he came up with his own "surefire" formula for catching fish with the Little Action Mac.

"It's not a scientific study," he commented, "but rather something I found that seems to be accurate quite a number of times."

As we started to get out of the truck on a recent local excursion, A.J. explained how it works.

"I often make several casts (three), and if I don't get a strike on the first, it often happens on the third try," he said.

We walked to as grassy section and got ready to make our casts. I suggested A.J. use the weedless version of the Little Action Mac and make his cast to the outside edge of the close-in weed line.

I had a terrific strike on my second cast, and unfortunately I lost the fish without ever seeing it. We split up, with A.J. going to the west edge of the pond while I went to the east side. I caught three more small bass while A.J. caught his share as well.

I dropped him back home in the early afternoon. I was relaxing on the couch a while later when the telephone rang. A.J. reported he went back to another pond where he has access and had a fantastic adventure catching bass almost nonstop.

"I had a nice bluegill grab the Little Action Mac as well, and to tell the truth I thought it was another bass because of the way it fought," he added.

Not every time turns into a blue-ribbon day like this one, but the Little Action Mac helps provide entertaining battles, without all the glitz.

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