I donít spend a lot of time browsing online fishing forums, but a particular topic grabbed my attention. Disappointing lures were the subject matter. Here, participants chimed in with their biggest lure let-downs: those baits that looked great or were glorified by others to the point that a purchase was mandatory, only to be later confirmed as unproductive.

Now, weíve all got a list of these. I immediately think of a big Basstrix swimbait, Rapalaís Flat and Fat series, and most popping frogs. But thatís just me. And thatís the magic of this whole thing.

When I scanned the lists of others, a few samples seemed to continually pop up. The Whopper Plopper was most hated.

A little background here may be needed. Many anglers donít realize that the Whopper Plopper wasnít invented as a bass lure, but a musky plug. It wasnít until after gigantic northern-strain bass continued to inhale the thing that the manufacturer, as well as original designer Larry Dahlberg, introduced a smaller version and began pushing the plug into the bass market. Truth is, Dahlberg did design the Plopper model (I think), but the concept and lure category date far back into the early 1900s.

Regardless, this is a bait that everyone immediately dislikes after purchase. Itís loud, itís gaudy and incredibly boring too fish. Cast it out, reel it in; the whole time totally convinced that no respectable bass would be stupid enough to hit the thing. I had that feeling until a 7-pound Floridian exploded on my first Whopper Plopper like a horse falling off a bridge.

I then immediately removed the Whopper Plopper from my letdown lure list.

Scanning more through the comments of others, I noticed a lot of ďDanciníĒ products. Danciní Eel, Danciní Craw; you now the story. Legendary bass angler and product spokesman Bill Dance hasnít always attached his name to legendary gear. Iíd love to have a list of everything heís endorsed over his career. While it would likely be a comical read, it illustrates the effectiveness of his endorsement.

His 1980s lifelike lure collection, created of some type of foam, sold like mad. Still, Iíve yet to meet an angler who found success in any of the baits. Except me. Avid readers may remember a tale I told of ultra cold-water smallmouth inhaling a Danciní Eel. Iíd bet they still do, if you can find one.

Other noted letdown lures are often focused on the lookalike theory (LiveTarget baits), the soundalike (Livingston) or the smell-alike (insert latest fad). Yet, just as often as someone bashes these particular baits, another contributor sings their praises.

In fact, what really interested me about this particular topic, and the pages upon pages of input, was the direction of the conversation itself. All of the early discussion was of letdown lures. Then, gradually, rebuttals took over. Later contributions to the same forum are nearly all examples of one manís garbage being another manís gold.

Iíve often wondered why that is. How is it that you have a lure youíre in love with Ė itís the first thing you tie on each time out Ė yet, I canít catch a fish on it?

I think a lot of it has to do with location. Quite simply, certain bodies of water more closely match some X-factor in certain lures. We see tangible evidence of this throughout bass fishing. In the Ozarks, for example, Wiggle Wart crankbaits are regarded as staples, as much as any other cast-and-retrieve lure. And yes, you can catch fish on a Wiggle Wart elsewhere in the country. But not like in the Ozarks. Coincidentally, many anglers in that region say the same about the Whopper Plopper.

Throughout parts of the mid-South, flat-sided crankbaits are on everybodyís rods come tournament time. Jigs seem to overrule worms through much of the North, for both flipping and casting. Through most of Texas and Louisiana, red lipless crankbaits outsell every other color combined. And in Florida, you can fish your green pumpkin plastics, but Iím fishing Junebug. All day, every day.

The samples are endless. Senkos out West. Wacky worms in the East. Swimjigs in the upper Midwest. Some certainly have regional relevance in terms of forage. The blueback herring lakes come to mind, where underspins, pencil plugs and Keitech swimmers fly off the shelves.

Other times, itís cover type. Grass mats and frogs just like each other. As do open-water smallmouth and dropshots.

But what about the mystery? Why is it that certain lures are so good some places and lousy the next. How could anyone hate a ChatterBait? It works everywhere, right? Maybe not, according to those chiming in.

Here in Florida, I frequently fish small, isolated lakes that receive little pressure, as well as bodies of water that are flailed to a froth every weekend. Today, right now, I can take you to a lake where the bass will routinely hit a jig and craw fished on deep weediness. Then, we can hop in the truck and launch at another lake across the street, where Iíll pay you cash money if you can get a single strike on the same jig. Even more maddening: the lakes are connected by a canal.

I donít know why this is, even after a lifetime of trying to figure it out.

So whatís on your junker list? The lures that were left on mine, I gave away to upcoming anglers fascinated with the sport.

And somewhere, some young kid is wearing the bass out.

(Joe Balog is the often-outspoken owner of Millennium Promotions, Inc., an agency operating in the fishing and hunting industries. A former Bassmaster Open and EverStart Championship winner, he's best known for his big-water innovations and hardcore fishing style. He's a popular seminar speaker, product designer and author, and is considered one of the most influential smallmouth fishermen of modern times.)