Take a look at this lure. The company that makes them just recently came to my attention, and their products are certainly different. You’ll notice there are no hooks. The idea is that the lure can cut through the nastiest cover without getting hung up, and when a fish bites down on that belly trigger, spring-loaded hooks release from the side slots and grab hold. It’s clever, but in my opinion, this will be one of thousands of lures that just doesn’t make it on the market. The plight of “gimmick” lures has always intrigued me, because as anglers we are always seeking out the innovative. Yet stray too far outside the box in design, and suddenly what is supposed to be innovative becomes perceived by many as a gimmick.

Since I’ve been working in the magazine biz, I’ve seen (and fished) a bunch of lures that the designers believed would take the sport by storm. Some of them had fancy LED cores and gave off electric pulses. Others featured interchangeable body sections that snapped together, allowing you to adjust length, or switch from a lipped head to a popping head. Truth is, they caught fish, though never more than “standard” lures. Yet I suspect they’ll fade out of the spotlight sooner or later like the Flying Lure and Helicopter Lure.

So where do you draw the line between genuine innovation and gimmickry?