For many anglers, especially in the South, there have been epic trips with lots of unforgettable “Sally Time.”
They casted, retrieved and set the hook time and time again, catching largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and more on an in-line spinnerbait made by Hildebrandt — the Snagless Sally. While that lure still has its days, a newer, larger model with a specific appeal to bass anglers was designed by Steve Porter, who lives near the shore of Lake Okeechobee in Florida.
Hildebrandt’s Super Sally now ushers in “Super Sally Time.” No one knows that better than Porter’s good friend and Bassmaster Elite angler Bernie Schultz, 63, of Gainesville, Fla.
“It’s not something you use every day,” Schultz said, “but when the situation’s right, there’s no better tool.”
After fishing with the Snagless Sally (the Super Sally’s historic predecessor) in Taylor Bayou during the Bassmaster Elite tournament at Orange, Texas, in 2013, the time was right for him to use the Super Sally on the Calcasieu River in a Bassmaster Elite tournament out of Orange in 2015.
The move paid off.
“I caught the fish critical to making the cut” on a Super Sally adorned with a 3 ½-inch Yamamoto swimbait, he said about the bass he weighed in from the Calcasieu River.
“It was the perfect scenario for it, especially when the water started moving. They’d come out and kill that thing.”
Where to fish it
“Any time I fish tidal waters, I’ve got one tied on. You can throw it just about anywhere and get bit because of the flash and vibration,” Schultz said, noting his favorite of the eight colors available is chartreuse sexy shad. “Then it’s only a matter of choosing the right color,”
At the Calcasieu River, Schultz targeted wood exclusively with the Super Sally, and at Taylor Bayou he fished hyacinth mats, some flooded trees and grass beds. Super Sallys are deadly when worked over vegetation with water over it, which means it “works really well at high tide.”
They are made in ¼-, ⅜- and ½-ounce sizes with No. 3 ½, No. 4 and No. 4 ½ Colorado blades, respectively. Schultz said he uses the smaller size until he gets a limit, then switches to a larger one to target bigger bass.
Other Bassmaster Elite anglers use the Super Sally but for sponsorship reasons, they don’t always talk about it, Schultz said.
“There are a number of them that do, especially the ones who have been around a long time. They know and the guys around the Gulf Coast region, they know,” he said. “(But) they don’t talk about what a great weapon it is. It’s like one of the best kept secrets.”
One established Bassmaster Elite angler, Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala., used the Super Sally’s famous predecessor, the Snagless Sally, to catch some hefty bass in a WalMart FLW tournament on Sam Rayburn in April 2014. (To watch the video go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwNVUjlouDs.) He put an Uncle Josh Pork Rind on the Snagless Sally.
Porter, 78, had a better idea when he made a pitch to beef up the Snagless Sally.
“I thought if I could come up with a bigger Snagless Sally, it could be a sure thing,” Porter said, adding he started working on it about four years ago and after a couple years, the finished product was in the catalog.
“It’s a great looking bait and it works as good as it looks,” he said, noting he insisted it have a silicone skirt.
Super Sally’s designer
If anyone could build a bigger, better Snaglass Sally, Porter could, according to Schultz.
“He’s got a wealth of knowledge. He’s a very innovative guy. He is the pioneer of the “Okeechobee big blade,” he said.
Porter has impressive credentials as an inventor and designer. He was a partner in the launch several decades ago of the WeedMaster Trolling Motor Weed Guard, a cone that fits around the lower unit of a trolling motor. When Porter showed it at outdoors shows he always wound up, as fate would have it, next to the Hildebrandt Company booth — and in 1972 befriended Alan Hildebrandt and his wife, Edie, from Indiana.
Porter told Hildebrandt he wanted to make spinnerbaits with oversized blades in an effort to match the golden shiners — which grow as big as 12 inches — that were so prevalent in Florida lakes. Hildebrandt always responded by saying he was in the spinnerbait business — not the blade business.
To Porter’s surprise, though, a box of big blades was delivered a year or two later, and that started the wheels in motion.
Porter’s initial claim to fame, although a more recognizable name stole his thunder, was coming up with the first big-bladed spinnerbait that evolved into the “Okeechobee Special.” Hildebrandt blades were the first applied to the new concept for a big-bladed spinnerbait, first with an Indiana blade, then with a willowleaf blade.
Porter began trying his creation out in 1974 and eventually settled on a No. 3 ½ Colorado blade in the front and a No. 7 willowleaf in the back. While he prefers that combination, he also recommends a No. 3 or 3 ½ Colorado in front of a No. 6 willowleaf.
That was Porter’s beginning with Hildebrandt. Both Porter and Schultz have been associated for many years with Hildebrandt, which was purchased in 2006 by Yakima Bait Co.
No. 5 blade would be great
So many years later, Porter’s Super Sally has taken center stage. It is marketed with No. 3 ½, No. 4 and No. 4 ½ blades — but Porter likes a No. 5.
“If Hildebrandt would bring a No. 5 out, that’d please me greatly. A No. 4 works, but a No. 5 really gets their attention,” he said.
He’s very protective of the few Super Sallys he has with a No. 5 blade.
“Every time I go out I have one tied on. I’m kind of real careful with it. I cut and retie,” he said. “I don’t want to lose any with 5s.”
For more information on the Super Sally, Snagless Sally and other Yakima Bait Co. products, go to yakimabait.com, call (509) 854-1311 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elite angler Bernie Schultz on the Super Sally:
Tackle: My preferred rod choices range from 6’-6” to 6’-10” medium-heavy graphite baitcasting ... usually the Shimano Expride series. I pair them with Shimano Curado-K or Chronarch reels in high-speed ratios (7:1 or 8:1).
I spool them with mono or braid, depending on the water clarity and/or thickness of the cover I’m fishing. For loose or thin cover and clear water, I’ll go with 15- to 17-pound Sufix Superior copolymer line. For heavier cover or dirty water, I use Sufix 832 braid, 30- to 40-pound test.
Favorite colors: Chartreuse sexy shad, smokey shad, pearl and black-red.
Color selection will depend on what type of baitfish the bass are feeding on, or the current weather conditions. Dark colors on dark days, brighter colors on bright days, or when certain baitfish are on the menu.
Cover options: Lily pads, flooded grass, cypress trees and along mats of floating vegetation.
Key situations: Great tidal river tool in grass or around wood. Excellent in current, too.
Best characteristics: Easy to fish, weedless and will come through just about any type of cover.