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As I sat upon the rocks facing Stanton's Reef the sky to the east began to turn pink with the coming of false dawn. Out of the corner of my left eye I noticed movement near the remnants of the Peg Rock bass stand. Someone was already casting and it wasn't full light yet!

     I watched intently as this caster made his second cast. He immediately hooked-up and landed what appeared to be a teen sized bass. His next cast produced another. At that point I got off my butt and started casting my Creek Chub popper into the darkness with no luck as this unknown "night stalker" continued to catch bass after bass. Not only didn't I catch any bass, I couldn't even get a strike.

     Later, after dawn broke, I wandered over and talked with the mystery caster. It was Roger Hargrove (now deceased) who I'd met once before. Like a complete neophyte (which I was at that time), I told him I didn't think stripers would hit plugs in the darkness. Roger laughed as he strung up his half dozen stripers. He saw my popper and told me I had to use "swimming plugs" after dark. He then showed me the Rebel Wind Cheater Super Minnow that he was using. It was 6 inches long, had a yellow back, white belly and a splash of red on the head. He told me I could get some at Morris's Tackle shop in town.

     The story above recounts the first time I ever set eyes on a Rebel Wind Cheater Super Minnow. The year was 1973, my junior year in high school. As an avid surf caster you never stop learning and on that night I learned two surf casting lessons: That striped bass could be caught on swimming lures after dark, and that poppers don't often work when it's dark. From that point on the Rebel Super Minnow was my go to lure when surf casting for striped bass.

     The original Rebel Wind Cheater Super Minnow has long since been discontinued (1983). There was a time when it was the most popular minnow type plug used on the striper coast. There were two sizes of the old Super Minnow: the F90, which was 7 inches long and weighed 2 ounces, and the F80 which was 6 inches long and weighed 1.5 ounces. They were the "heavy duty" versions of Rebel's popular series of minnow swimmers, the F40 and F30, which were not thru-wired. The F80 and F90 were floating models and cast very well for minnow type swimmers, hence the name Wind Cheater. They were also thru-wired for extra strength when targeting striped bass, pike, muskie, and other large fish. They were the only thru-wired minnow type plug on the market. The only weakness we encountered when using them was their lip design. The swimming lip on these Rebels was brittle and would often break when they were used in rocky environments. When the lip would break they wouldn't swim thereby rendering them useless. We had quite a collection of "broken lipped" Rebels wasting away in our basements until my casting partner Zeke Silva came up with an ingenious way of replacing the broken lips with lips we made from the pliable plastic of used shampoo bottles. With our flexible replacement lips the Rebels swam just as well and they wouldn't break when hitting rocks.

     The most effective color patterns of these Rebels was the Yellow Back, Blue Back, Mackerel, and for a while on the Cape, a Red Back. Yellow worked well at night while the blue and mackerel were daytime favorites. We alternated using the F80 and F90 until we found which one the bass preferred. During the springtime squid run in the Newport area the yellow F80 was a killer. After the Super Minnow was discontinued Pradco's Bomber and Red Fin series of plugs filled the void but neither has the strength to hold up to large fish like the old Rebel Super Minnow.      Pradco re-introduced a new version (F85 Series) of the Rebel Wind Cheater in 1992 and a larger version (F86 Series) in 1993. Both are currently available and at times work well, but they are not nearly as effective as the older style.


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