America’s favorite fishing lures since 1962
Frustrated with wooden lures, George Perrin created the first Plastic Minnow.
Perrin established Rebel, named after his daughter's high school mascot.
The lure that started it all, the Original Rebel Minnow.
It wasn’t long before anglers began demanding new lure styles and sizes.
Rebel furnished all bass boats used in the inaugural Bassmaster Classic.
Rebel Bass Boats featured high-quality wood, veneering and plush captain’s chairs.
Ray Scott presents Rebel Pro, Bobby Murray with the '71 Bassmaster Classic Trophy.
Rebel's "Worm-Proof" tackle boxes were the first to keep plastic worms from melting.
The Pop-R grew in popularity as Pro anglers would buy up entire orders hours after their arrival.
Rebel Pro, Bobby Murray wins his second Bassmaster Classic at Ross Barnett Reservoir.
It is hard to believe that over 50 years ago Fort Smith, Arkansas resident George Perrin saw the potential of plastic fishing lures and created the first Floating Minnow. Perrin had grown frustrated with the wooden minnow lures on the market. They were inconsistent, dove to different depths and ran to the left or right, and with use they took on water, which killed the action. He reasoned that he could make a better one out of plastic. He was right; unlike the wooden lures of the day, every one of his Minnows ran true right out the package, dove to the right depth and was tough enough to handle giant fish. Perrin established Rebel, named after the mascot of the high school his daughter attended.
That original lure, the Rebel F10 Minnow, is still catching fish half a century later.back to top
It wasn’t long before anglers everywhere began asking for other sizes and styles; models that would sink, or run deep, topwater poppers, and later, new shapes and crankbait designs.
A host of Rebel Lures have become fishing legends; lures like the Broken Back (jointed) Minnow, the Pop-R, Wee-R, the Critter Series and the Rebel Crawfish crankbaits.
The Rebel Pop-R P-60 is likely the most storied lure in modern history. It began with a quiet run in 1976 in a line full of similar Rebel ‘Poppers’, and disappeared a few years later with only a handful of anglers even taking notice. The Pop-R was officially dropped from the Rebel product line in 1978.
Joe Hughes is a longtime fishing industry insider who now spends his time fishing Arkansas’ Lake Ouachita. As Rebel’s Public Relations Manager from the early 1970s to early ‘90s, he was in the meeting when the Pop-R was shown the door.
“By 1978 the company had just made the transition to computers, which seems to reduce products to simple lines on a screen,” he said. “(At the meeting) the Pop-R was on the hit list. I knew what was happening with bait in Texas, on Lake Mead and elsewhere and I couldn't believe it, and said, ”This is one of the best topwaters out there,” and walked out of the meeting. “I knew it would be back.”
Back in the early 1970s most tackle boxes were pretty utilitarian. Many were still metal (although plastic - or ‘space age polymer’ was growing in popularity). If you are a bass angler from that era, you may already know one of the advantages of Rebel boxes. You’ve seen the melted impressions of plastic worms left on the plastic of inferior boxes, and peeled the mess apart. Put your worms in a Rebel tackle box, though, and they were just fine.
Of course, times change and the competition caught up to Rebel and by the late 1980s the company exited the tackle box market. But Rebel Lures had again revolutionized bass fishing.back to top
While the first half of Rebel Lures’ 50 years included the manufacture of bass boats, trolling motors and tackle boxes, the second half has been dominated by the company’s lures. The Wee-R, Pop-R and others may have garnered most of the publicity, but it’s the company’s Critter baits that form the foundation of many anglers’ tackle boxes. “I wouldn‘t be caught on the Buffalo River without a couple Teeny Wee Crawfish, a Crickhopper or two and some of the other Critter baits,” said Buffalo River rat, guide and nature photographer Glenn Wheeler. “I start with the Teeny Wee Craw, but if they’re hitting the top I’ll throw the Crickhopper or maybe a Bumble Bug and work it real slow. If the fish just aren’t biting at all, a Cat’r Crawler worked in slow motion or a Wee Frog worked super-fast will catch them.”
One thing that is certain is that Rebel Lures has never been afraid to be the innovator in fishing tackle. “It was nothing to make 10,000 lures a day,” said Danny Stoner, a longtime Rebel employee. “We made enough Rebel Lures in the 1980s to outfit every man, woman and child in the United States.”
The Rebel Pop-R P-60 is likely the most storied lure in modern history. When this overlooked lure re-entered the lineup in 1987, the Pop-R became one of the best selling lures in company history and spawned an entire niche of copy cats. “For a long time I used a Pop-R in every tournament I fished,” said Zell Rowland, one of the pros responsible for the rebirth of the lure. “I knew it couldn’t be kept a secret forever.”back to top
Capitalizing on Rebel’s growing niche of lifelike Critter Baits, the company started the Rebel Critter Club, which encouraged youngsters to fish and be good stewards of the environment. The club’s mascot, Clem Crickhopper, attended fishing festivals and promotions around the country, providing young anglers with tips for fishing these ultralight lures.
The ‘90s also saw the introduction of one of Rebel’s most popular trout offerings, the Tracdown® Minnow. Providing unparalleled wiggling action, the Rebel Tracdown® sinking minnow sinks at a rate of one foot per second. This allows the angler to count their lure down and retrieve it at the exact depth of located suspended fish. Trout, smallies and other gamefish are all likely to put the smack down on the Tracdown!
Rebel’s line of critter baits continued to grow into the 90s with the introduction of new lures including the Bumble Bug and Tadfry. Existing critters were also updated with striking new color patterns like ‘Nest Robber’, which debuted in the Rebel Crawfish line and became one of the most popular crawfish patterns ever created.back to top
Rebel continues in the tradition of innovation even today with the new Frog-R, Rebel Raider and Crappie Crank-R trolling crankbaits. With constant input from professional anglers and a dedication to providing high-quality fishing lures at a reasonable cost, Rebel Lures continues to earn the reputation as America’s Favorite Fishing Lures. The Rebel Frog-R presents a bullfrog shape that easily walks back-and-forth on the surface like a Spook. Four detailed paint schemes and durable construction make the Frog-R an instant Classic for Rebel!
How do you catch the biggest slab out of every school of fish? Troll a Rebel Crank-R! With an amazing baitfish shape and action, color patterns specifically designed for crappie, and running depth of around 10 feet, the Crank-R is the perfect crankbait for pulling up big slabs.
The Rebel Raider is a subsurface walking lure that sashays back-and-forth and catches all species of gamefish, including bass, panfish and others. The diminutive Raider’s baitfish shape, four color patterns and easy walking action makes it extremely effective in any type of water.back to top
Rebel Lures made indelible marks on the fishing industry during its first 50 years. From providing Rebel Bass Boats for the very first Bassmaster Classic to the first worm-proof tackle boxes, to the production of lures in a more consistent and durable material, the company helped usher in the modern era of fishing.
Rebel Lures continues to manufacture innovative, effective and inexpensive hard-baits for anglers of all skill levels. The Rebel Teeny Wee Craw, Crickhopper, Wee Frog and other “critters” are ultralight creek and stream lures that never will be topped for smallmouth or trout.
Fifty years later, the classic Rebel Minnow – the one that started the whole company – is still a go-to lure for a variety of species. The famous Pop-R spawned a thousand copy cats.
And Rebel isn’t resting on legends. The new Frog-R takes its “future-classic” rating as an innovative, inexpensive, topwater, and the value-series crankbaits bring quality, effective crankbaits to the masses.
After 50 years, Rebel Lures continues to earn the reputation of America’s Favorite Fishing Lures.back to top