How many fishermen can say they have a lure named after them?
Clyde “The Guide” Holscher can.
Turn over the package of that Vibirc Rooster Tail with a chartreuse blade and white body and you’ll see his claim to fame. Lure name? The Clyde.
It all came about when Holscher, a longtime guide on the lakes of eastern Kansas, was tinkering with existing Vibrics to come up with new color designs. He tried combinations that had always worked in Kansas’ stained waters.
It wasn’t long before he found that he had a winner. When he had Tom Fletcher, one of his regular customers, try a Clyde during a fishing trip in 2010, Fletcher caught his biggest smallmouth bass ever.
“He immediately wanted me to make up a dozen of those baits for him,” said Holscher, 66, of Topeka.
To make a long story short, a manufacturer’s rep was so impressed with the color scheme after he used them with Holscher that he promoted them to Worden’s, which makes the popular lures. It wasn’t long before they were on the market.
Since then, Holscher has come up with three other color schemes for the Vibrics: what the lure company dubs Clyde’s twin sisters, Claudia and Claudette, and Beetletreuse.
“My guide customers ask me who Claudia and Claudette are, and expecting me to say they’re someone I’m related to or friends with,” Holscher said with a laugh. “But there’s no connection here.
“The only Claudia and Claudette I know are in my tackle box.”
Do they work? Oh, my, do they work.
On a recent trip to Coffey County Lake, Holscher and his fishing partners — longtime customer and friend, Dennis Horner, and I — began casting versions of the Vibric Rooster Tails that Holscher designed.
It wasn’t long before each of us was greeted by jolting strikes from white bass. We each pulled the fish into the boat, hurried to unhook them and made long casts. Same result.
And so it went for almost an hour. Holscher held the boat in place on a shallow, extended rocky point, and we were greeted by fish after fish, a mix of big white bass and wipers.
But that was only part of the fun. We also used Ned Rigs — ZinkerZs cut in half and affixed to a small red Gopher jig head — to catch an abundance of smallmouth bass along rocky banks.
All the while, Holscher was keeping count with a clicker he kept beside him in the boat.
“Clyde is going to get carpal tunnel using that clicker today,” Horner said with a laugh.
By the time, the five-hour trip was over, the number stood at 126. All of the fish were released to fight another day.
And there’s a good chance Holscher will run into one of them again. It isn’t unusual for Clyde and the clients of his Guide Lines Guide Service to tussle with 100 or more fish per day.
Holscher specializes in getting people bites. He is a proponent of finesse fishing, and he is an excellent teacher.
But that’s not all. He knows the reservoirs of eastern Kansas like the back of his hand.
At Coffey County, which he has fished since the lake opened in the early 1980s, he knows the subtle dropoffs, rock humps, roadbeds, and bottom changes that fish relate to. He has plenty of spots to fish, depending on wind direction and weather conditions.
But it’s not just at Coffey County. He also guides customers to big catches at Melvern, Clinton, Perry and Pomona. On some of his trips, he’ll have his trusty canine sidekick, Brody, a Westie, at his side. That is, if his customers are “dog people.”
Brody is a white bass specialist. He looks on with a bored look on his face as the fishermen reel in other species. But when a white bass or a wiper appears, he goes crazy. He often even helps release the fish, taking the white bass in his mouth and dropping it back into the water.
“I didn’t think I’d better bring him today,” Holscher said with a laugh. “He would have worn himself out with all of these white bass we’re catching.”
For Holscher, a retired Southwestern Bell employee, life is good. He is busy as a guide and he gets to make money doing what he loves to do. With an easy-going personality and an enthusiasm for helping people catch fish, he often has return business.
Horner, an attorney from Kansas City, Kan., fits that bill.
“I read about Clyde in one of your articles in The Star,” Horner said. “I decided to hire him for a day, and we went fishing and just had a great day. I’ve been coming back ever since.
“We’ve become good friends, and I’ve learned a lot since I first fished with him.”
To reach Clyde Holscher, call 785-267-0065 or send email to email@example.com.