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"I first heard of a new lure called the Osprey in 1999. A Japanese customer had come into the tackle shop looking for big baits, with a page from a magazine. Amongst the Japanese writing were pictures of a Castaic Soft Trout, a Basstrix Swimbait, and another bait that I could not identify. The customer informed me that the unidentified bait was an Osprey Talon, and it was the hottest big bait in Japan...": so says Chris Johnson of Bass World West.

Let Chris continue:

I was immediately intrigued by the Osprey, because of it’s classic hand-poured swimbait shape. Missing, though, was the traditional molded in lead head and exposed single hook. This bait incorporated a harness and treble hook that sat on the belly of the bait. The pour and use of color was also the best presentation I’d ever seen in a trout bait.

After a little investigating, I found that the hottest bait in Japan, was poured a little closer to home: in Bishop, California, USA. It seems that this bait, as many other big baits, was designed originally as a tool to catch large brown trout. A man named Steve Harner had designed an all-plastic bait that would not need a lead head to balance its swimming action. It was only a mater of time before the Osprey was discovered by trophy hunting bass anglers ...

The original Osprey Talon was a 9” bait with a single belly-mounted treble hook.

The original Osprey

We immediately removed the stock hook and replaced it with a Gamakatsu. We then tied a short leader of Power Pro braid to the first hook and attached a second, smaller Gamakatsu as a trailer. This proved to be critical, as most of our early bass were initially hooked on the stinger.

The "Pro-Rig" version of the Osprey - note the trailer hook. The harness is also totally revamped ensuring better hookups and a longer lasting lure


In March 2001, Jeff Taibi, Kevin Linehan and I opened Bass World West in Santa Ana, CA. With over 20 years combined retail tackle experience, and dedicated to the trophy and tournament fishermen, we knew that custom tackle service would be our niche. The Osprey Talon figured big in our plans.

I began experimenting with the Osprey later that year, trying to build a better mousetrap. My idea was to make the bait a little more durable, and to devise the perfect hook system. The bait was a great bass catcher, but the built in harness would sometimes tear out of the bait on the hookset. I’d only catch one fish sometimes before the bait was ruined. I needed a new way to run the line to the hooks, without the use of a metal harness.

The first Pro-Rig Osprey was built with a hollow coffee stirrer I got from the donut shop next door to Bass World West. I had decided to remove the original harness and glue a tube running through the bait. The main line would then pass through the tube and tie up to a split-ringed Gamakatsu hook on the belly of the bait, with a stinger hook also attached.

The first run of the new rig in our casting tank had me really excited. The bait ran straight and I knew that the hooks would stick the bass, and the Osprey would slide harmlessly up the line. The integrity of the bait would hold up, fish after fish. We added a stainless steel washer to the belly opening, and placed a small centering weight in the bait. Then we perfected the hook placement, and the bait was ready.

After testing the new rig on several willing bass, and finding better tubing material, we decided that the successful rig was ready for the public. In September 2001 we debuted the Pro-Rig Osprey. Tournament wins at Casitas, Perris, Castaic, and Cachuma were soon to follow by anglers using the newly rigged swimbait. Double-digit bass were taken from Clear Lake, in Northern California, all the way down to El Salto, in Mexico.

Through hundreds of hours of development, and thousands of bait sold, we are convinced that the Pro-Rig Osprey is the most deadly big bait ever produced. Trophy bass and tournament wins from all over California were achieved with this design. Colors, such as Bluegill, Baby Bass, Pro Blue Neon, Clear Lake Hitch, and Silver Shad have expanded the Ospreys’ appeal to bass which don’t have rainbow trout as part of their diet. Trophy bass everywhere are susceptible to its lure.

Though many Osprey knock-offs have emerged in the past year, the original continues to pace the field. Innovative designs in bass tackle only come along so often, and the Osprey Talon is one of them. The Pro-Rig design only takes a great thing and makes it better.

Chris Johnson of

The man himself, Chris Johnson, with the results of his handiwork - a 7lb San Vincente (California) Bass on the "Pro-Rig" Osprey


The Pro-Rigged Osprey Talon is available exclusively from 

in these eye-catching colours in 7" ($20-99) and 9" ($23-99) sizes:

Dark Rainbow


Light Rainbow


Special heavy glitter Rainbow


Ghost Rainbow


Western Trout




Pro Blue


Baby Bass




Silver Shad




And Chris Johnson of Bass World West has done it to the Whitmer Rago Generic Swimbait too! 

A "Pro-Rig" version of this new lure is out:

  For a detailed description on how to go about "pro - rigging" this lure on your own, click on the pic

 OR order online from:

  (click on "Swimbaits - Big Baits").

"I would rather fish the "Pro - Rig" versions of the Osprey and Rago lures. They are appropriately and optimally tuned and modified and are equipped with Gamakatsu hooks ...": Jacques Wolmarans


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