History of the Anise Worm®

The original Anise Worm®, a pre-rigged artificial plastic nightcrawler, was developed by Indiana angler Robert Eakright. Bob was a distributor of another plastic worm in the mid-1960's. After a brief partnership with the maker of this worm, Bob decided that he could begin producing his own lures and make them better than the competition. Though he was told he wouldn't be able to make a good worm, his persistence and dedication paid off. It took him about 6 months to perfect his secret formula. He had to make sure to mix the ingredients just right to avoid hard spots or soft spots in the worms, and some of the first worms were silly looking. He said he was the first to use anise oil as one of the worm ingredients. As such, the original Anise Worm® was born in 1968. Since then, competitors have added anise oil to their worms, but perhaps not enough. Bob says that you can smell the difference when you compare.

The Anise Worm® has been hand-poured since its inception. The first crude mold was made using a threaded bolt, the threads of which caused ridges in the mold that would mimic the ridges on the side of a live nightcrawler. That first mold could produce maybe a dozen worms, only six or eight of which were viable. About four or five years later he had larger, better molds manufactured. Another early worm produced by Eakright was molded in a flatter shape and was called the tapeworm. The Anise Worm® is pre-rigged with three single hooks attached to fishing line that is hand-sewn through the middle of the worm. The location of these hooks has varied over the years based on customer input.

As the Anise Worm® became a proven fish-catcher and gained popularity, Bob went on the road with it and started selling it in places around the country. Adding other name-brand products to his inventory, he began selling all sorts of tackle to dozens of tackle stores and other retailers. R. L. Eakright Distributing Company became an important supplier of these stores, especially in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. Bob focused on small businesses and individuals, and made it a point not to sell to large discount stores.

A few years after the introduction of the Anise Worm®, Eakright developed the Weedless Anise Worm® and Bluegill Anise Worm®, or "Bluegill Worm". The early weedless worms were made with small plastic "legs" that the hooks could be buried in, making it "weedless." The extra plastic reduced the action of the worm, and later was removed in favor of weedless hooks with wire weed guards. The Bluegill Worm is much smaller, and has been used as a trailer or by itself. It has two hooks sewn into it.

Creativity has been at the center of Anise Worm® design. Many designs have been produced, from spotted worms to stripes and sparkles. There was even a red, white, and blue worm called the patriot worm. Worms were produced in a variety of colors, including custom colors such as bubblegum, rainbow trout, and crawdad. The best-selling colors that have stood the test of time are dark purple, light purple, light and dark purple with a white stripe, light and dark purple firetail, and the classic natural cleartail, which resembles a real nightcrawler. Anise Worm® slogans used over the years include "Fish it slow and lazy" and "Put a fish in your dish."

Today the Anise Worm® continues to catch fish, and has become a staple of the kid on the pier as well as the serious angler. The Anise Worm® is primarily designed to catch bass, but has caught perch, walleyes, and catfish to name a few. The yellow with black stripe color has been a favorite on the finger lakes of New York for pickerel. Special Anise Worm®s with wire leaders were once made for pickerel fishing. The smaller Bluegill Worm has caught big bluegills and crappies, rainbow trout, and bass. The Anise Worm® has been sold primarily in the Midwest, but also as far away as California, Washington, Texas, Canada, and the UK. Vacationers from Florida purchased the Anise Worm® in Indiana because they couldn't find it in their home state. Thanks to Bass River Outdoors dealers and the World Wide Web, now they can!

Mr. Eakright is now in retirement after over three decades of contributions to the fishing world. Now Bass River Outdoors is proud to be the exclusive home of the original Anise Worm®, Weedless Anise Worm®, and Bluegill Worm. We have also added the Freedom Anise Worm®, or "Freedom Worm", as well as numerous other anise-scented soft plastics known as our Tournament Grade baits. We don't want to see such a great American classic lure disappear into the pages of fishing history and lore. With your support, we can keep this legendary fishing lure in the tackle boxes of the next generation of fishermen. Many fish around the country have never seen an Anise Worm®. Better hang onto your rod when one does. The Anise Worm®...order yours today! Thanks and good fishing to all!