The end of a line for a great plug

Recently I had a pleasure of tangling with few bluefish that pulled my boga down to 16 pound mark. Unfortunately tossing pencil poppers that morning also screwed up my elbow where now I sit here in an excruciating pain with my fall looking like it’s going to be spent as an observer instead of participant.

Somehow I managed to break off my last new 3.5 ounce Yo-Zuri Surface cruiser that I just took out of the box that morning. It was sickening watching that thing sail toward Bermuda

As I checked my stock of old, chewed up Surface Cruisers in my box my tackle tote I started to think, what in the world will I replace them with? I mean, there will come a day when I will have none left. It’s the law of the averages. The more you use them, the more of a chance you will lose one.

There are a lot of good pencil poppers on the market but most I am not familiar with. For one reason, there was no need to get familiar with another pencil popper while Yo-Zuri was around and affordable…now neither of those things are true.

Regardless of what the replacement I choose to stick with its going to suck. It’s like losing a good soldier on the field. Heck, it’s like losing a whole combat unit. But I was in the way preparing myself for this day…they are solid pencil poppers out there from Gibbs (although my experience has been that they get waterlogged) Al Gag made a good one and true to his tradition the finish fell off almost as soon as the fish looked at it but they catch…lol.. Guides Choice makes a good one, Tactical Anglers and many more. There are others, I was told Don from Afterhours makes a dynamite one but I never tried it and I make a point not to talk about things I never tried. Because some of you think every word I write is a gospel…by the way, this is Jennie Hromin. My husband Zeno is in Montauk for a week and gave me his password to the blog and asked me to fill in  for him.

Just bustin..ha

So what did I settled on as a replacement for my beloved Yo-Zuri? I am fishing big Guppy Lure Co pencils more and more. They cast well, maybe even better than Yo-Zuri. They are easy to work (big thing for us old farts) and they stay true on the cast. None of that wobble crap that some pencil poppers exhibit.

I gave one to our Rod Guru Lou Caruso on Saturday evening at False Bar in Montauk to try for few casts. I was in flip flops, he was dressed to the hilt. After few casts he said “the only way you are getting it back is if you wade here to pry it out of my hands”

I let him have it and drove home. I am glad I am not the only one that thinks that they are good plugs.



feel free to share what is your number one. God knows we can only try few each year

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30 comments on “The end of a line for a great plug

  1. Matt H

    Z, you hit the nail on the head. After trying Guppy pencils, I actually now reach for them in favor of the surface cruisers. The Hess brothers turn a phenomenal product. Best of luck with the new poppers.

  2. Sean Kearney

    I’m I’m the same boat as you Z. The surface cruiser was/is the only pencil I use. I’ve tried using a bunch of others like Gibbs TA Cordell Gags and to me they just do not compare. Maybe I just take out my savings and buy every surface cruiser I can find?

  3. Tom Schneider

    I haven’t tried the Guppys but the Guide’s Choice Pencil is my replacement for the Yozuri Surface Cruiser: Casts like a rocket, takes a beating and catches fish. Can’t ask for more than that!

  4. Tony Politi

    I feel your pain Z, literally. Dealing with the elbow thing as well. Fighting through it, see how long it lasts :(. Used to fish plugcaster pencils, but no more there either

  5. Robert LIO

    We still have a few Yozuris left instock at the normal price and we have the wood Northbar pencils too..they are a direct copy of the Yozuri and they work!
    Sux losing a favorite plug…

  6. Bob Mirynowski

    Zeno, see a local pain specialist and have him inject the joint and tendon sheath with a local anesthetic and steroid . Sounds like you may have tennis elbow. Anti inflamatories and a brace help also .The injection might just salvage your season.

  7. Greg Tucceri

    By far the best casting pencil is Left Hook with Afterhours a a very close second. Nothing casts better into the wind than the Left Hook, finish is like the Gags,catch a few fish and its gone. Afterhours by far the best finish in all of the pencils ever made. They are tough.And come in a bunch of different sizes. For me I use the AH Jr blip at 2.5 oz 7″ and for LH 2.5 pilgrim. Imo these are the best two pencils on the market today.

  8. Dooley

    Z, from an optimist standpoint, at least you wont have to worry about your lure cracking in half anymore (I lost count of how many I broke). Try Northbar and you wont be disappointed. Jnski also makes a hell-of-a stubby pencil that can outcast anything in my bag sans SS bullets.

  9. CTMatt

    247 Lures is the new Al Gags. He sold the rights to them…great pencil. I have to snatch up some surface cruisers…never actually had one surprisingly.

  10. CTMatt

    247 Lures is the new Al Gags. He sold the rights to them…great pencil. I have to snatch up some surface cruisers…never actually had one surprisingly.

    I do like the Big Fischer and the Tactical in the smaller size in particular. The 247 lure did very well on blues. Sleek with a flat bottom. Use it like a spook or a pencil.

  11. matt

    I’m a fan of Afterhours Don has a ton of sizes and styles to choose from in my opinion if it says Afterhours Jr no matter what AH you get is going to perform in most of your normal conditions. When i dont have my actual pencil in my bag i toss an AH Jr needle and dance it like a pencil and it works like a charm.

  12. Richard aka Woodwker99

    Z you missed the boat again! he casts and casts and not one hit???????!!!! where was he ? Smiths point? (no fish here yet).

  13. Chef Chris

    if you guys are looking for surface cruisers check dicks sporting goods or sports authority shops, they always have them, last few times they been on sale too.

    the northbar pencil is amazing, casts great and larry and rob are great guys.

    afterhours makes some killer pencils too, all sizes and shapes. just grabbed 8 more from Don the other day for the fall run in Rhody

  14. Zeno Post author

    You are so right Rich, I am a fraud. Instead of picking up a rod and casting, there I am with a dumb camera, giving you dumb videos so you can see the plug in action. My apologies, hopefully you will get some better footage soon and share it with our readers
    Zeno Hromin
    The Hater Magnet

  15. Jamie

    Hi Zeno, I used pencils almost exclusively for the first 3 years of surfcasting. I think it’s a challenging lure to learn, but I’ve tried several models. I would say for value and working a pencil slow, Gibbs is the go to. Their negative is durability. If you work the plug constantly as in the video you posted, then Guppy, Afterhours, and others with the “canal cut” on the bottom all do well. Afterhours I would say is tops for durability due to the awesome epoxy finish, and they have some of the best paint jobs. One has to balance the desired amount of action with weight of the plug if you need something heavier for casting distance. I hear that the action max’s out at 3.5oz or so, but don’t have to rod to verify this. Maybe you can do some comparison of action versus distance casting versus weight of the Guppy lures?
    As always, thanks for all of your posts on the blog and work on the magazine. I love it! Jamie

  16. Joe G.

    Plug Caster if you can find em’, like a rocket on a GSB 132M. Mackerel Guppy’s in the Canal cruizin’ along the rippin’ current, Life’s good! (when the bass are there)

  17. Moses Medina

    I can’t believe yo- zuri is no more! I gave to put away the ones I have. It’s a shame, I love their surface cruisers.


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