Friday the 13th seemed like a questionable day to test a new lure, even in the 1910s. But it was a convenient day to get out and the fish bit the new lure extremely well. Therefore, when the lure that was being tested made the Heddon catalog and was put into production, it was dubbed the Lucky 13.

Nearly a century later, this topwater lure remains in production under the same name – and the fish still can’t resist it! The Lucky 13 had some variations over the years, and like most lures, it eventually went through a transition from wood to plastic. The essence has remained the same, though, and if you were to come across a Lucky 13 from eight or nine decades ago, it really wouldn’t look that different from those that continue to be made.

Despite its name, a Lucky 13 produces so well because of a skillful design and the diversity that design delivers. At a glance, it looks similar to other chuggers, but this lure’s functions make it extremely diverse.

Topwater expert Hiro Naito contends a primary difference between artificial lure fishing and live bait fishing is that with artificial lures the angler must create a strike, as opposed to waiting for a strike to happen. The Lucky 13 offers many ways to create strikes with one lure.

Most significantly, a Lucky 13 can easily be made to pop or chug, which are two very different things. “Popping imitates a baitfish trying to get away,” Naito said. “Chugging is a bigger sound that imitates a predator fish feeding. Both sounds are important for making fish strike.”

Naito pops a Lucky 13 with short, sharp snaps of the rod tip. The quick pop doesn’t move the lure very far but makes it dance a bit. He chugs the same lure with a slower and much longer rod pull, and the shape of the lure’s face and placement of the line tie cause it dig a bit and create a chugging sound.

Those aren’t the only actions, though. When pulled even farther or reeled, a Lucky 13 will actually dive just a bit and perform a big wide wobble, popping back to the top with any pause.

Naito’s default presentation is to use quick little pops while the lure is close to a primary strike zone but to mix in occasional chugs to draw fish from father away. Some jerks fall between a classic pop and chug, though, and he’ll also mix in some longer motions to pull the lure beneath the surface and rod snaps to make it dart while submerged.

In truth, Naito mixes cadences, sharpness of tugs, lengths of pauses and more almost continually until the fish show him what is prompting strikes that day. As the fish reveal preferred presentations and locations, he refines his strategy so he doesn’t waste effort doing the wrong stuff.

Lucky lure or not, Naito relies on presentation skills to make bites happen.