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Lure Review

An old lure that's still a BIG hit, the Luhr Jensen AC Plug

Date: 6/9/03
Tackle type: Lures
Manufacturer: Luhr Jensen
Reviewer: JIP

Total Score: 8.58

Introduction: Using bigger lures catch bigger fish, and more and more anglers are finding these massive surface lures are lethal when it comes to landing lunkers. The Luhr Jensen AC Plug has been around for many years and is still a top choice among anglers who seek a lure designed  to catch their record sized bass, stripers, pikes, or any other fish that just can't resist an easy meal splashing above their heads. We put this popular lure to test, to see just how well they target enormous fish.


Luhr Jensen A.C. Plug Specifications

Type Top-water plug
Material Wood body, soft plastic tail
Colors/Patterns 7 available
Sizes 5, 7, 9 inches
MSRP $22.95 - $29.95


The Fire Tiger(0979) and Rainbow Trout(0806) patterns are the most popular.  Notice the three different portions of the AC Plug

Impressions: Many Anglers know that the Original Allan Cole (AC) Plug catches big fish, and that's why there are many lures that have come out over the years trying to mimic the AC's design. So why is this design so effective? Looking at the Luhr Jensen AC Plug you can break it down by analyzing the three sections that make up this immense lure. The head and rear body is handcrafted out of wood. They are joined together forming a broken back design that resembles a wounded fish when retrieved. In addition there is a soft plastic tail portion that is connected to the wooden back portion of the body by three rivets. While holding the AC Plug you will notice the tail feels exactly like a hand poured swimbait body. The slightly concave head of the Plug is carved at a downwards angle for more splashing action on the surface, and the ability to dive if retrieved quickly. The entire wooden body is painted with different patterns and seamlessly matched with the proper colored tail.


Complete Rig for A.C. Plug Tests

Rod Hookhider IM6, Kistler IM7
Reel TICA Caiman CA150, Shimano Calcutta 250
Line 20 lb. Big Game

Real World Tests: Fishing for the huge ones takes some skill, a great deal of of patience, and some good old fashioned luck. Sometimes they are so picky you have to keep on switching lures until you find something they like. But finding waters that hold lunkers aren't as tough as you might think. We tested the 7 and 9 inch AC Plug at Coyote Reservoir, Clear Lake, and O'Neill Forebay, the lakes that are well known trophy lakes.


The broken back design is securely joined and performs well in the water


Casting: Fishing with the AC Plug requires heavy gear in order to make decent casts and provide enough power for you to haul in massive fish.  When casting the AC Plug a 7 to 9 foot rod with medium-heavy or heavy power is recommended. I fished with a 7 foot Hookhider IM6 rod (model 110CX) which is medium-heavy in power with a moderate action.  Meanwhile Zander opted for a buff 6'6" Kistler IM7 rod (model KMT66MH) that is medium-heavy and extra fast. Casting the 7 and 9 inch AC Plugs wasn't a problem when equipped with the right tackle.


Retrieving: After casting the lure far past where you think the fish are holding, this is where the fun begins.  Because the AC Plug is so big it lands on the water pretty hard. Like many other topwater lures be sure to wait for a short time after casting before retrieving. There are many ways to retrieve the Luhr Jensen AC Plug, and it's up to the Angler's preference on what technique they like to use to entice the big fish to strike. 


The Rainbow trout pattern is a big hit for monster largemouth bass especially in lakes where trout are stocked


Slow Retrieve: With a slow constant retrieve, the AC Plug comes to life!  The actions are incredibly attractive both to fishermen and to the fish lurking beneath. Have you ever watched a fish just cruise the shorelines? That's what the Luhr Jensen AC Plug mimics with the slow retrieve method. The broken back design gives it a steady side to side wobble at the same time it generates clicking sounds as the two wooden pieces come in contact, and the soft plastic tail gives a thrashing movement to further entice fish to strike. We found that retrieving the AC Plug slowly is productive for both largemouth and striped bass along the shore, right outside the weed line, and in shallow areas that border deep drop offs.


No matter what technique you use to retrieve the Luhr Jensen AC Plug, the active swimming tail will give the lure a realistic appearance


Slow Retrieve & Popping: Work it slow and work it like a wounded fish, is an alternative to catching those whoppers. The Luhr Jensen plug is designed to be retrieved in multiple ways and imitating a wounded fish is one very productive method. After casting allow the AC Plug to sit for a short time. The splash usually attracts the attention of surrounding fish.  Then on the surface start popping the lure on the surface with a few rapid tugs and cranks. Repeat this a few times, then stop, allowing the lure to rest on the surface. Usually once you start jerking again the fish will blow up on your AC Plug. At this time give the fish some time to get a good hold on the lure, then set the hook, and set it hard.


By downsizing the AC Plug you can also target smaller fish like this 20 inch striper


Trolling: Similar to the previous techniques, slow is the key and this applies to trolling as well. For optimum performance Allan Cole recommends trolling the Luhr Jensen AC Plug at speeds between 1.5 to 2.5mph. When trolling slow the lure will swim like a real fish, with the tail wiggling nicely.

JIP landed this 8.2lb lunker on a slow retrieve with the AC Plug

 The wooden portion of the Luhr Jensen AC Plug is quite durable and will not crack even after extended use. After months of testing, the AC Plug only took on a few paint chips where the joint is located.  This is due to the "clacking" when the lure wobbles side to side. The soft plastic swimming tail at the rear is hardy, and looked as good as new. But if you ever need to replace the tail on your AC Plug, Luhr Jensen does offer replacement tails. 


A.C. Plug Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Solid wood construction with hefty components.  The tail is soft yet durable.  Minimal paint chipping at joint 8.5
Performance Lively topwater action that's realistic and very attractive to fish 9.5
Price At a MSRP between $22-30 the AC Plug is a few bucks cheaper than its copies.  Plus we have found it slightly lower at local retail stores 8
Features A swimbait that's broken down into three sections that provides great actions 8
Design (Ergonomics) Active broken back design that performs great.  The soft swimbait tail wiggles and the concave front end introduces additional action 8.5
Application A good topwater lure for big aggressive fish.  Downsize and you can fish for smaller species as well 9

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Active movements L Paint chips where body parts hit each other
J Good for big aggressive fish  
J Productive design  

Conclusion: Large topwater swimbaits for freshwater fishing might not be used by anglers daily, but it doesn't mean that they don't work. The Luhr Jensen AC Plug, originally designed by Allan Cole, is still the top bait used for huge game fish even though it has been on the market for a great many years. The original design has been performing well for over a decade and continues to be productive, thus spawning many copies and variants. The AC Plug comes in 3 sizes and multiple patterns that has proven to be effective for attracting big aggressive fish such as largemouth bass, striped bass, pike, and much more. With some patience and the right tackle, the AC Plug will catch you a trophy sized fish that will sure to get you to do your double digit dance.









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