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Steve Kennedy’s Huddleston Swimbait

Steve Kenned’s Huddleston swimbait has a place of honor in his home.  It even has a special display case it lives in. But he took it out and took a picture of it to send to me so I could paint it. 

It’s his favorite bait and has been officially retired. It’s been nibbled on quite a bit and here’s why it lives in that display case.

It’s a record setter. And Steve Kennedy will never forget when he discovered swimbaits in California.

I remember this West Coast swing of the Bassmaster Elite Series when Steve discovered swimbaits.  Steve was the talk of the tour because he was cruising around the west, stopping in tackle shops and buying up all the good swim baits.  All the pros kept saying they would try to buy a certain swimbait, but every shop was sold out.

There’s more to the story of that epic win here.

And here. 

And here.

A fish story

The story goes that Fred Roumbanis, a California native who was a swimbait expert, showed some guys his baits at the very first Elite Series event at Lake Amistad in 2006.  Freddy finished second in that event to Ish Monroe.  Both anglers caught over 100 lbs in that tournament.  He was using a discontinued Bass Pro Shops XPS 6-inch soft plastic swimbait that Kennedy’s dad, Van, later found in a bargain bin at Bass Pro Shops in Macon, GA for $1.99.  Kennedy bought 300 of them.

300, ya’ll.

Suddenly, a little niche technique that only a handful of people knew about got hot.

The painting process

Painting this lure was tricky because Steve is a very particular guy.  As I painted, I sent photos to his wife, and my very good friend, Julia.  At the time the Kennedy’s were on a family vacation, snow skiing in Colorado.  Steve would send back very detailed notes by text through Julia.

“The split ring is supposed to lay more flat and partially pushed up into the body.”

“The hook doesn’t look silver enough.”

I appreciated the attention to detail.  I really wanted to get this right because I knew it meant a lot to Steve.  And he’s one of my favorites.

He’s a fellow alumni of Auburn University (War Eagle) and as good as the day is long.  I really love his parents and I absolutely adore his wife. His kids some of the coolest kids I know.  I can’t wait to see how their journey unfolds.  They are bound to be extremely interesting adults with the parents they have and the travels they have been on.  This is one adventurous family.

I’ve made prints of this painting and they’re in my shop. 

“122 – 14 will always be a special number for me.
Heaviest winning weight 122-14.
Biggest single bag I’ve ever caught, 40-7.
Biggest single bass I’ve ever caught 10-6.

What else needs to be said? And a pivotal moment in my approach to tournaments. Swimbaits rule!”

-Steve Kennedy
2007 B.A.S.S. 4 Day Weight Record
8 Time Bassmaster Classic Qualifier
3 Time Bassmaster Elite Series Winner

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