This is one of legendary captain Gene Vanderhoeks plungers made in the late 70's or 80's and is from the private collection of legendary Jim Rizzuto. During preparation for Jim Rizzuto's tackle sale, lure experts from Kona were brought in to help identify lures from Jim's vast collection. Experts included Kona captains and lure makers. Four lures ended up in a box labeled Vanderhoek and we bought all four. (see photo). However we guarantee the lures were properly identified so we went to go find the Captain. Gene, holder of 32 world records and 4 granders to his credit.
We found him aboard the Sea Genie preparing for a fishing charter. Of the four lures we brought he confirmed he had made 2 of them 50-40 years ago.
Back in the day, the lure maker would make lures together and Cpt Gene was part of a group of lure-making captains that included Scott Crampton, Rusty and Jimmy Unger and Butch Chee.
Gene made the shape which is now known as the plunger.
One day he went out fishing with the Unger brothers, both had brought a few lures that they made. Gene's and caught a 200lb blue on his 10 minutes out lure. The lure kept plunging up and down in the water and Rusty told him he should call it a plunger. And so the plunger was born. Sometime later at the HIBT Captain Peter Hoogs asked Joe Yee to make him a plunger like Gene's. Joe Yee's was much bigger and thus the super plunger was born.
Of the 2 other lures that were not made by Gene Vanderhoek they are most likely a late Jim Rizzuto copy, we found a photo of one on his website, Lure Making Kona Style. We suspect the other one is too.