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Old 09-23-2007, 11:01 AM   #1
JohnR
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Johnny Habs Pictures and Stories

Shocking and saddening as it is to learn of John's passing this morning I would like to assemble pictures and stories of John that some of you could share.

John was a great guy, obviously had a gift with the sea. With the help of his wife they raised one great kid - well, kid when I first met him out on the rocks at Quonnie many years back - young man now.

So pictures and stories, pictures of John, stories of experiences with John, pictures of the odd plug with a story.

We lost a good guy, a friend, and a prominent member of the striper community.

Thanks...

~Fix the Bait~ ~Pogies Forever~

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Old 09-23-2007, 11:21 AM   #2
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First Time I Met John.....

I was getting a sticker for Race Point.....it was the first year they had those insane lines to get them......anyway, Habs was a few spots ahead of me in line with Bassmaster. I knew who he was, had fished his plugs and was very pleased when he introduced himself, we talked for awhile and he showed me some of the stuff he was working on. Just a real, sincere guy....no BS. I also had the pleasure of having him at Plug Night at MSBA 2 years ago.....he gave my son a Habs shirt, which was very generous of him (I also think he wanted my son running around in a Habs shirt.....which he did! I know John got a laugh out of that!) Saw him at RISSA this past Spring and we talked a bit and he had alot of good, sincere advice for a new guy in the plug business. I appreciated that alot! He was also doing the fundraiser raffle for Bob Pond and his Wife.....which seemed to be what John was all about. How fitting. He will be missed by many and has left a lasting legacy for us all.

Plug story....before I started making my own....I was fishing a blurple needle at a favorite local spot one morning and was pounding fish for an hour or so until the sun came up! Man that was fun! Also one of the first batches of plugs I ever made had a few Habs "knock-%$%$%$%$ needles in it.....first night out with my own handmade plugs, Slingah and I were bangin' fish from about 10:00 pm until sunrise on them...fish from about 15 to maybe a few 25 pounds or more......all night long! I have Johns example to thank for that great night! Bumped into BM and Slipknot that night too....it was a blast!

Thanks John and Rest In Peace.
Larry

Almost time to get our fish on!!!
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Old 09-23-2007, 01:31 PM   #3
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every time I saw John night or day on the phone , tackle show/shop or the beach he would ask me how my daughters were doing . not was I catching fish , he was interested in how my kids were . to me that was one of John strong points , caring about others .

RIP from me and my family

they call me clem
clem smith jones
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Old 09-23-2007, 02:18 PM   #4
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First let me say I am in shock today, I still can't really believe this happened.
My heart felt condolenses goes out to his family and friends -Prayers Sent-And May you rest in peace John....
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I met John (HABS) about 7yrs ago via the internet and we quickly became friends and have kept in touch over the years. I truely enjoyed spending some time talking to John up at the RISAA show back in the spring about fishing,plugs and Labs and just recently talked on the phone about a week or so ago...
He always had time to help me out or send me a plug that I needed and I will never forget him..
The fishing community really lost someone very special..

John- Rest in Peace Buddy- Everytime I tie on one your your HABS plugs I will be thinking about you....


Steve
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Old 09-23-2007, 03:55 PM   #5
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I first met John 11 or so years ago while fishing with Bill Nolan at Quonie Breachway.‎ Bill & John were good freinds and I would run into them fairly frequently. Then as I got to know John a bit better you'd never know when you'd run into him other than that you would. He was everywhere and nowhere.

I'd run into him over Gil Pope's shop in Wakefield, at Weekapaug, or the old Ford pickup running around. Back then, you'd usually find him fishing Watch Hill or Quonnie.

The first "Plug Hoeing" I ever saw was a raid on the back of his van (before the explorer?) when Bill, Steve and a few others were rummaging through the Plano boxes of stuff fresh from Paint. Hot plug number 1? Hot Pink Needlefish.

Over the years I got to know John better and I am glad I did.

Someone was in trouble, John would donate plugs for a raffle or auction - nice stuff to - always the latest and greatest stuff from the lathe. He was pretty giving that way...

Time for thoughts and a prayer for his family...

~Fix the Bait~ ~Pogies Forever~

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Old 09-23-2007, 03:56 PM   #6
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I was going to wait awhile to post a Hab story but John has asked so I will post my favorite Hab story.

I can't remember the year but it had to be 1989 or 90. It's during the Striper moritorium and the minimum is 36".
I am at Fresh Pond Rock at about 3 AM in September. It's pouring. I mean it's coming down in buckets. On top of that the wind is SE at abot 20 gusting to 30. I am all alone sitting on the Rock with my back to the wind Grunden hood up and trying to light a smoke. (I smoked back then).
All of a sudden this voice says: "Are you going to sit there and feel sorry for yourself or f@#*ing fish?" I look up and there is this guy with a huge Fu Manchu looking down at me, smiling. I said who the F are you and he say I'm Hab. He grabs my rod and CUTS my line. Looks at my Super Strike needle and says "here try this" and hands me a purple Habs needlefish. I still have it and we became solid friends. I field tested hundreds of his plugs over the years.
I saw John a week ago at HD in Smithfield and the first words out of his mouth were "How you doin' with the big C? that was John, always concerned about you and your family.
Fish with John a hundred different places and never had more fun. He was just the best guy. I feel very sad today but hope he is resting is that great space above.

Tight lines my friend, tight lines.

Last edited by piemma; 09-23-2007 at 04:11 PM.. Reason: spelling

It's gonna be a goooood year
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Old 09-23-2007, 04:32 PM   #7
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I really didn’t know John well at all but here’s a story:

When I was first getting into surfcasting a few years back, I was asking around both online and in tackle shops as to what the must have plugs were. Hab’s needles kept being mentioned and I was determined to get some. I heard that Phil Burgess had gotten a shipment and gave him a call. He was nice enough to send be a few, although he didn’t sound too happy about it (it required payment with a credit card and, if you’ve ever met Phil, you know he doesn’t like credit cards – “I can’t pay Hab’s with credit cards!”). Anyway, I got the plugs and was amazed at the craftsmanship and wanted more. I heard that Hab’s was going to be making another delivery on a given Saturday so I headed down to Burgess. I arrived pretty much at the same time as John. I have to admit that I was a little intimidated by these two “old salts” and when Hab’s walked in and the first words out of his mouth were, “Hey Phil, got any beer” it didn’t exactly ease my mind. I was hanging back, looking around and John asked me what I was looking for. I told him I was hoping to get a few of his needles and he opened up the box for me and gave me some pointers as to what I should get (white!). I’ve built up a nice working collection of his plugs since and I’ve had a few conversations with John, mostly through PMs, and Phil and they really are both great guys.

Canalman recently asked me if I’d be interested in writing an article about Hab’s plugs focusing on the swimmers and other non-needlefish plugs he’s been putting out in increasing numbers lately. I was really looking forward to writing it and getting the chance to discuss the plugs with John.

He will certainly be missed.

"Remember, my friend, that knowledge is stronger than memory, and we should not trust the weaker" - Van Helsing
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Old 09-23-2007, 04:55 PM   #8
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Posted by bido, on the other board

Last edited by nightfighter; 04-04-2008 at 08:01 PM..

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Old 09-23-2007, 05:27 PM   #9
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last year on the sunday of the risaa show john came over to my booth and read a poem that he'd written mentioning a lot of plug builders- does anyone have or know of a copy of it? ....it was great and i'm sure everyone would agree.

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"A GAMEFISH (WHICH STRIPED BASS SHOULD BE) IS TOO VALUABLE TO BE CAUGHT ONLY ONCE"...LEE WULFF
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Old 09-23-2007, 05:52 PM   #10
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PJJoe would know where that is I'm sure Don. THAT was the single FUNNIEST frikin thing I ever heard him say in my life.

But you'll have to add 17 more to the list by now

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last year on the sunday of the risaa show john came over to my booth and read a poem that he'd written mentioning a lot of plug builders- does anyone have or know of a copy of it? ....it was great and i'm sure everyone would agree.
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Old 09-23-2007, 06:04 PM   #11
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2006 SWE Show

Here is a pic of John and his plugs (proto=types)

I am at a loss of words right now,
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Surfcasting Full Throttle

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Old 09-23-2007, 06:26 PM   #12
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And the November BI Crew should remember this one
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Old 09-23-2007, 06:29 PM   #13
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I have had many a good time with John, we were friends since the mid 80s and hunted and trained dogs together, and fished for many years..

John Loved my father and spent many weekends at my parents home just shooting the breeze with my dad and loving all the food my mom cooked, we got out of touch for a while which often happens when family life changes things and just recently started to talk more this summer.


I am stunned at this news and shocked and really just cant think of any more to say at this point..Except that it is a terrible loss, To Jess and John Jr..May god be with you at this time, My prayers are with you both
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Old 09-23-2007, 06:29 PM   #14
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One more at Nelsons B&T October 2005
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Old 09-23-2007, 06:34 PM   #15
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Here is a picture of what John was all about,
A few years ago at the Mass show show John gave this lure to my daughter, Today when I told her that a close friend had died, a friend who gave her the pink lure she said Hab's !!! She remembered! As did everyone who ever met him..................
VB
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Old 09-23-2007, 06:46 PM   #16
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I had never met John until the Friday of this years RISSA show. I was working the CT Surfcasters booth and was able to get in before the crowds. Being a respectable plug ho, my first stop before doors opened was at John's booth, I introduced myself and we both noted how funny it is when you meet someone through the internet, that you get a little weird feeling the first time you meet in person, because you think you know the guy but you really don't. He was kind enough to let me rummage through his stuff and I picked out a couple of jointed 40's. when I reached for the cash I realized that I had forgotten to hit the ATM, not really knowing me from Adam he held the plugs for a few hours until my shift at the CSA was over, he also introduced me to Mr Pond which was an honor. A real nice guy, that's who John was.
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Old 09-23-2007, 06:46 PM   #17
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He did the same for my daughter as well Peter,
and she was shocked when I told her the sad news

While fishing last night I tossed a white habs needle, his favorite.
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Old 09-23-2007, 06:47 PM   #18
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John was a hard worker. I would call him around 3:00 in the afternoon sometimes during the winter,
and he would always welcome the break.

We would talk hunting and fishing, but his main concern was always
how you were doing, and talk of concerns for others on the site.

A good man, who would always return a favor two fold.

" Choose Life "
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Old 09-23-2007, 07:24 PM   #19
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Here is a Hab's / Tattoo plug that has gone wild!
VB
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Old 09-23-2007, 07:26 PM   #20
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Some more friends of John.
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Old 09-23-2007, 09:44 PM   #21
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this is going to be tough

i met john @ a local pond in smithfield, testing some wood 10 years ago

come to find out, he lived 2 miles away from me. Times spent in the habratory will never be forgotten, whether it was talking about plugs, family, friends or life in general. A man with a heart the size of the atlantic...he would go the extra mile for those he cared for and those he did not even know.
When my son was born almost 3 years ago, john gave me a plug (that was not produced) and told me that this would be for my son (james)someday when he hit the surf. My son loved to see john. I remember one day when my son was starting to get active, he would pull on johns moustache....things like that i will remember forever.

interesting that decksweeper and i had doubles this morning, he on a pencil and i on a rascal...and i remember saying to Mark that its amazing how special habs plugs really are, this is after nothing was going on @ first light. Put the plugs on and things came to life.

John, you were a great man

May your line stay tight and your drag sing forever

i will miss you my friend

rest in peace
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Old 09-24-2007, 04:39 AM   #22
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One of the funniest things I ever heard was Bassmaster and John sitting together at one of the MSBA meetings talking to each other while Basmaster was doing a perfect imitation of Hab's voice. It was so good it was scary and they went on like this for ten minutes with neither one cracking a smile and went on in an inteligent conversation about the value of needlefish in bass fishing. It was Hab's talking to himself and I almost pissed my pants laughing so hard while they just went on deadpan. Maybe you had to be there but John just enjoyed the sh!t out of it, he didn't get mad, he just went along with it answering every question and offering his opinion. It would have made a great video on You Tube.

Why even try.........
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Old 09-24-2007, 05:57 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slipknot View Post
He did the same for my daughter as well Peter,
and she was shocked when I told her the sad news
yup my daughters too . class act

they call me clem
clem smith jones
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Old 09-24-2007, 06:38 AM   #24
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Thoughts and prayers going out to his family. Such a tragic loss.
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Old 09-24-2007, 07:25 AM   #25
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Last year at the Connecticut Surfcasters X-Mas party, my little brother won a Habs hat and needle in the raffle. John was at the party and I suggested to my little brother that he have his hat signed. So my little brother wals over to Habs and asks if he would mind signing his hat. Habs goes" Why the hell would you want me to sign anything??!!" His table exploded with laughs, as he signed the hat....... RIP John, You will be missed.

"The delight of one, when another lands a fish, is genuine and spontaneous, and if one were to philosophize, the conclusion would be that world unity might be brought about with little difficulty or delay if all men could go fishing together."
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Old 09-24-2007, 07:29 AM   #26
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John and I had several talks, with my daughters hearing loss we shared a common issue. He listened and helped me to deal with it. John was very genuine and showed he cared for his fellow man..I fished a needle and thought of the advice he had given me....

Used hard and put away dirty....
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Old 09-24-2007, 07:35 AM   #27
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Met habs first at Capt. Don's a bunch of years back. Saw the red explorer around, so knew him w/o knowing him. I had a few non-habs plugs in my hands and he said "Why the hell are you buying that stuff?" Just for that, I liked him immediately, and was glad to know him when I ran into him at the shows or fishing over the last few years...

IMHO he revolutionized the plug making industry, with top quality components and finishes. Probably one of the first plugs you could buy w/o cutting off the hooks! T

Bryan

Originally Posted by #^&#^&#^&#^&#^&#^&#^&#^&#^&#^&#^&
"For once I agree with Spence. UGH. I just hope I don't get the urge to go start buying armani suits to wear in my shop"
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Old 09-24-2007, 07:42 AM   #28
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In addition to being a friend to me, I will remember John as a man of vision and determination. I met John in the early 90’s through Roy Brouwer when John’s lure making business was in its infancy. On many occasions, John would come by Roy’s shop with a few of his creations. As if they were some kind of secret contraband, John would whip out one of his needlefish and briefly flash it to us, which always inspired laughter amongst the three of us. Of course he was hoping we would oblige him and beg for a second look at the creation (which we always did) while he sought feedback on what he was doing.

From the beginning, John’s stated goal was to create the best line of wooden fishing lures possible. He frequently dealt with failure as we would return some of his early prototypes to him with cracked bodies and bubbled paint. What amazed me the most was his resiliency and how he dealt with early failure in hopes of someday achieving success with his lure making business. Several years ago I was speaking with him and mentioned that I still had a bunch of the early 90’s prototypes to which he responded, “Burn them, they’re an embarrassment.” I think they were sold in a yard sale a few years ago. Sadly, they’re priceless items now. Time went on and you guys know the rest of the story....his goals were realized and he became a renowned craftsman.

Second to being a great friend and family man, John deserves a great deal of credit for his achievements as a business owner. More specifically, the resurgence in popularity of wooden fishing lures came in no small part thanks to John; He helped spark a rebirth in what had become a lost art among the fishing community. In my mind, he was this generation’s Stan Gibbs.

Last edited by Back Beach; 09-24-2007 at 01:13 PM..

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Old 09-24-2007, 07:42 AM   #29
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Smile

one memory i can't help but keep thinking about...

we're all at one of the fishing shows (MSBA I think) and Habs is ribbing Mr. Aquaskinz ... "hey weewee, let's head on over to Kadir's felafel stand" (the Aquaskinz booth). he was funny that way.

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Old 09-24-2007, 07:53 AM   #30
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Great Year

Quote:
Originally Posted by tattoobob View Post
And the November BI Crew should remember this one

I remember that rock well,,, That was just one of the many great years we have had out there,,,,

As Joe the plumber told the story of Habs dragging that fish on the beach in another thread,,, I will never forget him dragging that thing towards me and the way he pulled it off like only John could. ... It was classic....

Thanks Habs
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