When I heard that John Haberek (a.k.a. Hab’s) “Junior” was coming back to Surf Day I was psyched! It was my pleasure to be friends with John’s father, John Senior. John Sr. was one of the best plugbuilders of his time and he was out there really before all the present day builders inundated and flooded the market. His claim to fame was really the needle fish. Some true giants were taken on his big needle. One shining example was the 60 pounder that “Iron” Mike Everin caught back in 2003 on Hab’s big 3 1/2 ounce needle. When I was trying to get my hands on some the only way I could get them was to get them while I was up fishing in Rhode Island. And that was only if I was extremely lucky!
As John Sr. continued to develop his product line he began to branch out and experiment with new ideas. I was very fortunate to have a friendship with John , he and I would periodically have long phone conversations about many things striper related. Of course we talked big bass and at the time we had those great bunker-bass blitzes, John was fascinated but he never accepted my invite to come down to Jersey to run and gun a bit. I got the impression that he wasn’t into the crowds. Many times he talked about being out in his tin boat chasing bass and testing lures. Anyway he would occasionally send me a box of pencils to prototype for him, it was fun. He loved to laugh and tell jokes, right down my alley.
It was an unbelievable day in September of 2007, I remember it like it was yesterday when I got the call that John had passed in his sleep. I actually cursed the caller for a bad attempt at humor. I was mortified to say the least. He went way way before his time and he went without notice. He left behind a beautiful wife, who’s heart was broken, and John Jr. John Jr. is deaf. He is one of the nicest and funniest people, I love his spirit, it is awesome, great sense of humor, outstanding!! Anyway he was not real tight to the lure building part of his fathers passion and after Sr. passed Jr. had the extremely difficult job of trying to put the pieces back together. With a lot of work and a lot of help from family friends, John Jr. went into the lure building, doing his best to walk in his fathers footsteps. I thought he did very good with it, he was a better painter than his father was, but it just wasn’t Juniors passion and his interest waned.
This year at Surf Day Jr. is going to sell off the rest of his father’s remaining stock. He is going to sell each lure, real collector stuff. This is wild!! Good going Jr.!! He is going to give certificates of authenticity with each lure. I wish I had rolls of cash to spend! What I would really like is what Sr. and I were talking about just before the end. I told him I really wanted him to make me a flaptail and we were working on one that I never received. I occasionally ask Jr. if he ever sees one laying around the shop somewhere. It’s cool because if I don’t get one at least I have the pleasure of thinking about Sr. every time I see one some where.
So go to Surf Day get one of the last Hab Sr. lures left on the planet. And hopefully Jr. will build again….