No its not a nickname for a sleazy fishing buddy. Its a steelhead bait developed by Dave Richey and his brother George. This Record Eagle article could be considered NSFW but only if your minds reside firmly in the gutter.
Vaseline balls were born in a motel room 40 years ago. What's that, you ask? Vaseline balls? Most people have never heard of them, but many years ago (December 1975) I did a feature story for Sports Afield magazine on the idea after we had kept it a secret for 10 years. Here's how to make them.
Buy several closed-cell kitchen sponges at a grocery store, and buy orange, pink, red and/or a reddish-yellow. Green produced a few fish for me. Buy a small jar of Vaseline petroleum jelly, and visit a drug store to buy a small bottle of anise oil (not anise extract. We also added a few drops of sperm oil. Why? Who knows? I guess because we had some at the time.