James Heddon & Son, James Heddon's Sons

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Here is a  wonderful array of early Heddon lures that were found in a basement in California. Most were never rigged with hooks because they were part of a salesman sample case used to show retailers the current line of Heddon fishing lures. They include Heddon 150 Dowagiac Minnows, Heddon Jointed Vamp lures, Tadpolly, Lucky 13, Heddon Vamp lures, Heddon Basser lures and Gamefisher baits.

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This is a Heddon 210 Surface lure in a special and rare color called bumble bee. From what I can tell this finish appeared intermittently over a short time frame in the 1920s, perhaps by special order. This Heddon 210 Surface lure came from a tackle box owned by a man who died near the end of World War II. The box was given to a relative, who taped it shut and didn't open it until 1995, when its contents were acquired for this collection.

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The Heddon Darting Zara was a takeoff on the pointy nosed Zaragossa. Both were tailored to bass fishing in Florida. This early L-rigged version dates to around 1928, when these interesting lures were introduced. Most Heddon Darting Zara lures are in the later two-piece hardware rigging. This one has a tiny metal pin in the joint of the nose. The red eye shadow is wonderful. The Zara Spook came along much later. Zara Spook lures are plastic while the Darting Zara is wood. Zaragossa lures are even rarer.

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Heddon flyrod lures came packaged in their own tiny boxes. This flyrod Flaptail is actually a miniature wooden lure, complete with metal flapping tail. Usually, these are found with the hand-tied feathers damaged or removed. The small "upleaping" bass box dates to the late 20s and into the 30s, and succeeded the "downleaping" bass boxes. This flyrod Flaptail inside is in mint condition.

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The Wilder-Dilg lures originated in 1923 and were named after B.F. Wilder and Bill Dilg, both note fly fishermen. This is the "introductory" box with no leaping bass logo. The larger Wilder Dilgs came in boxes with portraits of famous anglers on their covers. The flyer in the box includes fishing instructions. The Wilder-Dilg caught fish.

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This trout sized Wilder-Dilg is in the more common and traditional downleaping bass box from the 1920s. These tiny boxes sometimes turn up in tackle boxes filled with swivels, split shot or other small items. Never overlook a tiny box.

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Here are three Heddon Wilder-Dilg lures all new in their original boxes. The Wilder-Dilg lure came in 12 patterns and each was named after a famous angler who was also a friend of the Heddon family. They included Capt. Samson, Mannfield's Coaxer, Kemper's Charge, Irvin Cobb, Wilder's Fancy, Peet's Choice, Zane Grey, Gifford Pinchot, Brann's Glory, Dilg's own and Bob Davis. 

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Here is a gorgeous new in box (including an extra Wilder-Dilg lure) Gifford Pinchot flyrod lure. This is the special "intro box" that each of the 12 versions was first offered in. Although most boxes have a portrait of the angler on the top, this is the only one of the 12 that, for some unknown reason, has no mugshot! Maybe Gifford Pinchot didn't like to have his picture taken. 

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Here is another Wilder-Dilg box with the No. 4 Kemper's Charge lure inside, along with an extra lure. It would be a challenge to assemble all 12 of these beautiful early boxes. 

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The Heddon Bass Bug and Heddon Baby Bass Bug came out in the 1920s in beautiful little downleaping bass boxes. The four mint specimens shown here were acquired from a visitor to this website, and include  No. 56 Chadwick's Sunbeam, No. 57 Ozark Ripley, No. 52 Brann's Ranger and No. 59 Clark's Fancy. These baits are like miniature works of art, and they caught fish too. Baby Bass Bug lures are harder to find than the regular Heddon Bass Bug.

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Far from the tiny flyrod Heddon Bass Bug boxes are the bigger cartons made for Heddon's musky baits. This "Muskiteer Vamp," as the endflap says, is a big bait. The downleaping bass box with the end label printed on the top is referred to as the "stretch" box. The lure is finished in Natural Scale, one of Heddon's prettiest colors. The Heddon Vamp is a fine lure and the Musky Vamp was made for many years.

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This jointed Giant Vamp, or Great Vamp, is finished in Allen Stripey finish, characterized by the red head tapering to a long side stripe on each side. The "Man Holding Bass" style box for this Giant Vamp dates this piece to the late 1930s. This bait has Heddon toilet seat hardware, typical of that era.

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This is a 110 series glass-eyed Heddon River Runt, the forerunner of the common plastic lures called River Runt Spooks. This color is called Dace, and the red bordered upleaping bass box dates this minty example to the early or mid-1930s. This was a gift from a friend in Arizona.

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The Heddon Lucky 13, introduced around 1920, was a fixture in Heddon's product line well into the 1960s. This glass eyed example finished in Perch Scale dates to the mid-1930s. This Lucky 13 has two-piece hook hardware and comes in a Man Holding Bass box, or "Brush Box," named after the man on the cover.

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The later Heddon baits made into the 1950s were packaged in this style box with the bass leaping up, and the muted rectangle Heddon logo. These pretty boxes are easy to find, but still desirable. The tag indicates this King Basser lure was packaged in October 1952 by the E.K. Tryon Co. for the U.S. Navy. The King Basser was also made in a bass size. 

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The  is another example of the later Heddon "banner box" from the 1950s. Inside is a beautiful, unfished No. 150 Dowagiac Minnow with five hooks. Note that this later version has painted eyes (not glass) and the later "surface rig" hook hardware. The box is correctly marked 150 RET (stands for Red Eyes & Tail) and was a gift to this collection from a kind visitor who happened across this website.   

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This Tadpolly lure from the 1920s is finished in Bar Perch, one of Heddon's early colors that vanished in the late 1920s. We found this Tadpolly in a junk shop while lure-hunting in central Maine. This is my all-time favorite lure color. If you think this bait is pretty, put on your sunglasses and enter the next page.

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I am always interested in unusual colors and configurations of the Heddon Crazy Crawler, Heddon 150 Dowagiac Minnow, Heddon Jointed Vamp lures, Tadpolly, Lucky 13, Heddon Vamp lures, Heddon Basser lures. Crazy Crawler and Gamefisher baits.