The Bite-Em Bait Company, Warsaw, Indiana

Bite-Em Bate lures are among the most colorful and sophisticated  of the many antique fishing lures that can be found.  Manufactured only briefly, from around 1917 into the early or mid-1920s, the Bite-Em Baits (or "Bates" as some boxes proclaimed) included the famous wooden revolving bait that rotated on an axis with the hook armature below. The earliest Bite-Ems had no eyes, while the later Wigglers often had wonderful  yellow "milky"  glass eyes. These are true classics.

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The Bite-Em revolving baits came in a dizzying array of wild color combinations. This red and white model is lipstick mint and is identical to the one  pictured on the box top. What's unusual about the papers in this box is that a full boxtop label is printed on one side of the flyer. Unfold it and the inside literature offers suggestions for fishing this classic.

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The Bite-Em Wiggler was a sleek, well-made lure that appeared early in in Bite-Em-Bate company's line. Popular in the late teens, the lure included a plated belly and a line tie re-enforced with the diamond-shaped stud that the company also used as a shape for its later logo. The flyer in this box notes that Bite-em also made bobbers and flyrod baits, as well as casting lines. Another wonderful picture box.

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The Bite-Em Wiggler's origins are a mystery, but it is likely Bite-Em Bait acquired the design - and perhaps the bodies - from an earlier company, U.S. Athletic Co. in nearby Chicago. This maroon Ketchall Wobbler box dates to the mid-teens. The lure has cup rigs and no dive lip, but is otherwise identical to the Wiggler pictured above. The color paperwork shows the Ketchall Wobber being offered in three finishes.

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The Bite Em Water Mole turns up in several body styles. This one, I'm told, is among the latest, dating to around 1922. The mole, I guess, was to imitate a tiny rodent. The wooden lure included a plated belly spoon similar to the one installed on the Wiggler lures. Water mole boxes are scarce, and so is the Bite-Em Bug box. If you find a Bite-Em Bug box, please contact me for an offer.

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This Bite-Em Water Mole has a slightly longer, and somewhat thinner, neck than the one above and is complete with a nice, clean box that says "patent pending." The color scheme of red, white and black is typical of Bite-Em's frequent use of three colors. Occasionally you'll see a Bite-Em lure with four colors.  There are several other body shapes for Water Moles out there with subtle variations.

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The flyrod sized Bite-Em Trout comes in one of the rarest of all Bite-Em boxes. This example was found in Florida and has a minty red and yellow flyrod mole inside.  Note the quarter beside this tiny box, showing its size.  There could be other flyrod Bite-Em Trout lures in special boxes out there, but this timy Mole is the only one I've seen. 

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Toward the end of the company's existence, a more generic box, without pictures of the lure, was used to sell the  Lipped Wiggler lures. The company's torpedo-like topwater baits also can be found in this rather plain, but still desirable, box. The lure in this box has milky yellow eyes like the early Expert lures and is finished in stunning Goldfish Scale, much like the nearby Creek Chub Bait Company used during the same era.  I'm unaware of any ties.

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The unusual Lipped Wiggler shown above re-appeared in the early to mid-1930s as a tack-eyed bait manufactured - at least according to this beautiful picture box - by the Shur Katch Bait Co. of Providence, Rhode Island. The Wenger Adjustable Wiggler  has a lip unquestionably identical to Bite-Em, and the box carried the Wenger patent number from Warsaw, Ind. Wenger Adjustable Wiggler boxes are nice!

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The Bite-Em Bug is one of the Bite Em Bait Company's most unusual lures, and its box is one of the harder ones to find. The tiny lure came in several variations that included the staple hardware and also simple screw-eye hardware. This one is a basic early model. The three-color versions are typical of this lure. 

We hope you enjoyed this section. I am extremely interested in buying other boxes including the Bite-Em Bug and the Bite-Em Pork Bait. Please contact me if you come across anything interesting!

E-mail mrlurebox at

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