Miscellaneous Tackle Companies

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Minnie the Swimmer, Prescott, Wis.

This early rubber Minnoe the Swimmer minnow dates to about 1934 and features an old-style box swivel attachment. The bait was manufactured by Druley's Research Products and advertised as a top bass and trout enticer. The airbrushed finish on the lure is beautiful, as is the unusual box. Druley's Research was in Wisconsin.

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Spoonjack Minnow, Muskegon, Mich.

The Muskegon Spoonjack  Minnow lures were sold in the late teens and early 1920s and are linked to famous luremakers Jacob Hansen and Adolph Arntz. These baits had distinct, long-shanked trebles, odd single props and wonderful swirl paint jobs. Nothing on this lure is like anything elsewhere. Muskegon Spoonjack lures are rare.

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Myopic Minnow, Kono Manufacturing 

 This unique wooden lure was made in the early 50s by Kono Manufacturing, based at the time at Naval Base, S.C., near Beaufort. The novelty baits were given away to opticians and others who did business with the company, which made eyeglass frames, goggles and other eye products. This mint Myopic Minnow is shown with a new-in-box pair of Kono Manufacturing Co. goggles.

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Muskie Duck, Fox Lake, Illinois

The unique soft-rubber Muskie Duck lure is from the 1940s and was made by Chain-O-Lakes Product Engineering Co. as a surface bait for Muskie, or musky. The   lure has hooks that spring out to the side upon strike, and the belly has a four-bladed paddle wheel to simulate paddling feet during retrieve. 

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Nappanee Ypsi, Indiana

  A.H. Kaufman of Nappanee, Indiana, manufactured these Nappanee Ypsi lures surface baits in the 1930s. This example is in aluminum finish and has cup rigs and tiny glass eyes. Some believe this is a forerunner to South Bend's later "Nipididee" lures that were quite similar. Kaufman ran an auto repair garage.

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Nichols Shrimp Lures, Texas

  Fred Nichols of Corpus Christi, Texas, manufactured an effective line of wood and plastic Nichols Shrimp lures in the 1940s. This "Shrimp Picture box" was used in the 1940s for several lures, including the pictured Jumbo Killer, which the endflap markings reveal is the proper lure for this artsy box.

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 Nifty Minne, Minneapolis, Minn.

  This exquisite glass minnow tube was  marketed by Joeseph Ness of Minnesota around 1911 and patented Dec. 9, 1913. The Nifty Minne, sometimes called Niftie Minnie, has one of the most exquisite picture boxes ever made. The Nifty Minnie is made of celluloid with silver fittings and screws, and the Nifty Minnie name is engraved on the props.   

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 Nifty Minne "intro box"

  This is an early, perhaps one-of-a-kind box for the Nifty Minne made in Minnesota. The carton is longer and more primitive than the box shown above, although the lure is the same.   Note that the drawing of the lure is very different from the standard box.

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 Nifty Minne paper flyer

  The box pamphlet for this interesting lure reveals that Nifty Minnie was made in several sizes and colors, including green and orange. I am unaware of any colors of this lure other than nickle silver, but we can always hope! i 

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Neon Fire Fly, Stillwater, Minn.

Little is known about this early pyralin lure, manufactured in the late 1920s or early 1930s by the St. Croix Bait Co. The clear nose of the Neon Fire Fly is filled with  about two ounces of liquid mercury to make the lure glow, which it undoubtedly did.  I doubt many of these lures survived, and I hope, for the environment's sake, that not too many were made! Neon Firefly lures are unique.

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North Channel Minnow, Detroit

 North Channel Minnows are among the nation's earliest baits, dating to around 1903. They were made by the Detroit Bait Manufacturing Company and can be found in three and five-hook versions. The words "North Channel" are stenciled on the sides of this primitive bait.  If you find a North Channel Minnow in a box, call me, collect!

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Ol Skipper, Griffin, Ga.

 These wooden lures were made in large quantities in the 40s and early 50s by Wynne Precision Co. of Griffin, Ga. This bait is the Ol Skipper Lucky Tail Wobbler. Note the cardboard form to hold the lure, along with abundant paperwork and an attractive green box.  These lures are easy to identify with the name is stamped on the diving lip.

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Ole Krok,  South Bend, Indiana

 This squared off plug was made in the 1940s by Roy L. Kimble & Sons Bait Co. of South Bend, Indiana. A weight in the tail caused the plunker-type lure to float vertically when at rest. The lure also came in white/black, solid black and all yellow.  The company was short-lived, and likely existed in the maker's home, perhaps aided by labor form the sons. This example was acquired from a visitor to this website.  

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Paulson Combination Minnow, Illinois

Fred Paulson of Geneva, Illinois, made this unique, multi-position "Combination Minnow" in the late teens. The Paulson Combination Minnow features a double diving lip attaches with an axle, screw and bolt to loosen it, allowing adjustments to create a dozen or more different actions. The huge instruction flyer was typed on an early typewriter. The wooden lure has glass eyes. 

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Pachner & Koller, Chicago 

P & K, or Pachner & Koller, made a line of innovative, animated plastic lures in the early to late 1940s. The Whirlaway is one of the more unusual ones, and it came in its own picture box. Other P & K lures, like the Mouse and Crab, came in a generic black and red box. Nobody gets too excited about these lures, but they're part of fishing history nonetheless.  

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Pemberton's Bug Bait, Florida 

Uz. C. Pemberton and Sons of Seffner, Fla., made these attractive Pemberton Bug Bait lures briefly in the 1920s. The no-eyed Pemberton Bug baits have wonderful airbrushed paint patterns. The distinct tail hook has a pork-rind attachment welded to the shaft. A small cache of these lures, many new-in-boxes, surfaced a few years ago.  I doubt any more Pemberton lures will turn up.

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The Pelican, South Bend, Indiana

This no-eyed diving bait was made in the 1930s by International Tackle Company of South Bend. The cheaply made baits typically are found in equally uncreative cardboard "endflap" boxes. Other colors include black and white, and red and white.

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Jim Pfeffer lures, Orlando, Florida

Jim Pfeffer was known for his Orlando Shiner lures, the Top Shiner and other folky, hand-painted wooden lures from the 40s and 50s. Jim Pfeffer lures came in a paper envelope with the Jim Pfeffer Orlando Shiner name on them. Sometimes these envelopes have notations in pencil - made by Jim Pfeffer himself!  The Pfeffer Sunfish is the rarest Pfeffer.

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 Porter Bait Co., Daytona Beach, Fla.

Active in the 1940s and 1950s, Porter Bait Company was a popular maker of wooden bass and saltwater baits. Porter Bait Company lures often came in attractive black box, This Porter lure is called the Duz Biz and resembles a Lucky 13 by Heddon. Note the unique "target" paint job used for eyes, which also appears on the belly of some Porter products.  

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Pyralin Ball Bait, Chicago

This early 1920s spinner features a nipple-like rubber cup and a beautifully crafted pyralin spinner encircled in a German silver sleeve with "patent applied for" engraved in the metal. The loose paper label covers an older box label calling this unique lure the "Gold Ball Spinner." The maker of both was Progressive Tool & Manufacturing Co.  

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We Buy Antique Lures!

just a note here: I am always looking for Top-N-Bottom lures made by Jack Smithwick of Louisiana. TH

he Top-n-Bottom baits have no eyes or painted eyes and the box they are found in has an interesting graphic of a fish.