The YPSI Minnow is a long 2-prop wood lure that was made in Nappanee, Indiana during the 1930s. The lure was made by J.O. Kantz, a lawyer in Nappanee. There were YPSI minnows made in Ypsilanti, Michigan and Hillsdale, Michigan as well. This YPSI Lure Brochure shows the variety of lures the company offered. The A&W lure is a small, plastic topwater bait with two semi-weedless hooks out the back.
Al’s Spec Baits were manufactured by Albert Repogle at 318 Franklin Street, Michigan City, Indiana. These old wooden floating lures were from the early 1930s and are usually speckled without any sort of eyes. The American Bait Company of Mooresville made small fly rod lures.
The 3″ wood B-W Spinner was produced by the Bill Watters Bait Company in Jasonville, Indiana. The Manitou Minnow was made during the early 1900’s in Rochester, IN. This lure came with its own wrench for quick assembly. The Manitou Minnow is one of the most collectible Indiana baits. The Manitou Minnow came in 4 colors, but the green/yellow one pictures seems to be the most common color. The four colors offered were: solid red, dark green with yellow body, dark green with white body, pale green with white belly. This Lure Brochure came with the box.
The Slo-Poke is a floating lure designed to look like a frog and the Bass Hunter is a plastic crayfish type lure. This Slo-Poke Lure Pamphlet shows the sizes and colors offered by the Barbee Bait Company.
The Bauman Harnish rubber mouse lure came in this early 2 piece black cardboard box, then later in a red box with a plastic top. Most examples found in the field are missing the legs and / or the tail.
The Bingo Lure is a spoon type lure from Charlestown, Indiana. The Bite-Em Bate Company or Bite-Em Bait Company made wooden fishing lures beginning around 1917. This small lure company started in Warsaw, Indiana then later moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana. Click here for more information on Bite’ Ems.
The small metal Brafford lure was made in Indianapolis. It has a paper-like “tail” attached to the hook and a feather is used to hide the hook itself. The Black Ace Lure was made by R.D. Suman & Company in Richmond, Indiana. Looking at the Carter’s Bestever you see a striking similarity in body style. Every Black Ace I’ve found has been unfinished like the one in this picture. In 2016 I received a call from Melvin House, who was the son of the owner of R.D. Suman, and discovered the following information. The company was started by Melvin’s father (Ronald House) and grandfather (Everet Gilbert). They made Snap Gauges as their primary business and the fishing lures were just a side hobby. “R.D.” are Ronald’s initials and “Suman” is the name from the other side of Ronald’s family. Ronald divorced his wife, moved to Tennessee and the company was sold, leaving many empty boxes and unfinished baits and those are the unfinished baits we see for sale now. The company never sold unfinished baits and Melvin remembers them being painted black, black/white, and red/white. The family used to spend a lot of time in Canada fishing at a cabin and they always took a stock of lures that they sold to bait companies there. The company also made metal spoon baits.
The Brandel Double B lure unscrews, and according to this pamphlet that came with the box, a frog, minnow or worm can be inserted inside the lure. Notice that the name of the company is spelled “Brandel” on the box, but spelled “Brendel” on the box pamphlet. Budd’s Baits come in many different forms, but most are small-sized bass and panfish lures.
The Busse’s Fish and Tackle Feathered Minnow is a small spoon with a feathered hook tail. It appears to be from the 1950s-1960s based on the 3-letter state abbreviation on the package.
The Carter’s Bestever Bait was made in Indianapolis, Indiana. This vintage wooden lure came in 8 sizes ranging from a 1 1/4″ fly rod size all the way up to a 5 1/2″ muskie size. The Carter Company started sometime around 1913. The American Display Company bought Carter in 1932 and the lures were then labeled as Dunks lures. The Dunk’s version has glass eyes. This very old Lure Brochure shows some of the lures, reels, and other items offered by Dunks / Carter.
The CEZ Shurlur was manufactured in Garrett, IN by brothers Harry Rosenberry and Walter (W.T.) Rosenberry, according to a conversation I had with Harry’s son Larry in 2016. The grandfather, Frank C, helped finance the company. The brothers sold painted lure bodies, without hardware, to the Creek Chub Bait Company. These lures were made under the Rosenberry Manufacturing Company name. They also sold fully finished lures to the public under the Garrett Manufacturing Company name. Some of the boxes are labeled “Rosenberry, Baits of Distinction”. The Champion Bait Manufacturing Company of South Bend, IN made the Super Wabbler lure. This Champion Bait Box Insert describes how to use the lure.
The Clark’s Make ‘Em Bite Bait was made by the Clark Brothers of LaPorte, IN during the 1920s. The Cooks Plugs were manufactured by the F.W. Cook Company in Evansville, Indiana. The lures are shaped like beer bottles and they are made of plastic.
The Creek Chub Bait Company (CCBC) was located in Garrett, Indiana, started by three founders: George Schultress, Carl Heinzerling and Henry Dills. The company produced some of the highest quality lures with the best hardware and paint available. Click here for more information on Creek Chub Baits.
This old mechanical Indiana lure was manufactured in the 1930’s by T&M Darby or M.L. Darby. The boxes are printed with T&M Darby, but the advertisements refer to M.L. Darby. The hooks on this hoosier – made fishing lure rotate and can be “set” into 2 small holes in the body of the lure. When a fish grabs the lure and pushes down on the 2 metal weed guards, a spring is activated, causing the hooks to spring out of the body!
The Dickens Bait Company started making lures sometime around 1916 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Their first lure, the Liar Convertible Minnow (also called the Duplex Darter) features a convertible hook pin that allows the front hook to be removed and re-inserted on the opposite side of the lure. This system allows the lure to be used as a top water lure with one setting or an underwater diving lure with the other setting.
The Dickens Bait Company also made a small 1 1/2″ wooden lure called the Weedless Wonder. This old lure has a back hook that’s covered with a feather.
Donald Myers Crazy Loons came in at least 6 different colors. The Honey Bee Lure Was made by Ed Lasek’s Tackle Box Baits and was located at 1319 Locust Drive, Columbus, IN. This lure is often misidentified as a Creek Chub Prototype lure.
The Falls City Bait Company was from Kentucky, not Indiana, but I’ve included it because of the Doodlebug lure they made. This same Doodlebug was made by 2 manufacturers from Indiana: Jos Doodlebug and Homarth. The Falls City version has “Brown” stamped on the lip for the original owner Fred Brown.
The Fire Lite Lightning Bug Lure was manufactured in Gosport, Indiana. The lure can be unscrewed and filled with lightning bugs!
Fisher Motors made lures in the 1960s in Muncie, IN. Louis Fisher, the owner of Fisher Motors was an avid Musky fisherman. Pat Floyd made this Floyd’s Buzzer and many other lures from his home in Royal Center. I stopped by his house many times as I traveled to Northern Indiana and bought lures directly from Pat. He showed me how made the lures in his small garage.
The patent for this lure was sold to Blue Fox, but the Blue Fox lures didn’t perform as well as the original Floyd’s buzzer because heavier materials were used that dragged the bait down into the weeds. At some point Hildebrandt bought the rights to the Floyd’s Buzzer, but the Hildebrandt version was cheap and didn’t perform well at all. The Floyd’s Buzzer is still my ALL-TIME FAVORITE FISHING LURE and Pat was the only one who made it the right way!
Fromme’s Weed Hopper was made in Jasper, Indiana in the 1960’s. The company made several lures similar to the one shown below.