History of Heddon Fishing Lures & Vintage Collectible Tackle

The Enduring Quality Of Vintage Heddon Lures

The Heddon Company can be traced back to the late 1800s and lure designer James Heddon who was originally a beekeeper. It has been told that Heddon was waiting for his friend at Old Mill Pond, so that the two could go fishing together, when he threw a carved plug sized piece of wood into the water. A bass hit the plug, which surprised the beekeeper and gave him an idea for a new type of bait.

A year later, Heddon had created the Dowagiac Casting lure, which is a topwater bait design and the beekeeper's first official lure. The Heddon Company was established in 1902 with the lure innovator carving his fish tempting devices by hand at his kitchen table.

The Heddon Company signed with a Canadian sales supplier during 1910 and added a factory in Dowagiac, Michigan. Unfortunately, James Heddon died in 1911, but his sons, Will and Charles, were inspired to continue the fishing equipment business and helped it become an industry giant.

The Heddon lure brand continued to grow and by 1950, the company was making more than 12,000 lures every day. During these years, Heddon also produced reels, rods and other general fishing equipment.

In 1955, the Heddon boys sold the business to the Murchinson family due to challenging competition from other companies and a desire to leave the industry while their company was still valuable. The Heddon Company was purchased by a number of other owners before it ended up with EBSCO. Fortunately, the current owners of Heddon have continued to sell lures under the original names such as Meadow Mouse, River Runt and Lucky 13. In fact, Heddon lures have been imitated many times by other lure companies who have made slight changes to avoid patent infringements.

The first officially marketed lure by the Heddon Company was the Dowagiac Casting Bait. The lure is known by the nickname Slopenose due to the device's blue slanted nose. Furthermore, the lure features a white body and two hooks. Fishermen will find that this classic lure is still a deadly fish temptation.

Another popular lure for collectors to add to their tackle boxes is the Heddon Dowagiac Killer, which was introduced around 1902. This lure was produced in several different styles and fishing lure collectors can still locate the classic models. Anglers will know that they have come across an original version when they spy the single nose propeller since newer versions were constructed with a propeller at the nose and the tail. Paint colors for the Dowagiac Killer include white, yellow and silver.

The Heddon Company began manufacturing their lures with greater detail beginning in 1910. Consequently, collectors will appreciate the craftsmanship of lures such as the Dowagiac Wooden Minnow. The minnow was enhanced with hand-painted gills and a green crackle pattern finish. Additionally, the realistic eyes add to the lure's quality, and the spinners included on the nose and tail will tempt bass and pickerel along with other fish species.

Anglers who collect antique fishing equipment will be interested in the Heddon Baby Dowagiac Minnow. This unique lure is painted moss green with yellow spots that have a dark grey center. Furthermore, a propeller is included to disturb the water and attract the notice of fish while the three treble hooks will contain a caught fish effectively.

The Wiggle King lure was placed on the market in 1918 with three lethal treble hooks. The plug is painted bright green and includes yellowish green spots. The success of this lure encouraged new designs including the Lucky 13 and the Basser. Moreover, vintage fishing lure collectors will appreciate adding a traditional Wiggle King lure to their bait collection.

In 1919, the Heddon Company introduced the Deep-O-Diver lure, which was produced with natural green scale paint. The lure features a pork rind attachment on the back of the fishing implement and a hook secured on the belly.

A unique lure for collectors of classic fishing equipment is Heddon's 210 Surface lure named the Bumble Bee. This lure is painted yellow with black stripes that designers cleverly blurred to create a realistic bee look. The fish enticing device was sold during the 1920s and includes a lake debris avoiding lip along with two fish snaring hooks.

The Heddon Company began adding feathers and tail enhancements during the late 1920s and into the 30s. An early lure in this category is the flyrod Flaptail, which is a small wooden lure with hand-tied feathers. Persistent lure collectors may be able to locate the antique lure with the feathers still attached, but these collectibles are rare. Additionally, the fishing device can be recognized by its metal fluttering tail and red head along with its white body. The lure has yellow eyes with black pupils and features one hook on its belly.

Around 1923, the Wilder-Dilg lures appeared on the market. The lure was given its name after two notable fly fishermen, B.F.Wilder and Bill Dilg. Fishermen who collect antique fishing devices may be able to find this traditional lure with the original fishing instructions. The lure is predominantly red including the base and feather tail. Furthermore, the lure includes a yellow eye and feather highlight.

During the 1930s, the famous lure company sold the Heddon River Runt, which was the precursor to the company's common plastic fish tempting device known as River Runt Spooks. Collectors will appreciate having the original lure in their collection and can identify the lure by the unique rainbow paint color called Dace, which is also defined as a small fish. The lure includes a realistic scaling pattern and yellow glass eyes along with two fish grasping treble hooks.

The Heddon Company continued producing its popular Dowagiac Minnow lure into the 1950s, and collectors will have a valuable addition to their tackle box when they find this lure. The classic fishing implement includes a white body with eye-catching red details around the painted brown eye and at the tail. Furthermore, the lure features five hooks and propellers at the nose and tail.

A vintage fishing lure collection would not be complete without a number of classic Heddon models. Moreover, the enduring styles and dependable fish attracting designs make Heddon lures a solid investment.