History of South Bend Fishing Lures


Vintage South Bend Fishing Lures Have A Long History

The South Bend Bait Company began around 1895 with inventor F.G. Worden manufacturing and patenting his initial lures out of his South Bend, Indiana home. Anglers familiar with vintage fishing equipment may recognize the lure creator's early inventions, which include the Buck Tail and Wooden Minnow lures. Moreover, the builder's buck tail addition to his fishing devices was an innovation that placed Worden in the same creative category as James Heddon and William Shakespeare.

Collectors of vintage fishing devices will be able to find lures on the market that were manufactured under the Worden name. For example, the Combination Minnow was introduced around 1903. This sturdy metal lure includes a tied tail hackle, spinner and two nice size treble hooks to keep a fish from flipping off.

Another vintage lure that will interest collectors is the Worden Wooden Minnow. It was available for purchase between 1903 and 1904. Additionally, it can be recognized by its five hook design. The minnow was painted a crackle green and includes Worden's specially designed spinner.

Prior to 1920, Worden had begun the South Bend Bait Company, which was known for its Oreno and Calmac trademark lures. The first lures in the Oreno line were constructed in a minnow body style and were sized appropriately for bass and trout. Additionally, the Oreno lures were in production for around 40 years.

Anglers can search for a number of vintage bait boxes when choosing to buy a classic lure such as the South Bend white box with blue print, the gold box with dark grey lettering and the tan box with dark brown characters. When collectors come across any of these boxes with a South Bend lure, they will surely have located an old piece of fishing equipment.

The South Bend Bait Company constructed the Surf Oreno beginning in the early teens and continued production until the middle of the 1920s. Lucky collectors may even find this vintage device with the original game fish lure pamphlet included in the box. Anglers who prefer to fish with traditional bait such as the Surf Oreno will be collecting a classic minnow lure with realistic glass eyes and spinners at the nose and tail end along with three hooks. Furthermore, the fish tempting device is painted dark green with a speckled yellow pattern.

Fishermen who are interested in traditional fishing lures will enjoy owning a vintage South Bend Woodpecker lure, which features a white base and red tip. This fishing mechanism was an early night fishing bait that included three treble hooks for ensnaring big fish.

The South Bend Combination Minnow was built with multiple features that include a red-dyed buck tail hackle, minnow body and spinner. Additionally, the body is painted white with green and orange spots.

In 1909, the South Bend Company attained a rare lure design from Professor Howe who was located in Manchester, Indiana. Howe's fish enticement was named a Vacuum Bait, which can be hard to find in good condition. However, when located in usable form, the lure is certainly unique. It is painted white with red lines to mimic gills. The lure has big glass eyes and its unusual triangular shape creates a fish attracting spray as it rides along the water's surface.

Sometime around 1916, the Shakespeare Company sold South Bend branded bait to fishermen. The classic Babe Oreno was one of these lures. Additionally, this fishing implement is eyeless and painted mustard yellow with orange and black. It features two treble hooks and was produced in the traditional minnow body style.

Around 1918, the Trout Oreno landed on the bait market. This fish enticing plug was produced in a large variety of colors including green with yellow spots, white with a blue head and bright red. The lure included one treble hook and collectors may be interested in owning several of these colorful lures.

During the 20s and into the middle of the 1930s, the South Bend Bait Company produced the Best-O-Luck lures, which were bright yellow and orange with green accents around the eyes. The lure is equipped with two hooks, and the nose has a water disrupting spinner for added fish attraction.

Another lure manufactured during this era was the Calmac Bug. This flyrod bait is bullet shaped and includes buck tail with a hook set in the base. The 1930s also saw the introduction of the Tease Oreno, which includes glass eyes and is painted in a yellow perch gloss. The lure features two treble hooks and black highlights around the eyes.

Later, in 1964 the company produced a wood model that they named the Bass Oreno lure. With a length of almost four inches, the lure is sure to tempt larger fish. The lure has a dark green back and a yellowish green underbelly. It features three treble lures, a painted eye and a metal tie-on for the fishing line.

South Bend's Fish-Obite lure is a striking vintage item for any collector to own. The lure has a black body with a white face and red nose. Furthermore, the bait's opossum styled face features a debris blocking lip and two hooks. It measures at almost three inches and is made of plastic.

Collectors will want to add the vintage Nip-I-Didee lure to their display of classic fishing devices. The lure was produced to tempt fish with its minnow appearance. Additionally, it features three hooks and spinners on both the nose and the tail. The lure has realistic eyes and is painted avocado green with white sides and colored paint flecks.

South Bend Bait Company's traditional Calmac Bass Bug lure belongs with anglers who collect classic bait. It's constructed to look like a large tasty bee with a yellow body, dark brown stripes and wings.

Vintage lure collectors have numerous options when adding South Bend lures to their tackle boxes and can locate classic models from the Worden, Oreno or South Bend brands. When collectors include a variety of lures that make up the company's history, they will be able to appreciate the endurance of early lures while enjoying the advances that fishing lure designers have created.