The Padre Island Bait Company, which also goes by its initials of PICO, began in 1933. Originally, the tackle enterprise was called the Nichols Bait Company after founder Fred Nichols who carved his lures by hand. In fact, his red cedar shrimp creations along with a number of other lures are greatly desired by vintage lure collectors.
Around 1936, the company name changed to the Padre Island Bait Company. Also, the tackle business moved its production to San Antonio and became known for its popular Pico Perch lure in addition to the Pico Swimmin' Minnow. Furthermore, these lures have been credited with transforming the sport of saltwater fishing.
Pico changed its manufacturing process during the 1950s and did not build its own lure bases. The company instead purchased bases from other producers and added its own hooks, paint patterns and packaging.
Collectors may come across an original Fred Nichols lure today such as the Jumbo Killer lure, which was sold during the 1940s. The lure is painted white with the tail end covered in bright red. Additionally, the lure is constructed with three treble hooks. One is set at the nose and two are located along the underside of the lure.
Pico lures that are of interest to collectors include the Coach Dog lure. This lure is heavily detailed and was produced to look like a small fish with realistic touches such as green speckled coloring that includes yellow and red highlights along its belly. The lure includes two hooks along with a metal eye for the fishing line. Also, the painted yellow eyes are sure to gain the attention of numerous fish.
Another collectible fish attraction is the Mullet Lure, which mimics a small tasty minnow. The lure's details include gills and scale-pattern paint in a realistic silver shade along with yellow painted eyes and a tail.
The company constructed the Pico Chugnick lure in a minnow design. The fish enticement is painted in a silver scale pattern. Furthermore, the manufacturer coated the lure's head and tail in scarlet with yellow eye detailing. The lure is equipped with a treble hook at the tail while another is set in the belly. Additionally, the lure is three and a quarter inches long and includes a noise making rattle. The lure's tail was built without added weight, which is a feature that forces the lure to slide through the water horizontally.
The Pico Lil Pop lure was constructed in a length of two and a half inches. Additionally, the fishing attraction can be found painted in varying shades of green stripes along with a colorful tail in yellow and red, which will surely catch the eye of a large fish while one of the two treble hooks will keep it on the line.
A unique vintage Pop lure for collectors to watch for is the clear edition. The lure is completely transparent and features black print that marks the lure as a Pico Lil Popper. The lure is built to attract fish by the additional water movement the clear lure presents. Moreover, this piece of fishing equipment has two treble hooks and will keep a nice big fish secured until it reaches the angler.
Collectors will be interested in adding the Pico Plunger lure to their tackle displays. The wood fishing implement is painted dark and light green in a scale pattern. Additional enhancements include glass eyes along with a red mouth and gills.
Pico lures have hooked fish consistently out on the lake, in a stream or behind a boat. Therefore, collectors of classic Pico lures will be adding a vintage item to their tackle box that has surely caught its share of fish.