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Old Minnesota Lure Companies


Scott M

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I do some antique lure collecting and part of my enjoyment of the hobby comes from learning about the history of the companies. When it comes time to display my lures (as I want to do but haven't gotten around to), I plan to display short paragraphs of history and anecdotes as well as the lures and/or models and color patterns. Minnesota, despite being a destination for anglers, having 10,000+ lakes, and many fish house, motor, and boat companies, has in my opinion, a less distinguished history in lure-making than other states (Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin).

Off the top of my head, I can think of

Paul Bunyan

Halik Co.

I believe there was an old spoon company in Minneapolis. Does anybody remember the name of it? Does anybody have any others worth looking into?

Thanks for any info!

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Aquaspoon company out of Minneapolis is what you were looking for. Another company nearby that had some neat stuff was the Prescott strip on spinners. Big article in the pioneer press about them last year around May. Check out Normark too. I believe that the guy qwas based out of Minnesota that imported them. Dig a bit and you may find something about the Mepps spinners as well. I believe they started coming back from France with the troops after WWII. Not really Minnesota made but good stories behind them. Lindy/little joe goes back to the 70's. Also look into some of the Decoy carvers from the area as they produced some limited quantities of lures as well. Look into the Minnesota antigue lure collectors club they would probably have alot of info. One of the largest private collectors in the state lives here in Forest lake and he is a fountain of knowledge regarding minnesota bait companies. If you ever run by the Gander store in Flake, look in the meeting room, a small part of this guys collection is displayed there. Good luck!

Tunrevir~ cool.gif

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Up here in Duluth there was a company called Weller that was just going out of business 20 + years ago when I moved up here. They specilized in downrigger gear and such, but I know (and have) a couple old lures of theres as well.

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Yeah, I should contact a few people with NFLCC (Nat'l Fishing Lures Collectors Club). I have a business card from the fellow in Forest Lake, I believe he's an attorney?

I've heard of Weller also. I have a Weller classic minnow, but that particular lure company was Sioux City, IA. Perhaps another Weller?

Mostly I'm interested in pre-WWII. But it is still nice to hear about other companies that have come along.

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My mom used to tie bucktail jigs for Rick-Jig tackle in Rainer MN back in the 60's and early 70's when I was a little kid. I remember hair all over the house.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello!

I am a lure collector and collect MN made lures. I have quite a few.

For being a land of 10,000 lakes, we didn't have to many early lure companies....

A few of the company (or lure) names:

The Scandanavian Bait Co

King Bait Co

K-Lur

Lazy Dazy

Lightning Lures

Paul Bunyan

Halik

Slo-Poke

Viking Bait and Novelty Co

Kast-A-Mino

Min-A-Rena

Selby Enterprises

Hoage

Lloyd (Pal)

Gene's Gem

Fisheretto

Ferocious Fin

10,000 Lakes

King Wiggler

Brainerd Bait Co

And more. These are the only ones I recall off the top of my head.

What other info did you need to know?

I am also in the process of building a website on these MN items.

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I have one for you:

Lake Region Lures

The medical company I work for (Lake Region Medical) started as a fishing lure mfg.

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Hammer Handle, How many of those companies reached the national stage? How old are those companies? I will be looking forward to checking out the website....

Thanks for the update.

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I believe most or all of the ones I mentioned were sold throughout the U.S.

Most of the ones I mentioned started before WWII also or slightly afterwards.

Are you looking at starting to collect these or are you just interested?

Most of these lures are not too expensive. But some, like the "Nifty Minne" and its box (from the 1915s) can be worth $1,000 to $3,000!

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Quote:

Are you looking at starting to collect these or are you just interested?


I've been collecting for a few years, but backed off a little bit as things have gotten more expensive and I've spent time doing other things. I appreciate the history as much as the lures so I'm just trying to get some information on MN companies.

My email is in my profile if you ever want to chat some more or direct me to your website in works...

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Chise - Weller was moved to Duluth back in the 80's before they folded (I think they folded anyways)...so same company, different ownership I believe.

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Or, could you be thinking of Marshall Wells Hardware in Duluth? They sold minnows and lures with their name on it (made by other companies). This was in the early 1900s.

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Lol...kind of ironic but I had family ties to both Weller and Marshall-Wells. My dad was involved in the move of Weller from Iowa to Duluth. Grandpa was a higher-up with Marshall-Wells for quite a few years.

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He's long passed away but I don't recall seeing any fishing equipment at grandma (also passed) and grandpa's house. Grandpa, later in years, was more content to watch the grandkids (me included) bobber fish off the dock at the lake from the comfortable perch of the cabin dock. smile.gif

Sorry, can't help with any old lures... smirk.gif

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Sorry to hear they have passed...but I had to ask. tongue.gif

But, I can see why they liked watching the next generation. I am not that "old" yet, and I already enjoy it.

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Hammer, no troubs and I give you an A for effort. They loved it when the kids really got into the walleyes. cool.gif

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I have a quite a few of the original packages of the Phelps Floater(the first ever softbodied floater) from Phelps Tackle made by my dad and packaged by my brother and I in the mid 70's if anyone is interested in getting something like that. The address is from the house we moved out of when i was probably 12 yrs old. I also have the same of the Phelps Half Face Jig which was the first ever stand up style jig on the market, and in my opinion is still the best. Although, I admit I may be a little biased. Pretty cool stuff!

Matt Phelps

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