Jamison Humdinger Lure
The Jamison Humdinger Lure was first introduced in 1916. This wooden no eyed fishing lure was made by William J Jamison Company out of Chicago Illinois, know affectionately as “Smilling Bill”. This antique fishing lure measures 3 1/8″ inches in length and is really a larger version of the struggling mouse which would come a year after the Humdinger.
I didnt feel much like story telling this morning, after loosing my dear friend Joe yesterday. Joe had amassed until recent the largest and most extensive Jamison antique lure collection to date. Joe, an honest, admirable, hardworking man of unquestionable ethics, a man whose dedication and love of this lure collecting community and its club members from its inception. His love of lures, the hobby and the club, only usurped by the love for his wife, kids and grand kids. I was honored to be Joes friend, and not just from a fishing lure standpoint. I often sought advice from my friend for many of my own struggles with health or life. Joe was 20+ years my senior and at times it was like talking to my best friend and at times it was like speaking to my own Dad. I knew Joe would provide the his opinion and I knew he did it from a place of love. I could hear Joe telling me his answer, as those who know Joe know he didn’t mince his words and often let you know his opinion like it or leave it. Never from a place of malice, but from a place of passion and love and truth.
When I woke this morning I had hoped yesterday was a dream but as I rubbed my eyes and filled my cup of coffee I realized yesterday wasn’t just a bad dream. I’ve never been an outwardly emotional person, its a fault or a flaw I’m not proud of. So weeping in front of my two young sons both yesterday and this morning is really out of character for me. I’ve often used the pen or paper to convey what is to be said and a way to express those feelings. This morning as I drove them to school with tears running down my face they both wanted to know more about Joe, what he was like, and why their Dad was crying, but, what they knew was that Joe was a special man to many and to me.
Im not afraid to seem weak from emotion, what Im afraid of is never telling someone how much they have meant. I learned from a very young age as I buried my best friend at the age of 12, don’t wait to tell someone how you feel. I’ve known this day was coming for years on end as Joe’s fight was long and hard, but Joe was never afraid to talk about it. But knowing it was coming doesn’t make it any easier.
Through the years and decades I would often share with Joe many of my research findings, whether it be a single date, or a full blown story. But when I spoke to Joe, like many others did, I knew I was speaking to someone who gave my words the weight of the world. He was truly interested, excited, as Joe loved the history behind the lures as much as the lure. Often times I knew there many not be anyone else out there who would even want to know, much less get excited, but I knew my friend Joe would.
Joe would want me to continue to tell others the stories behind the lures. One of Joe’s favorite lure books is one of my own Kimball’s hardback book, The Plugs of the USA. Not because it spoke of lures in terms of value, but it spoke in terms of the history behind the lure. He would want us all to forgot what a lure was worth monetarily, and look at the lure from where it stood historically. Every lure and every person deserving of its unique place in history and story to be told regardless of value.
So today, like yesterday, and like tomorrow will go, I will do what I do, and try to tell the stories of the people and the story behind the lure. Not just for myself, but for my friend Joe and those who act as curators to these wonderful items until we pass them down to the next American Fishing generation.
These two beautiful examples of the Humdinger were part of Joe’s collection. The Humdinger was a lure to which its purpose and intent could be modified by the fisherman. The lure had two adjustable metal diving planes or wings. These guides would changes the lures motion through the lure making it dive deep or appear to struggle. The lure had two double or treble hooks to secure its catch. The lure can be found with the Jamison Barbed treble, such as the spotted example or the standard hooks on the rainbow. From the 1916 Lure Catalog Cut below we can see what Smiling Bill had for it’s intentions. Finding Jamison Lures in colors other than red and white is considered hard to do. Jamison used multiple thick coats of paint and on lures such as the Humdinger time hasn’t hampered its beauty in any way.