Paw Paw Croaker Lure
The Paw Paw Croaker Lure is one of a series of lures that used real frog skin to cover the wooden bait. The lure itself made by the Paw Paw Bait Company out of Paw Paw, Michigan. This antique lure was first introduced in 1940 and was made of wood measuring 3″ in length. The wood blank would then be covered by stretching frog skin from front to back encapsulating the lure blank. Paw Paw used black beaded eyes instead of the traditional painted eye Paw Paw used on most of its fishing lures. The Croaker Lure to secure its prey used two trailing treble hooks, the center of which used a cup rig for stability, while the rear using the traditional screw eye.
Paw Paw offered a half dozen or so selected fishing lures that were covered in frog skin, the pikie, the croaker, the plunker and injured minnow among them. Unfortunately the skin will over time dry and become brittle if subjected to the elements.
The smallest fly rod sized croaker is a prize to find and very collectible. The lure definitely appeals to multiple niches or vertical segments inside the lure collecting world, from frog only enthusiasts to Paw Paw Lure collectors and there are even collectors of just antique lures covered in frog skin. There are many lure makers from Eger, to Top Frog, Shakespeare, Paw Paw and many others that utilized natural frog skin to give the fishing lure a more life like appearance.