Fishing for History Friday Funhouse 2-9-2018

Fishing for History Friday Funhouse 2-9-2018

Fishing for History Friday Funhouse 2-9-2018; The Video of the Week

If you’ve never been introduced to Lee Sisson, you need to check out this short video to learn how he impacted Bagley Baits.

12 Thing I Would Buy If Only I Could Afford Them

This is a BEAST of a Heddon Musky Lure.

I’ve seen a lot of Bear Creek Decoys growing up in Northern Minnesota but I don’t know if I’ve seen any that were this popular!

A Gold Ambassadeur 5500C is a great find!

This early wood minnow (possibly Woods?) has gotten a lot of interest.

I’ve always felt the Shakespeare underwater minnows like this Kazoo 3-Hook were greatly underrated.

You won’t find a nicer Horton Meek #5 combo than this one!

English made baits are always fun to collect and this old Devon is no exception.

This Don Musso Needlefish is a rare example of saltwater lure craftsmanship.

Several things I like about this Zangi 3V. First, its a classic Italian spinning reel. Second, its in a Taico box — a company best known for cheap Japanese imports. The American Import Co. (TAICO) did in fact import tackle from around the globe, not just Japan.

An old brass clamp […]

2018-02-09T12:33:43+00:00 February 9th, 2018|0 Comments

Shakespeare Evolution Lure

Shakespeare Evolution Lure

The Shakespeare Evolution Lure was one of Shakespeare’s earliest lures being first introduced in in 1902. There were a few versions of the lure which also corresponded to a few different length measurements. Shakespeare in their first catalog made its lures almost out of opposing or different materials. Its Revolution and Worden Bucktail line up out of metal and its Sure Lure and Evolution out of rubber. The lure shown in the gallery is the second version having the straightened box swivel and the earliest having a floppy box swivel. Both versions having a forward and rear spinner to keep the lure straight upon retrieval. The Evolution lure featured two treble hooks coming off the pectoral or abdomen portion of the antique lure and the rear of the lure having one hanging off the tail. The lure was made of a painted rubber to look like a shiner minnow with eyes and two red gill marks.

In my 1916 Shakespeare Antique Lure Catalog they show it listed in 3 different sizes

No. 3GAE – Length of Body, 2 1/2″
No. 4GAE – Length of Body, 2 3/8″
No. 5GAE – Length of Body, 4″

Shakespeare lure collector and fellow NFLCC club member Dan Zemke added “In the later production years, it was named the “Shiner Minnow” and available in only one size, 2 3/8 inch, and one color, “shiner”, which is the color shown above. When ordering […]

2018-01-27T09:33:56+00:00 January 14th, 2018|Comments Off on Shakespeare Evolution Lure

Tight Lines Tuesday Shakespeare’s Indian Silk Lines

Tight Lines Tuesday Shakespeare’s Indian Silk Lines

by John Etchieson

108 years ago in 1909 the William Shakespeare Jr. Tackle Company of Kalamazoo, Michigan adopted a new trade mark for its “Indian Silk Lines” using the profile of an Indian in a full feathered headdress. Many fishing tackle collectors today are familiar with the image of this Indian who appeared on the line spool labels of Shakespeare’s “Indian Silk Lines” (1909 – 1923), but few, if any, have ever known who the Indian might actually be.

My research into his identity has revealed that the Indian in question was none other than the famous Chief Red Cloud of the Oglala Lakota (one of the seven tribes of the Sioux nation). Chief Red Cloud (1822 – 1909) was a renowned warrior and highly respected leader and later a diplomat between the Sioux nation and Washington D C. The announcement of Red Cloud’s death and the recognition of his many accomplishments were printed in many newspapers across the country. The Shakespeare Tackle Company continued to honor him on their fishing line spool labels for 13 more years following his death.

Comments or questions may be sent to John at

2017-10-24T07:16:44+00:00 October 24th, 2017|Comments Off on Tight Lines Tuesday Shakespeare’s Indian Silk Lines

Tight Lines Tuesday Ace Hardware by Shakespeare

Tight Lines Tuesday Ace Hardware by Shakespeare

by John Etchieson
Here is a rare 80 year old ACE STORES “QUALITY” brand Japan silk casting line from 1937 that was manufactured by the Shakespeare Tackle Company. In 1924, to increase buying power and profits, entrepreneurs Richard Hesse, E. Gunnard Lindquist, Frank Burke and Oscar Fisher united their Chicago, Illinois hardware stores into “Ace Stores”. The company was named after the ace fighter pilots of
World War I, who were able to overcome all odds, and the company’s logo of an airplane was selected to honor them. Ace Stores was incorporated in 1928, and the company opened its first warehouse a year later. In 1931, the name was changed to Ace Hardware Corporation. ACE STORES used the logo on this label from 1931 – 1950, but Shakespeare’s Japan silk lines were discontinued in 1941 after Japan attacked the USA at Pearl Harbor. So. this particular line was made for the 5 year period from 1937 through 1941
Comments or questions may be sent to John at

2017-09-26T07:12:27+00:00 September 26th, 2017|Comments Off on Tight Lines Tuesday Ace Hardware by Shakespeare

Tight Lines Tuesday Colored Spools

Tight Lines Tuesday Colored Spools

by John Etchieson –

Tight Lines Tuesday Colored Spools; All fishing lines, with very few exceptions, had been packaged on solid black color enamel painted wooden spools since 1880. However, 85 years ago at the depths of America’s great depression in 1932, many fishing line spools took on some bright colors to replace that 50 year-long industry standard of using only solid black color line spools.

For example, the Shakespeare Tackle Company adopted a reddish/orange colored spool, James Heddon Tackle Company chose a green color, the South Bend Fishing Tackle Company selected a yellow/orange tint color and the Horrocks – Ibbotson Company used a royal blue color.

While it is not fully known exactly why all these major sellers of fishing line choose 1932 to convert to brightly colored spools, it is generally believed that it was to counter the dark dreary days of America’s great depression and to boost sales with the introduction of this new rainbow of colors which we know from psychologist today would have positively influenced buyers purchase decisions on a subconscious level.

Among those who made this colorful change there was one that stood apart from all the rest by changing not to a single new color, but rather to two colors, which required a special double paint cycle for the wooden spool. That firm was the Pflueger Fishing Tackle Company of Akron Ohio (aka Enterprise Manufacturing Company). Pflueger’s half green […]

2017-09-12T08:51:29+00:00 September 12th, 2017|Comments Off on Tight Lines Tuesday Colored Spools

Shakespeare Jacksmith Antique Lure

Shakespeare Jacksmith Lure

The Shakespeare Jacksmith lure was Series 6561. The wooden, pressed eye lure was first introduced in the 1930’s by the Shakespeare Bait Company of Kalamazoo, Michigan. This antique fishing lure  measures 4 1/8″ in length.  It features 3 standard size treble hooks, the rear of which is held on by Shakespeare’s Ball Hanger. The antique fishing lure had a cupped face inset to body which there rested the lures single line tie. As shown in the gallery below the fishing lure featured a unique metal fin or keel underneath of it. This was done no doubt just like in a ship to keep the lures trajectory straight while being retrieved through the water.

There was also a smaller, and rather tough to find,  Jr version produced shown below, a model 6560, called  the Jacksmith Jr. While very similar to it’s bigger brother there are some differences. Most notably the removal of the keel, Im not sure if this was done as the smaller the size the less the wobble on retrieve or to save on cost and materials. The antique Shakespeare Jacksmith Lure was no doubt made to be similar to Heddon’s very successful Basser Lure, the Heddon 8500 series. The lure is most often found in the photo finish scheme.

Shakespeare Jacksmith Lure Gallery

2017-09-02T13:56:04+00:00 August 14th, 2017|Comments Off on Shakespeare Jacksmith Antique Lure

Shakespeare Waukazoo Surface Lure

Shakespeare Waukazoo Surface Lure

The Shakespeare Waukazoo Surface Lure was released somewhere in the late 1920’s. This unique bulbous or light bulb shaped wooden antique fishing lure was a model number 6555. Shakespeare of Kalamazoo Michigan only made this fishing lure for less than a half a dozen years and it was gone in the early 1930’s, and is really rather scarce to come by. The lure made of wood measured 2 5/8″ in length and used two trebles. Lik emany of the late 1920’s lures you can find the Waukazoo with the treble hanging from the rear ball hanger. You will also find it with a screw eye type hanger towards the end of the run.

The lure was made to be fished top water for your standard game fish such as the large mouth bass. The lure features a marked front spinner that can also be found in a few versions from the pointed end found on most of the underwater minnow series lure, to the rounded end style that appeared on the early Revolutions or Worden Buck Tail Spinners. One of the tell tale features of this vintage lure is the bottom keel extending out from the larger portion of the lure, in front of the belly treble.

The Shakespeare Waukazoo Lure was only made in a few colors; Grey as shown below in the gallery, Frog Spot, Red Head White Body are a couple finishes you might find.

Shakespeare […]

2017-04-12T08:00:38+00:00 March 30th, 2017|Comments Off on Shakespeare Waukazoo Surface Lure

Shakespeare 43 Underwater Minnow Lure

Shakespeare 43 Underwater Minnow Lure

The Shakespeare 43 Underwater Minnow Lure is one of my favorite Shakespeare antique lures. This lure is very similar to the Heddon 175 Heavy Casting Minnow lure. The lure is a 3T or 3 Hook underwater minnow made of wood with glass eyes to props both fore and aft. This lure has a single centered belly weight to get down deeper than a surface minnow lure.

The Lure dates way back to 1909 and like the 175, is just like the Shakespeare 44, only with 3 hooks. The 43 however being harder to find if comparing the two manufacturers Heddon and Shakespeare. The lure shown below in the Gallery is a beauty, it’s in the Shakespeare Rainbow color finish, B notched props, flat plate hook hardware. The antique lure adorn with 3 giant sweeping hand painted gill marks. This antique lure is certainly worthy of any antique fishing lure collection.

Shakespeare 43 Lure Gallery

2016-11-10T19:32:37+00:00 November 10th, 2016|Comments Off on Shakespeare 43 Underwater Minnow Lure

Shakespeare Fly Rod Mouse Lure

Shakespeare Fly Rod Mouse Lure

Shakespeare Fly Rod Mouse Lure, or the Swimming Mouse as its referred to sometimes was introduced around the late 1930’s or early 1940’s. The Shakespeare Company of Kalamazoo Michigan labeled it as new in the 1940 antique lure catalog, but Ive learned that sometimes print doesn’t change from year to year and I didn’t have a late 30’s to rule it out. The model number its given in the catalog is a 6579. These little wooden pressed eye fly rod sized gems are not very easy at all to come by, or easy to put a collection together of. The lure is in the exact shape as its two larger sized brothers, has a line tie on the forehead and a single size 4 double hook.


The ad from the 1940 Shakespeare Antique Lure Catalog state: Fisherman wanted it so here it is….a fly rod size swimming mouse. Like it’s fish getting ancestors it brings home the fish. Weight 1/10oz Length of Body: 1 2/8″ inch No. 4 Double Hook. Six Assorted patterns on display card. BW – F – G – S – WR – YR”

BW – Black and White (As Shown in the Gallery)
F – Frog
G – Gray
S – Spotted
WR – White and Red
YR – Yellow and Red

Shakespeare Fly Rod Mouse Lure Photo Gallery

1940 Shakespeare Lure [...]
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2016-12-13T08:55:24+00:00 November 8th, 2016|Comments Off on Shakespeare Fly Rod Mouse Lure

Shakespeare Antique Lure Ad 1906

Shakespeare Antique Lure Ad 1906

This Shakespeare Antique lure Ad 1906 was taken from “The Evening Star” newspaper and shows us the New addition of the Rhodes Mechanical Swimming Frog to its Artificial bait arsenal. The ad illustrates the Shakespeare Revolution, The Shakespeare Wooden Minnow and the Rhodes Mechanical Swimming Frog.

Shakespeare Antique Lure Ad 1906

To Anglers in every part of the United States and Canada, I offer Free a beautiful $10 outfit of Famous Shakespeare Rods, Reels and Baits that Catch Fish.

I was every Angler to know of the exquisitely fine qualities of the Shakespeare Hand made Rod and Reels and the wonderfully successful Baits that Catch Fish. Without question the three most successful baits in the World today are the Shakespeare Revolution Bait, the Shakespeare Wooden Minnow and the New Rhodes Mechanical Swimming Frog. Game fish strike these baits savagely when the live bait utterly fail to tempt them.

Bass have been seen to rush a distance of more then 50 feet to attack these baits and many cases are reported of two large fish being landed at a single cast. In deep or shallow water, whether trolling or casting, fish actually take these baits more readily than live bait. They have repeatedly taken better and larger strings of fish than live frogs or minnows when used at the same time and place.

Two anglers with the New Rhodes Mechanical Swimming Frog in 4 hours […]

2016-10-26T11:41:07+00:00 October 10th, 2016|Comments Off on Shakespeare Antique Lure Ad 1906

NFLCC Magazine Article Index 1999

NFLCC Magazine Article Index 1999

This  NFLCC Magazine Article Index 1999 contain the below Mentioned Articles. 

June 1999 Volume 9 Issue Number 1

Cover Photo includes a photo montage of Split Shot Tin Collection.

From the Editor by Dudley Murphy
In The Begininng / Riley Haskell by Arlan Carter
It’s Only Just Begun / An Introduction to British Baits by Jack Gallagher & Larry Mayer
Scatbacks by Tom Schofield
The Burke Bait Company / Early Rubber Baits by Ken Gouker
It’s Still Outh There by Rick Edmisten
George J Cummings / And His Marvelous Bass Getter by Bob Hornstra
Fly Rod Mice by Fred Kibler, Debbie Steimle, Jerry Martin

The Feature Lure shown in the Centerfold is the Millers Reversible lure in it’s Picture Box.

November 1999 Volume 9 Issue Number 2

Cover Photo includes a Collection of Antique Lure Catalogs.

From the Editor by Dudley Murphy
In the Beginning / Scale Wars by William Sonnett
The Wright and McGill Co / Pre War Casting Baits by Fred Kibler & Jerry Martin, Larry Sundall & Gary Zaruba
Its Still Out There by Rick Edmisten
Lauby Bait Company by Charles & Annnette Sanders
William Shakespeare Jr / Wooden Minnows by William Sonnett

The Feature Lure shown in the Centerfold is the Kinney Bird Lure in Box with Papers.

NFLCC Magazine Article Index 1999 Cover Gallery

2016-09-21T18:58:05+00:00 September 21st, 2016|Comments Off on NFLCC Magazine Article Index 1999

NFLCC Magazine Article Index 1997

NFLCC Magazine Article Index 1997

This  NFLCC Magazine Article Index 1997 contain the below Mentioned Articles. 

June 1997 Volume 7 Issue Number 1

Cover Photo includes a collection of Fly rod lures by Heddon, Creek Chub, South Bend, Moonlight Wright and McGill and Others.

From the Editor by Dudley Murphy
In The Begininng / Floating Bass Bug by Jerry Martin, Fred Kibler, Steve Lumpkin
Pflueger Wooden Minnows 1896-1940 by Drew Reese
Trenton Lure / Baits from the Commonwelth of Kentucky by Matt Wickham
It’s Still Out There by Rick Edmisten
What Makes a Good Show by Dan Ross
The Messingers / Artists with Deer Hair by Jerry Martin, Fred Kibler

The Feature Lure shown in the Centerfold is the 1905 Heddon 150 Minnow in Gold Finish in the Correct Wooden Box with Paperwork.

December 1997 Volume 7 Issue Number 2

Cover Photo includes a opened Tackle box and its contents.

From the Editor by Dudley Murphy
In the Beginning Part C / The Floating Bass Bug by Jerry Martin & Fred Kibler & Steve Lumpkin
Heddon Round Body Minnows by Clyde Harbin, Bill Sonnett, Dale Roberts, Jerry Martin
The Hawks / Two Generationss of Anglers and Lure Makers by Dean Murphy
Deciding What to Collect by Bruce Dyer
Its Still Out There by Rick Edmisten
Ending the Vacuum on Vacuum Baits by David Culp
William (Bill) F Blades / Master of Realism by Jerry Martin & Dudley Murphy

The Feature Lure shown in the Centerfold is the Shakespeare Worden Bucktail Lure in the Correct Black Box.

NFLCC Magazine Article Index 1997 Cover Gallery

2016-09-11T12:32:38+00:00 September 11th, 2016|Comments Off on NFLCC Magazine Article Index 1997

Shakespeare Striped Bass Wobbler Lure

Shakespeare Striped Bass Wobbler Lure

The Shakespeare Striped Bass Wobbler Lure was first introduced in 1940. The lure was very short lived, and from what I can see never was actually in the Shakespeare Reel and Fishing Lure Catalog. This wooden antique fishing lure measures in at 6″ in length. The lure features the same facial and body features as the Egyptian Wobbler series with a slanted forehead and elongated sloping nose and pressed eye. The Bass Wobbler has a rather small scripted diving lip in comparison to the size of the head. The lure has two over sized treble hooks one forward of the belly keel and the other attached via screw eye at the aft of the fishing lure. The lure came in a few period or era colors that I have seen, but know in any color the lure is not common.

Shakespeare Striped Bass Wobbler Lure Photo Gallery

2017-06-29T08:37:21+00:00 June 19th, 2016|Comments Off on Shakespeare Striped Bass Wobbler Lure

Shakespeare Antique Lure Revolution HH Kiffe 1903

Shakespeare Antique Lure Revolution HH Kiffe 1903

In this Great Shakespeare Antique Lure Revolution HH Kiffe 1903 we see the Advertisement for not only the Worden Bucktail, but the Revolution.

The Shakespeare Revolution Spinner
The Shakespeare Bucktail Spinner

The Revolution Bait. A new departure in Fishing. Made entirely of Aluminum with First Quality Treble Hooks attached with Rings. It catches fish. It catches more and larger fish than live Bait when used at the same time and place. Adapted for trolling, casting and splashing. It does away with the troublesome task of catching live before going fishing. The peculiar construction of the revolving blades allows the bait to be drawn through rushes and weeds without snagging the hooks. It is particularly good bait for bass, pickerel, muskalonge, and every fish that takes a live bait.

Instructions to Fishermen

Trolling. – Attach the Revolution Bait to a line and troll close to the edge of the rushes and lily pads, and just between deep and shallow water. In the morning evening and after dark is the best time for trolling.

Bait Casting.- Use a short Rod from 5 to 7 feet long a fine smooth line and a free running quadruple reel. Wind the line until the bait is close to the rod then the bait from 50 to 75 feet from the boat, allowing the reel to run free. Keep your boat in deep water and […]

2016-10-26T11:41:18+00:00 May 3rd, 2016|Comments Off on Shakespeare Antique Lure Revolution HH Kiffe 1903

Shakespeare Worden Bucktail Revolution Lure

Shakespeare Worden Bucktail Revolution

This item the Shakespeare Worden Bucktail Revolution lure is part of one of the sets of metal lures that are iconic foundation Shakespeare lures. The Revolution lures in line symbolizes early Shakespeare. Circa 1903, this is the earlier model. You can tell by the rounded aft section and the “Mickey Mouse Props”. The later having the more bullet shaped rear of the lure. The antique lure is approximately 2″ in length, and has the identifying dressed treble at the rear of the lure. For a period of time in the early 1900’s this lure was sold by Shakespeare, but was made by Mr. Worden of the Specialty Manufacturing Company, which was the earliest predecessor to South Bend Bait Company.

Early articles and ads are not only keys to unlocking the history of the lure, they play a key part in understanding time or industry references.

Take for example this article about the use of deer hair on lures. The author of the antique fishing lure article finds the usage and correlation between fishing and deer almost amusing. The only thing that is not amusing is the old paper doesn’t scan well to provide a better image, but the ad states:

In the matter of new and original lures for taking of game fish there has been advancement. Every sort of device from which closely resemble some small insect or minnow to those which resemble […]

2016-10-26T11:41:22+00:00 March 26th, 2016|Comments Off on Shakespeare Worden Bucktail Revolution Lure

Shakespeare Pop I Lure

Shakespeare Pop I Lure

The Shakespeare Pop I lure was a series model number 6574, and created by the Shakespeare Bait Company of Kalamazoo, Michigan. This painted eye, wooden lure, was Shakespeare’s answer to a segment of fisherman wanting to emulate one of natures greatest food supplies for sports fish, the frog. The antique lure was circa 1938, and was 3 5/8″ in length with 2 trailing treble hooks.

The Shakespeare Pop I fishing lure was said to have been a direct competitor to the Creek Chub Plunker lure. The 6574, is the skinniest of the 2 that were offered during that period of time. Shakespeare also offered a 6575 that was a more stocky and beefier version.

Shakespeare Pop I Lure Series 6574

Shakespeare Pop I Series 6575

2017-06-14T10:15:09+00:00 March 14th, 2016|Comments Off on Shakespeare Pop I Lure

New Winner Wood Minnow Lure

New Winner Wood Minnow

The New Winner Wood Minnow was a product offered by Sears Roebuck and Company. This beautiful example is housed in a standard wood box with a railed or channeled slide type. Through out the fishing industry we see once again wholesalers, and jobbers, taking the product of another manufacturer and either adding their own touch or just repackaging the initial product. Big trade houses, Sears, Montgomery Ward, HSBC and others were locked into the century long “department store wars” each trying to offer everything under the sun a consumer could want at the lowest possible price. This would allow a consumer a one stop shop from everything from baseball gear to clothes and household items. Try looking through a catalog from 1915 vs 2015 for a comparison. The fishing lure companies at the time would benefit by increased volume sales and recognition, but at a cost to move volume usually at a lower margin. Selling to jobber companies was not about what was best for the consumer, it was what was the cheapest, sounds like Walmart of today.

This version or New Winner was Shakespeare Bait Company. The antique fishing lure housed inside this slide top wooden box is a Rhodes or Shakespeare 33 underwater minnow lure. The antique lure has 3 treble hooks, 2 of which are attached to the lure with Shakespeare’s flat plate hardware and unmarked front and rear props. This wooden antique lure with glass eyes […]

2016-06-18T03:03:58+00:00 March 12th, 2016|Comments Off on New Winner Wood Minnow Lure

Shakespeare 7-11 Plopper Lure in Frog Spot

Shakespeare 7-11 Plopper Lure

This Shakespeare 7-11 Plopper antique fishing lure has always been one of my favorite Shakespeare antique lures of its period. The antique lure itself was first introduced into the Shakespeare antique lure line up around 1927. The Plopper would become Shakespeare of Kalamazoo Michigan’s model series number 6511. This wooden, glass eyed, antique lure measures in at 3 3/4″ inches in length. The 711 Plopper came with two standard size treble hooks, the forward most being used in conjunction with the cup rig hardware, and the rear utilizing a traditional screw eye type.

I’m not sure if its the carved fish tail, or the slanted glass eye adorned face that gives its appeal. This Shakespeare fishing lure came in a host of paint scheme color finishes for the period, the standards (Red and White, Black) plus the photo type finishes that were the A typical of this time for the Shakespeare Bait Company. The antique lure is shown here in the correct end labeled antique lure box with the correct period or era hang tag making it a complete package.

Shakespeare 7-11 Plopper Antique Lure Gallery

2017-06-14T09:58:22+00:00 March 6th, 2016|Comments Off on Shakespeare 7-11 Plopper Lure in Frog Spot