What is a Fishing Lure | A Brief History

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    Fishing is one of the most relaxing, yet highly rewarding pastimes on the Planet. Not only does it let you unwind, it is also excellent for helping with mental health issues. So it is no wonder that it’s so hugely popular. The human race has been fishing for literally thousands of years, though back then, we would primarily fish for food, rather than recreation. These days however, things are very different. Though one of the most appealing aspects of fishing is the fact that the sport has stayed true to its roots. One of the ways of enticing a fish on the bank is by using lures. Lures are getting increasingly popular year by year.

    Lure fishing is highly challenging yet incredibly exciting because, as opposed to using bait, the angler is instead in charge of the Fishing lures in order to hopefully attract the fish. But how far back do fishing lures date, and have they changed much since their initial conception? Well, let’s take a look, shall we, as we look at the history of fishing lures.

    What is a Lure

     Fishing lures are specially designed objects which anglers attach to the end of their fishing line before casting off into the water. The idea is that the lure looks and acts just like live bait, and so it attracts fish.

    Fishing lures use movement, unique shapes, unique designs, natural light, and bright colours in order to attract fish and entice them into clamping down onto the hook. Though you may think that fishing lures are relatively new, in reality, they have been used in fishing for centuries upon centuries.

    A Brief History of Fishing Lures

    Now that we’ve looked at what fishing lures are, let’s now take you on a journey back through time, as we look at a brief history of fishing lures:

     

    Paleolithic fishing? – Though there is no definitive proof of this, experts have found the remains of items such as hooks made from bones and metals, in caves. Some people believe that these hooks were used by cavemen during the Paleolithic era, to catch fish.

    2000 BC – Back in 2000 BC, in parts of the world including China and Egypt, anglers would use primitive rods to catch fish. In actual fact, the Chinese were believed to be the first to create fishing lines, which they made from silk. Many anglers would use hooks on the end of these lines, with different anglers choosing different designs.

    3rd century AD – The ancient Romans were also huge fans of fishing. In fact, Claudius Aelianus would document his fly fishing experiences in writing. He also wrote about how he would create his own lures, and use things such as feathers, lead, bronze, and even horsehair, to help attract the fish.

    Mid 19th century  – During the mid 19th century, lure fishing really took off in a big way. Because of this, fishing lures were manufactured on mass scale. The lures were very basic in design, which is why they were so successful. As manufacturers, such as Heddon and Pflueger, believed in keeping things simple.

    The Heddon Lures

    On the banks of Rivers, Canals, Lakes, Reservoirs, Streams and all the great Oceans in the world you will find Lure fishermen. Pitting their wits against the fish, trying to out smart them and get them on to the bank. Today there are many makes and types of lure, but the Heddon lures certainly would of inspired many of the company’s of today.

    Have you ever wondered how the artificial fishing lure of today came to be?  You are not alone. Many people can’t help being fascinated about the effectiveness an artificial lure brings to fishing. But it wasn’t always that fun to fish for sport. 

    A lure fisherman

    Who Started up Heddon Lures?

    In the late nineteenth century, a man named James Heddon started experimenting with artificial lures for fishing. He was inspired to make an artificial lure while waiting for his friend at a place called Old Mill Pond. He carved a small frog out of a bit of timber. After throwing the carved frog he was playing with into the pond, it got snapped up by a bass in the water, and so he started thinking about making a proper one.

    Before he began making artificial fishing lures, James Heddon was an apiculturist. A year after the incident at the pond, James Heddon was making lures by hand from his kitchen. His first lure was called Dowagiac Casting Lure.

    He went on to establish the Heddon Lure company in 1902. By 1910, the company collaborated with a Canadian supply company for the distribution of its lures and also opened a factory in the town of Dowagiac. A year later in 1911, James Heddon died, but his sons kept the company afloat.

    How Big was Heddon Lures?

    Under the management of Heddon’s sons Will and Charles, the company expanded to become a leader in the fishing lure industry. The company continued to grow, and it was reported to be producing 12000 fish lures in 1950. Apart from fishing lures, the company was also providing general fishing equipment like reels and rods.

    The Heddon Lucky 13 Lure

    The Heddon Crazy Crawler

    The Heddon Teeny Torpedo

    What Lures did Heddon Make?

    The Heddon Brothers sold their business to the Murchinson family in 1955. The sale was due to heavy competition the company was facing from its competition in the fishing lure industry. After changing hands from different buyers over the years, the company was eventually bought by EBSCO. EBSCO continues to trade the company’s lures with the original names they had since inception.

    The Heddon Lures company started putting great details into the design of its lures in 1910. The Dowagiac Casting Bait was the first lure the company sold in commercial quantity. Some of the favourite lures the company has released over the years include the River Runt, Heddon Dowagiac Killer, and the Dowagiac Wooden Minnow.

    The company also released the Wiggle King Lure in 1918, attached with three killer hooks to increase its hold on the fish. The Wilder-Dilg lure was named after two famous fishermen who were great lovers of angling.

    To Conclude

    All these lures were crafted ingeniously, and their appeal to antique lure collectors over the years has not waned. Many a collector will be so happy to get hold of these rare lures. Having one at the end of your reel can take you back to the early twentieth century when the first artificial lures were first hand crafted by a beekeeper who built an industry out of an incident that happened while waiting beside a pond.

    So, whenever you feel that tug at the end of your line when using an artificial lure, be it an antique or a modern version, remember it was the vision of James Heddon.

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