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.

The heddon lure called the Crazy Crawler

The Heddon Crazy Crawler.

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.

From Bee keeper to business man.

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. After casting a piece of wood he was playing with into the pond, the wood got snapped up by a bass in the water, and so he started thinking about making 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.

Onwards and upwards for Heddons sons.

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.

One of the Heddon lures called The Threadfin shad.

Modern day Heddon lure, the Threadfin Shad.

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.

Click on the images to see more Heddon Lures.

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.

The Heddon lure called the Super spook.

A Heddon Super Spook.

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.


13 Comments

Jude · July 29, 2017 at 7:36 am

I enjoyed learning about the history of Heddon’s artificial fishing lures.

I am always fascinated by how the love of something can inspire someone to invent a new way to do things, in this case, to lure fish.

And it all led to Heddon building a company, opening a factory, and his sons went on to to make the company a leader in the fishing lure industry.

I love to read informative and inspirational stories like this about handcrafted items that blossom into an entire industry.

I can see why collectors would love to add a Heddon lure to their antique collection.

This was an interesting read and a fine tribute to James Heddon, his sons, and their legacy.

~Jude

    Stuart Bowler · July 30, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Thanks Jude i’m glad you found it interesting.

CannaGary · August 4, 2017 at 7:31 pm

Stuart,
Thanks so much for this history filled read on Heddon Lures.
I have always found the seeds of innovation to be so inspirational. I loved reading about him going from bees to luring fish then up to his passing.
It is a great thing that Will and Charles took their dads work seriously enough to have it become World Class.
Thanks so much for the fascinating story of Heddon Lures, my best,

CannaGary

CannaGary · August 4, 2017 at 7:36 pm

Stuart,
Thanks so much for this history filled read on Heddon Lures.
I have always found the seeds of innovation to be so inspirational. I loved reading about him going from bees to luring fish then up to his passing.

It is a great thing that Will and Charles took their dads work seriously enough to have it become World Class.
Thanks so much for the fascinating story of Heddon Lures, my best,

CannaGary

    Stuart Bowler · August 6, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    Glad you enjoyed reading it.

Dale · August 7, 2017 at 10:34 pm

Anyone who has any history of fishing or a love like me will certainly know the heddon name.

I always go online to find new stuff for fishing so it was very refreshing to find your site.

Its great that you have a history. Lots of people just dont understand what goes into making a great lure and actually how long they have been around.

I look forward to reading more into your site and exploring more of the lures.

    Stuart Bowler · August 8, 2017 at 8:22 am

    Cheers Dale, much appreciated.

Kyle M · August 15, 2017 at 3:38 am

Crazy to think an accident created such an industry! Encouraging that maybe one day, I’ll stumble across a great idea like that. Thanks for the history lesson!

Jim · August 15, 2017 at 4:22 am

I have always had great success with Heddon lures! My all time favorite is my River-Runt Spook. I have both a floater and a sinker…both of which I guard with my life!

Several of the more modern ones I have found to be effective are Lucky 13 and the Super Spook XT. They have not produced as many big bass as my River-Runts but, they do produce more bass.

Thanks, for a great article!

I can’t wait to see more!

Jim

    Stuart Bowler · August 15, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Cheers Jim, I have a crazy crawler now which I will be trying at the week end, hopefully get a few on the bank !

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