Time Machine Tuesday: The First Swimbait

Time Machine Tuesday: The First Swimbait

“Sooner or later, everything old is new again” – Stephen King

When it comes to swimbaits, we often hear discussions about who created the first one. Was it Allen Cole, Ken Huddleston, Bruce Porter, Bill Siemantel? Those names and the time periods involved go back in time a relatively long way. 

Was it the Worm King Dinosaur bait originally designed for saltwater and later used to target giant freshwater bass in California lakes? Or maybe the Mister Twister Sassy Shad introduced in 1980. How about Rolla Williams who in the 70s took a head from a Rapala 18 magnum plug and a soft body molded ocean swimbait, combining the two to create a hybrid lure?

Photo credit BASS Master Magazine 1980

Photo credit BASS Master Magazine 1980

Did you know that in 1907 John D. Kreisser of Cincinnati, Ohio received a U.S. Patent for the K & K Animated Minnow, ‘the minnow that swims’? He started marking lures in 1905 and applied for the patent in 1906.  

K & K 1907,  photo credit Antiquelures.com

K & K 1907,  photo credit Antiquelures.com

Here is what Kreisser wrote on his patent application. “By the use of my animated minnow, the alluring devices, spinning and rotating spoons and other artificial bait now used in game fishing and the live minnow itself are all dispensed with as my animated minnow combines the advantages of them all in a perfect bait.” 

Photo credit Antiquelures.com

Photo credit Antiquelures.com

Looking at this 100-year-old bait’s construction is fascinating. The hinged jointed assembly sure looks familiar. Also, look closely at the ‘frog style’ hooks. This lure has three double hooks, each one rests on a holding pin that releases when you set the hook on a biting fish.

Photo credit Antiquelures.com

Photo credit Antiquelures.com

1907, price $1.00 that makes me wonder how the value of a U.S. Dollar back then compared to today. I’m guessing it would be somewhere equivalent to $25.00 plus dollars. Even the trend of expensive swimbait fishing lures is nothing new!  

Maybe there is a swimbait out there that’s even older.

“All new news is old news happening to new people.” – Malcolm Muggeridge

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