Page 70 - ISS September 2012

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c o l l e c t i b l e
Side Hookers —
They Were Once
The Rage Among
Lure Makers
by Don Kirk
Today they appear odd and out of
place when we look at them, but
years ago attaching treble hooks
to the sides of lures was regarded
as standard practice.
Old time lure makers were as peer driven,
as are their modern counterparts. If you
look at the lines of lures made from one
large company to another in the 1920s,
you find many similarities in much of their
lines. Everyone made at least one lure
that mimicked a mouse. Everyone made
a frog imitator. Additionally, everyone
made at least one of the so-called side-
hook baits, which while some, were made
for surface fishing, most were not and
were called“underwater”minnows.
Today most collectors call these lures
“side hookers,” in reference to their
unique design which included a trailing
hook located on the rear of the bait and
one to two treble hooks located on the
flank or sides of the lure. Those with
one treble hook on each flank are called
three-hookers, and those with twin
attachments on their flanks are called
five-hookers. While rare, there were even
a few of these hook-some baits made
with a twin trebles hook arrangement on
their belly for a total of seven treble hooks
or a porcupine-like total of 21 barbed
While it is clouded in controversy, James
Heddon, founder of the famed Heddon
lure making empire is credited with
making the first wooden fishing lure.
Starting in the early 1880s, he is believed
to have whittled a series of prototype
frogs. By early 1900s he had founded
a company that made bait called the
Underwater Expert, which had three
trebles--one on the tail, and one on each