I received an interesting email last week from Veronica Hildinger, of Kent, N.Y.
“I have found your nostalgia of your grandfather’s lures quite interesting and to be honest I feel older lures are better than the new fancy stuff on the market today,” she said. “Although I am guilty of using quite a bit of that new technology and lure design, I go back to when I read an article that Homer Circle wrote for Sports Afield magazine touting the greatness of the plastic worm — you know, the ones that used to burn your tackle box compartments and ruin the lures next to them.”
“Without a doubt my favorite lure is the Jitterbug,” Hildinger said. “Maybe it’s because it’s the first artificial that I used to catch a fish with at about age 9. To the best of my recollection, the Rebel Stickbait comes in a close second. I’m now 60 years old, and these lures have been in my box since my mom took me to the local hardware store to buy them 1965-66. I also have had good success with the Lazy Ike, although now some of my original are on display stands along with some antique lures.”
Veronica Hildinger said the couple is surrounded by beautiful impoundments at their home in New York and can fish different spots for three weeks before returning to the first.
“That first bass I caught with the leopard, 5/8-ounce Jitterbug is a memory that will stay with me for the rest of my days — close to 3 pounds,” Veronica Hildinger said. “I still use to this day the Jitterbug and the jointed Jitterbug. Although not made as well as the old ones, they are mad producers at night, and the Jitterbug has the bragging rights of my life allowing me to catch my biggest bass at 7 pounds, 9 ounces. Mind you, I fish only in N.Y., where a fish of that size is a monster and is probably close to 20 years old due to the colder waters.”
Interestingly enough, I picked up a few vintage lures last month while perusing the booths at the Topeka Boat and Outdoor Show, and I happened to grab a couple Jitterbugs, as well as a vintage Lazy Ike still in its packaging, some classic Rooster Tails and a couple other old lures I’d never heard of that looked like they’d be fun to try out.
I love throwing old lures like that, and would love to know from the readers what some of your favorite vintage lures are. You can email me at email@example.com or send a letter by mail to Josh Rouse, 616 S.E. Jefferson St., Topeka, KS 66607. I’ll be testing out some of these old lures, as well as a few new ones, in the coming months, so be sure to keep an eye out for my lure reviews in the paper and on CJOnline.com.