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The History of Fish Lure Manufacturing: Two Stories of Discovery

Fishing and Tackle Lures  |  March 19, 2014

Learn how a couple of happy accidents helped shape a billion dollar industry

For more than 50 years, Master Spring has proudly been helping fishing tackle and lure manufactures get the wire forms they need to finish their designs. And during that time, we have watched the fishing equipment industry explode. Just look at some of these statistics:

  • The fishing equipment market is expected to exceed $20.3 Billion by 2015.1
  • It’s estimated that the fishing industry is directly responsible for supporting 307,175 jobs in the United States.2

All this growth made us start wondering: “Just how did all this begin? And what events helped lay the framework for fishing and lure manufacturers?”

Below, you will find a couple of the stories we were able to uncover.

James Heddon and His Broom Handle

While the history of lure manufacturing is filled with a lot great stories, perhaps the most popular is the story behind the creation of the Heddon brand of fishing lures.

heddon_lure_ 1947

As the story goes, while waiting on a fishing partner one afternoon in 1898, James Heddon innocently tossed a piece of wood he had whittled into a pond. Suddenly, a bass appeared and began striking at the wood. Excited by this finding, Heddon carved a wooden frog out of a broom handle, added gang hooks, and voila – The first wooden artificial lure was created.

James Heddon would go on to form the James Heddon’s Sons Co., and the company would grow to become one of the world’s largest manufacturers of artificial fishing tackle.

Julio T. Buel and His Spoon

Another great tale is the story of Julio T. Buel. According to the legend, Buel was eating lunch on his boat one afternoon when he accidentally dropped a spoon in the water. The spoon began to slowly sink to the bottom. Before Buel could make a move to retrieve it, a large bass swam up and began striking the spoon.

bass-spoon Buel knew an opportunity when saw one. And so, inspired by his discovery, he decided to take another spoon, attach a hook to it, and toss it in the water.

Buel and his spoon lure not only hooked several large bass that day, but this successful fishing trip also laid a path that would launch him into a career as a successful artificial bait and lure manufacturer.

Lure Manufacturing and Its Storied History

The above is just a small sampling of how the lure manufacturing industry got its foothold. In reality, the history of lure, bait and tackle manufacturing is filled with dozens and dozens of similar tales. All of which have combined to create the exciting landscape that we get to enjoy today.

1 – Fishing Equipment – A Global Strategic Business Report,
2 – The Outdoor Industry Association,,

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