Fishing History: Creek Chub's Shur Strike LineBy Dan Basore
We get many questions about lures that look like they were made by the old Creek Chub Bait Company, (CCBCO), in Garrett, Indiana. But knowing that Creek Chub put their stenciled name on lures and/or pressed into diving lips, while the lures in question have no or confusing names on them, creates the puzzles.
Making the high quality Creek Chub lures required many steps—selecting and preparing the wood, sealing, painting and assembling them with the highest quality hardware. This resulted in prices as high as a day’s wages for a lure back then. In addition, the company was looking for new ways to market its baits.
In the 1930s Creek Chub came up with a plan to make a less expensive line of lures. They would take shortcuts eliminating some steps of production. The most visible of these was that the name would no longer be placed on most of these baits.
This also worked well with their plan to distribute these lures directly through companies that sold fishing tackle who would do the marketing directly to their customers. Many of these retailers sold through catalogs.
Eventually companies involved included: Morley Brothers of Saginaw; Folsom Arms from New York; Kiest Sporting Goods of Knox, Indiana; King Hardware in Atlanta; Joseph Woodwell of Pittsburg; N. Shure Company from Chicago; Gart Brothers Sporting Goods; and Dave Cook’s Cook Sporting Goods of Denver.
In addition to selling the Shur Strike line in their own branded boxes they also sold lures in specially made boxes for larger accounts including: Sears, Roebuck & Company under the Meadowbrook name; Spiegel’s Brooklure line; Edward K. Tryon of Philadelphia with the Kingfisher brand; Gateway Sporting Goods Effective and Economical line of baits in Kansas City, MO.; Western Auto Stores’ Western line, also of Kansas City; Hibbard Spencer & Bartlet under the True Value name based in Chicago; Voedisch Brothers Vee Bee lures, also of Chicago; Buhl Sons Company Guardian brand of Detroit; Shapleigh & Simmons Hardware Keen Kutter line of St. Louis; Morley Brothers Play Days line of Saginaw, Mich.; Allcock, Laight & Westwood, (AL&W) of Canada; and Montgomery Ward’s Sport King line. A few baits have stenciled names on them like Uncle Tom, Gateway, Andy’s Lures, Floating Tom, Injured Tom and AL&W on props.
In addition to the Shur Strike lures, an assembly of the various boxes makes a beautiful display. Speaking of boxes, the Holy Grail of boxes is the 1936 assortment of three baits in a box titled “Three Proven Fish-Getters, Triple Threat Lures”.
On a fishing trip to Lake Erie where high winds caused cancellation of fishing, wind and waves were forgotten by acquiring this boxed set that had been salvaged from the rafters of an old dilapidated cabin about to be burned for the local fire department’s practice.
Even though less expensive hook hardware and lips were used, it becomes apparent that the CCBCO didn’t know how to make low-quality lures. The glass eyes on many of these baits plus the same quality spray painting techniques and ingredients have lasted over many decades.
No catalogs or ads were produced for the public, so this line of baits was shrouded in mystery until now. A new book “SHUR STRIKE MINNOWS” by Rick Osterholt is available from Whitefish Press (www.whitefishpress.com). I recommend it.
Can you help with our search for, preservation of and sharing fishing history with old lures, pre-level wind reels, manufacturer’s catalogs, casting tournament items and stories? Please contact Dan Basore, Historical Fishing Display, 3S375 Herrick Rd., Warrenville, IL 60555, call 630-393-FISH (3474), call toll free 1-800-FISH-LAKe (1-800-347-4525), or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your help and support!
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