In the constant pursuit of innovation and marketing of the next “game changer”, lure manufacturers sometimes either fail to do proper research and development or overlook some details that will affect the longevity of their product’s success.
As the old saying goes, “Hindsight is always 20/20.” Such was the story behind the red hot new lure from Mercoy Tackle Co. called the Mercury Minnow. The Mercury Minnow was made in 1949 by the Grosse Point, MI based company and came in eight colors and two sizes, 3/8 oz and 5/8oz. This unique crankbait was sold for $1.50 each and it’s signature wobbling action was created by adding a ¼ ounce drop of mercury sealed inside the lure. It was a popular lure for a while but lost its alure when the facts about exposure to mercury poisoning and the its substantial environmental effects became more widely known.
The Detroit Minnow Bait Cage, later called Bauman’s Minnow Bait Cage, was invented around 1910. The cage was made of fine steel spring wire with two treble hooks at each end. It measured 3 ¾ inches long. The idea behind this lure was to insert a live minnow inside the cage and let it swim around to attract predatory fish. It’s not known whether the Bait Cage caught more fish or fishermen!
And lastly, the Comstock Flying Hellgrammite by Harry Comstock of Fulton, New York is considered to be the first wooden lure ever invented. Patented on January 30, 1883, the Flying Hellgrammite is the first known imitation of an insect, the Dobson Fly, and the first to feature glass eyes. It consists of a 2 5/16” wooden body, red glass eyes, two spinning nickel-plated blades with red accents and three treble hooks. Some lures had a feathered treble added at the end. Comstock only made this lure for eight months before the patent was sold to Pflueger who added luminous paint to the blades. The Pflueger Flying Hellgrammite was manufactured for only two years ending production in 1885.