Willennar Genealogy Center’s collection is full of Throwback Thursday potential, so let’s get our #TBT on!
Garrett, Indiana is certainly known for its railroad history, but those who appreciate fishing may know it for another reason: the Creek Chub Bait Company.
Though it wasn’t officially incorporated until 1916, the Creek Chub Bait Company got its start around 1906, with the creation of the “Wiggler,” an innovative wooden lure designed with a moving metal lip which caused the lure to wriggle in the water like a tiny fish. The designer of this and other early Creek Chub lures was Henry S. Dills, the company’s inventor. George M. Schulthess and Carl H. Heinzerling came alongside Dills as the other founders of the company, which they named “Creek Chub” after a type of minnow.
Creek Chub quickly became known for its high-quality lures, which were surprisingly effective at catching fish. Painted by hand, the lures featured life-like shapes and beautiful, often intricate, detailing, which was part of their appeal. The company’s most popular lure was probably the “Pikie,” but other lures included the “Dingbat,” “Plunker,” and “Mitie Mouse.”
After plastic lures started to catch on, producing and selling wooden ones became more difficult, especially at Creek Chub’s level of quality—it was simply too expensive. Eventually the competition became too much, and in 1978, the company closed its doors. Today, its beautiful lures and catalogs are highly collectible among fans of antique fishing tackle. Want to see more of Garrett’s history? Click here and search for “JMS” and “Garrett.”