Florida fisherman in the late 20’s and early 30’s were catching massive bass. Florida had fertile waters for bass and fisherman were making special trips from the Northeast and Midwest to Florida to fish for their favorite catch the largemouth bass.
Presidents such as Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and Grover Cleveland, came to Florida to fish for bass in these waters, along with many of the rich and famous of the time.
Bait manufacturers noticed this and designed baits for the Florida waters. Most baits that were designed for Florida waters were topwaters since most of the lakes were shallow, but a Florida tackle company called Eger developed a torpedo shaped lure with belly weights and spinners, and called it the Dillinger, named after the famous criminal that was reeking havoc in the streets of Chicago.
Eger developed a red stripe and black stripe Dillinger lure for Florida waters. I am not sure if this was something Eger came up with, or was brought to them by fisherman, but it caught on and was one of the most successful color/lure combinations for the company.
Other bait manufactures saw the success of Eger, and copied the style and color Eger developed. Eger patented the color pattern in 1936, and was quite protective of the pattern, especially the dotted line around the eyes. Creek Chub came out with their version of this bait in 1937 under the Shur Strike line as the “R” Series. They re-introduced it as the Gar Minnow in 1939 and cataloged the Eger color pattern. It appears that they only sold the dotted eye pattern with the stripes for about a year before Eger put an end to that. After that, they moved to a full shaded color around the eye, and continued to sell that color pattern for many years.
Paw Paw also decided to jump in the game, and called their lure the Southern Torpedo. They made the eye pattern with an arrow, and used rhinestone eyes. Paw Paw got away with the dotted eye pattern and stripes on many other lures like the Pikie type, even though Eger had those lures in their line as well. The reason…… Eger patented the dotted eye/striped paint pattern on the Dillinger lure only in 1936……. It was specifically in the patent on the Dillinger lure, but they did not patent it on the other lures styles!
As it turns out all three companies were successful with this style lure, and made various color patterns as well. No one can deny Florida had an impact on the lure makers designs!
Top Lure: Paw Paw with glass eyes replacing factory rhinestone eyes
Middle Lure: Eger lure with tack eyes
Bottom Lure: Shur Strike glass eye lure with dotted eye pattern