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Shur-Strike and Creek Chub Plunkers

22 Sep

Comparing Shur-Strike Plunkers and Creek Chub Plunkers

The Shur-Strike Plunker which was the economy or trade line of Creek Chub was first cataloged in 1938. Creek Chub used the same “Humpback” style of the first Creek Chub version, but there are some distinct differences to help a collector differentiate.

Creek Chub came out with their first version of the Plunker in 1927 for their main line or brand. The body style was referred to as the “Humpback” version as shown in the picture below.

Creek Chub only continued with this style for a few years. The picture of the Humpback style remained until 1938 in the catalog, but Creek Chub was known for leaving old pictures in the catalog for several years before changing the advertising. In the early 30’s the Plunker took on a longer sleeker style as shown in the picture below.

This version would remain until the 60’s when it was changed to a plastic version.

The Shur-Strike version used a small cap/washer in the tail where the hook was attached.

There could be some rare examples with no cap/washer at all, and the screw was used directly into the tail with no other hardware. I believe any examples of these would be a quality control issue where it was missed at the plant, or possibly a fisherman removed it when changing the hook. I have 21 examples of Shur-Strike Plunkers in my collection, and only one does not have a washer/cap in the tail. The Creek Chub Humpback Plunkers had a small cup in the tail as opposed to a cap/washer. This is noticeably different from the pictures below.

Shur-Strike Plunker compared to Creek Chub Humpback Plunker

If you look closely at both the Shur-Strike Plunker and the Creek Chub Humpback version, you will notice that the Creek Chub is somewhat more round shouldered. This is a very slight variation, but can be used to help differentiate.

Another difference is the position of the eyes on the lure. The Shur-Strike version eyes were placed 6/16” (3/8”) from the front of the eye socket to the mouth. The Creek Chub Humpback Plunker was 4/16” or (1/4”)slightly closer to the mouth. The Shur-Strike versions of the front cup are also slightly farther from the mouth as well.

The last and most important difference is color schemes. Creek Chub and Shur-Strike had different color schemes so knowing the different colors will help determine the brand. Red/White is a color both brands used, so you definitely need to go to other steps to confirm.
It is also important to note that the color schemes changed over the years. The scale pattern used by Creek Chub was larger on the older lures and also covered more of the belly on the older patterns. Creek Chub started stenciling the back of their lures around 1935 as well, and as far as I know, none of the Humpback Plunkers have a stencil on the back. We know the Standard thinner body Plunker was being used in 1935 or earlier, since many of these have been found with stencils and without. Color patterns changed on the Shur-Strike brand as well. The 06 Shiner Scale color is a great example. It started with a brownish green color around the eyes and back when first introduced in 1932. The color changed to black color around the eyes and back around 1938.

The later version of the Creek Chub Plunker is the thinner longer body style as previously indicated. This design of the Plunker preceded the Shur-Strike design. It was simple for Creek Chub to bring back the Humpback design for Shur-Strike with a few modifications, so that the Shur-Strike design was not competing against the main line.

An example of a Shur-Strike Plunker and a Creek Chub Humpback Plunker are shown below.

The Shur-Strike is in 06 Shiner Scale color with the black around the eyes and back. The Shur-Strike Plunker was first cataloged in 1938, so the color scheme is confirmed. The washer/cap appears on the tail, and the eye socket is 3/8” from the mouth. The cup on the bottom hook is 11/16” from the front of the cup to the mouth. Everything checks out to be Shur-Strike. The Creek Chub example is in Golden Shiner color. The color scheme is correct for the late 20’s in scale style, and was cataloged. The body is also more rounded than the Shur-Strike. There is no stencil, which confirms it is pre 1935. The cup appears on the tail, and the eyes are closer to the mouth at 1/4”. The bottom cup is 10/16” which is closer than the Shur-Strike. This confirms it is an early Creek Chub Humpback Plunker.

Keep in mind that it is best to confirm more than one of the factors above to make an ID. Creek Chub was not perfect, and sizes can vary slightly.

Values of Vintage Lures For Beginners

2 May

Did you inherit some vintage lures from a relative and want to sell them? Maybe your neighbor or a friend dropped off an old tackle box since they knew you were a fisherman and wants your help. Or maybe you just want to find the value for the lures you have and plan on keeping them. It doesn’t matter how you obtained them, selling or valueing them could be overwhelming at first!

Collectors might tell you to go to Ebay and look at sold items. That might be easy for seasoned collectors, but most vintage lures do not have a name on them. Without a name you can’t look them up…… Even seasoned collectors have trouble identifying unmarked lures!

There are a few ways to identify lures, here are a few.

Books: Carl Luckey, Karl White, have put out books for all types of vintage lures. These are best for beginners instead of buying ”specialist” books on one maker or brand. Here’s a tip, look at the style of the lure including the hardware and eyes to simplify your search. Warning: Books often provide values, however, values get outdated quickly, so don’t rely on values in books. At best they can give you a guideline on values.

Facebook: Join Facebook groups that help. There are pages that specialize in Identification like “Identify Pre 1980 Fishing Lures” and pages like “Antique Fishing Tackle Collectors”.

Google: Google has a new feature that allows you to shoot an image of the item and it brings up similar images on the web.


Network: Find a few collectors that are willing to help you out. Be careful not to abuse another collectors knowledge, remember it is a two way street. The NFLCC is a fantastic club to join, and if you are in Florida, Carolinas, or Texas, they all have clubs as well.

Now your off and running….. Once you know what you have, its time to go to Ebay sold items and try to get values. Looking at completed listings can give you an idea of unsold items too, and that can tell you if your price is attainable. There are many other sites and Facebook pages you can go to on the web in order to get values like Worthpoint, Live Auctioneers, ”Deal or no Deal” on Facebook, and Vintage Lure Shows put on by the NFLCC club. “Tackle Find” is another app that you can find in the App store for high end lures.

Next you need to determine the condition of the lure and the color. For instance, A Creek Chub Pikie in Perch color might be worth $40 in excellent condition, but the same lure and color in Poor condition might be $5. A special order Pikie in White Scale color in excellent condition might be a $250 lure. As you can see, Condition and Color are extremely important in determining values. There are also variations in hardware, and material that determine age of the lure that can also contribute to value changes. Boxes and paperwork in the boxes with the lure, can more than double the value of your find as well!

If you get overwhelmed, don’t feel bad, we all have been there. Learning takes time, but research and information you obtain is part of the fun!

The Bass Whipper

31 Mar

So what is a Bass Whipper? Well, the story starts with a small company called Wayne Hardware Co.


Wayne Hardware had two locations, one in Fort Wayne Indiana, and the other in South Bend Indiana. Wayne Hardware started in Ft. Wayne in the early 20’s and lasted into the 70’s.

This “Bass Whipper” box confirms Creek chub branded an exclusive lure box for Wayne Hardware! The box has color codes only used by Creek ChubThere has been a mystery on which lure would have been used for this box for many years. Since the box claims this bait was made exclusively for Wayne Hardware, it is assumed that Creek Chub was testing the waters on a new design, or Wayne Hardware wanted to brand this lure as other companies have done using the Creek Chub Shur-Strike line. 


 Since the Shur-Strike line was predominately used when Creek Chub branded lure boxes, it would make sense this would have been a Shur-Strike lure like the Bass Oreno. Checking all the color codes for Shur-Strike, all codes match except the  #11 black and white luminous. The next test was to check all the codes and see if there was a match for the main Creek Chub line. Bingo! We have an exact match for just one lure! 

This picture from  Harold Smith’s second edition confirms the colors that the Skipper came in and the years of production.  Whipper….. Skipper….. Even the name rhymes!

The graphics of the box seem to fit in with the time period when the Skipper was released, so it appears that Creek Chub worked with Wayne Hardware to test this bait before it was released under the main line in 1936.

I also wanted to point out that finding one of these boxes is extremely hard to do! Only a few exist in collections, which also confirms the short life span of the Bass Whipper.

Pikie color Bass Whipper/Skipper with Bass Whipper store code box.




Special Shur-Strike Sarasota Revealed

29 Oct

The Creek Chub Sarasota lure is one of the most interesting and unsuccessful lures that Creek Chub produced. Yes, that is right, I said unsuccessful…. The Sarasota had a short history, first produced in 1927, and vanished from the catalog in 1931.

Creek Chub Sarasota in Golden Shiner Color

 Why was Creek Chub so unsuccessful with this lure, and why was Heddon so successful? The old timers will tell you that the Zaragossa with the line tie in the center of the nose out-performed the Creek Chub Sarasota with the line tie in top of the nose.  
Heddon Zaragossa

To understand where the Shur-Strike Sarasota fits into the mix, one must connect the dots from the early catalog information, and known examples, to try to put the puzzle together. The archival Creek Chub catalogs of the Shur-Strike brand of the Sarasota started right from the beginning in 1932.

1932 catalog picture

This catalog portrays the Sarasota with the top nose tie in just one color Pikie, J-0. No known examples of the lure in this color exist, but I do have a box that shows the color code.
Shur-strike J-0 box

In 1933 the catalog shows 2 models being produced and again shows the top of the nose line tie.

1933 catalog picture

The colors were Golden Shiner, (Gold Scale as it is referenced here), and Rainbow. Keep in mind that Creek Chub discontinued their Sarasota in 1931, and Shur-Strike started in 1932. Was the decision to try selling this product through the economy line since it was not successful in the main line? This sounds logical from the time-line. Here’s where it really gets interesting……. This 1934 Belknap Hardware store catalog shows the Shur-Strike lures they began selling, and the offering included the Sarasota. Belknap was a large wholesale hardware company that purchased lures from Creek Chub.

1934 Belknap Hardware catalog

enlarged picture of Spinnered Sarasota

The Sarasota was offered in two colors J-2 and J-9 in the above catalog which are the Shur-Strike codes for the Sarasota. The big difference is that the picture clearly shows the center nose tie with the spinners. The elusive Spinnered Sarasota as collectors have dubbed this version, was sold as a Shur-Strike product!
Spinnered Sarasota in golden shiner

Spinnered Sarasota in red white courtesy of Lang’s Auction

This also leads to another question, did the Shur-Strike version start as the top nose line tie, and then move to the spinnered version in 1934, or was the Creek Chub/Shur-Strike catalog pictures incorrect? If you have collected for a long time, you will know that a lot of these early catalogs had errors, and often used old pictures. As you can see from this rainbow version, (provided by Chris Labuz) the line tie was moved to the nose without the spinners, possibly the first Shur-Strike version.

Nose Tie Sarasota, Chris Labuz

Creek Chub Sarasota, Stuart Strange

Was it the poor performance of the lure the reason Creek Chub changed to a center nose line tie? It would seem so, and since their competitor Heddon, used the center nose tie, so why not move it in that position. The question will still remain are the nose tie and spinnered Sarasota lures exclusively a Shur-Strike product, or were they produced in the main line as well. The Rainbow, Red/White, and Golden Shiner Colors were used in both lines on the Sarasota. However, Green Scale was a Shur-Strike color and not a color used on the main line. In the picture below this Sarasota was produced in Green Scale and originally had a center nose tie before it was altered by a fisherman and moved to the top of nose. Questions still remain, but my opinion is the nose tie and spinnered style can be attributed to the Shur-Strike line.

Shur-Strike Lure Boxes

26 Mar

Creek Chub kept their regular lure box design the same for almost 50 years! With the Shur-Strike brand, they went through 4 different boxes in the span of 15 years! What gives?

Let’s take a deeper look into the boxes and the timeframes as it not only helps determine the lure for the box, but also helps undertand the mystery and mystique of this misunderstood line of lures.

The first box was the yellow box that had the same graphics as the Strikemaster box which was a defunct Indiana lure manufacturer. My theory is that Creek Chub and Strikemaster both used the Ft Wayne box company to produce their boxes, and now that Strikemaster was out of business, using their design was something that saved them money when starting this new economy line of branded lures.  Strikemaster was out of business around 1929, and it was 1931, the Great Depression was starting and any cost they could save was huge.

The yellow boxes will have the “alphabet code” numbers on the end. Creek Chub gave the early lures a letter code as the style, and a numeric code for the lure. For instance, A-8 was for a Slant Nose, in color code 8 which was for rainbow. Some of the boxes, will have the NRA stamp, which Creek Chub used on their boxes in the mid thirties.

The Shur-Strike line was expanded in 1936, and they started using the letters of the style name in the lure number. For instance the BO Style was for the Bass Oreno Style lure that was the copy of the South Bend lure, and they changed to the all green box. I am not sure why they changed to green, but it did correspond to the introduction of several new Lure styles that were mostly all copies of their main line or other manufacturer lines.

The next lure box was the blue/orange box which was more colorful and seemed to run through the war line was shut down.  With the war in full swing in 1943, the lure production was basically grinding to a halt for the Shur-Strike line. The brand came back in the 50’s when they partnered with Montgomery Wards and a few other retailers.

The all blue box is very misunderstood. This box was used in conjunction with their largest customer Shapleigh Hardware. The codes on the blue boxes all match the Shapleigh catalog codes. They all start with S, and then have a 4 digit code. The first two numbers are for the lure style and the last two are for the color. S8704 for instance is for the Paw Paw Mouse in red/white color. It could have been used for other retailers, as I have found other retailer catalogs that used the S code, but more likely they just customers of the master distributor, Shapleigh.

Finally there are many individual retailers that had their own box for Shur-Strike lures. That makes sense, as the whole idea of the Shur-Strike brand was to give retailers their own identity in the lure market. Some of the boxes include, True Value, Gateway, Vee Bee, Montgomery Wards, and many more. We know Creek Chub was getting these boxes made for these companies as we have found the Creek Chub label over wrapped on some of these retailer boxes!

   Creek Chub label over a Play Days Branded box. 

Hope this helps clear up some mysteries, and helps explain the mysterious Shur-Strike brand.

Top Ten Shur-Strike Lures

10 Jun

What are the best Shur-Strike lures to collect? Well, this is a completely subjective question, and there is no correct answers here.  Collectors are drawn to Shur-Strike for many reasons. They may love the colors, or the mystique that surrounds the brand, or maybe they just love quality lures…..Yes, the Shur-Strike were the economy line of Creek Chub, but the quality of lures made by Creek Chub were quite evident in the Shur-Strike line. Glass eyes, several coats of quality paint, and durable hardware, made these lures some the finest lures made in the 30’s and 40’s. 

Back to topic… the following is my top ten lure styles that were part of the Shur-Strike line. Hope you enjoy!

#10     The Midget Diver

This lure was exclusively made for Western Auto Stores. western Auto named the lure in their 1942 Catalog and provided 5 different colors. The lure is spinning size Runt Lure, and came in some great new colors made for Western Auto. 

#9     Fly Rod River-Master

This fly rod lure was made in several colors including red/white, red side, Pikie, silver flash, perch. The shape is similar to the regular rivermaster lure, so it must have been introduced after 1939. This lure was not cataloged, and is very hard to come by.  

#8     Concave Belly Darter

This lure style “concave belly” was introduced in the early 30’s, many years before Creek Chub came out with their version.  The glass eyes, and body shape makes this lure very desirable.  

#7     3 Hooker

The line would not be complete without a 3 hook Underwater Minnow.  Most competitors of Creek Chub had underwater multiple hook lures, either 3 hook or 5 hook. I believe this was Creek Chub’s way to compete. 

#6     Gar Minnow

The GM Series was also an Underwater Minnow. It was belly weighted so that it did not float like other lures of its shape like the Heddon Torpedo.  The lure had spinners on front and rear, unless you special ordered it, and Creek Chub would accommodate with one or no spinners. 

#5    Shovel Nose

The Style H or Shovel Nose had a very unique shape. A long sloping nose made it different than any Creek Chub lure, and resembled the Paw Paw/Moonlight lure. Creek Chub may have used the Shur-Strike line to test designs for the main line.  

#4 Sarasota 

This was a direct copy of the main line lure. There has been discussion that the line tie was on the tip of the nose and not under the chin on the Shur-Strike line. So very few of these have turned up, so it was a short lived unsuccessful lure under the Shur-Strike brand. 

#3     Metal Faced Darter

This is one of the most unique Shur-Strike lures. The flat plate attached to the head would give this lure an interesting swimming motion. This lure was not cataloged, so it must have been made for a specific retailer. I have not been able to determine a code # or a retailer that this lure is tied to. 

#2     Round Nose Pikie

The Round Nose Pikie, or #4 as it was listed in the 1933 catalog, was only made for a year or so. It was the “Intro Pikie” so it does hold historical significance. The round head and inserted lip gave it a distinguishable appearance,  much different than the regular line Pikie.  

#1     Lobotomy Wiggler

There is no doubt in my mind this is the #1 Shur-Strike Lure! One of the earliest coming out in 1932, coming in Golden Shiner color, and having such a crazy body style make this lure incredible! Add to that the name Lobotomy Wiggler, and the rarity, and you have the greatest Shur-Strike Lure!


The many faces of Shur-Strike Pikies

22 Dec

The evolution of the Shur-Strike Pikie lure took on many faces over the short span of 15 years or so. In 1932, Creek Chub decided to make a more economical lure to deal with the Great Depression, and the Shur-Strike brand was born.

Here is a picture of catalog from 1932 that revealed the first offering of Shur-Strike lures that included the Round Nose Pikie, simply called a Series 4.farwell 009

The above page was published in the NFLCC Gazette, and attributed to Charles Huffman. To further confirm the introductory date of the Shur-Strike brand, a 1932 Farwell, Ozmun, and Kirk Hardware catalog shows a Shur-Strike Style A and B.

farwell 010



The 1932 catalog page from Huffman, confirms the Pikie was one of the first lures Creek Chub came to market with under the Shur-Strike brand.  The catalog confirms that the Shur-Strike version differed significantly from the traditional Creek Chub Pikie.

The jointed round nose style of Pikie was introduced in 1933 a year after the straight version. The round nose version of the jointed is extremely hard to find, and only a few examples are known. The colors listed were Pikie and Frog on the Series 4, and W/R & Silver/Black Head on the jointed. The 1932 catalog had R/W and Pikie as the two colors on the Series 4.

pikies 2 014

pikies 2 002

Round Nose

This round nose style must not have been accepted well with the fishing public, but the Shur-Strike line was thriving. A year or so later, the Pikie took on a slimmer look, more in line with the all ready successful, Creek Chub version. Notice the flat head, and sleeker body, but the same inserted lip as on the previous model. I have found the intro-round nose with two positions for the line tie, and it appears they settled on the snout tip for now in the early to mid thirties. That would change again in due time.

pikies 2 011

Flat Head Insert Lip

I would like to note that during this timeframe, Creek Chub introduced another lure that gets confused with the intro round nose Pikie, but was a completely different style lure. The HV style which stood for Heddon Vamp Style, was introduced around 1935/1936. It was developed to compete with their arch rival’s  Heddon Vamp lure. Notice the indented area around the eyes that was the signature of the Heddon lure. The Shur-Strike HV was moderately successful, but had only about a 4 year run until around 1939, when it disappeared from the catalog offering.

pikies 2 007

HV Series

The next version of the Pikie, came with the introduction of the ventral lip. This lip was applied to bottom of the lure for more stability, and was cupped. The eyes took on the indented look of the HV series. The line tie is now moved to under the nose and above the cupped lip. I am sure this was all part of trying to improve the action of the lure as well. The final change was back to the rounder head, and the ventral lip.

pikies 2 013

Indent Eye & Flat Head Ventral Lip

Collecting Shur-Strike Pikie lures can be daunting task with all the variations over the years, collecting jointed, baby, and midget versions, and not to mention all the standard and special order colors. I have found several special colors over the years, and even a double line tie (DLT), similar to what Creek Chub provided on their main line.

pikies 2 004

Under Chin Line Tie

It should be noted that you could order the tack eye versions of these lures around 1938, as an option to save a penny or two. If you are CCBCO collector, this was not an option on the main line lures. CCBCO eventually went to tack eye, but not until the 60’s on the main line. Some retailers even ordered the baby size Shur-Strike Pikie in painted eye. These are actually very hard to find, but do come up, usually mis-identified as a Paw Paw or something else.

pikies 2 012

Variety of Pikies

In conclusion, the Pikie may have been one of the most common Shur-Strike lures sold, but the variations are endless, making it a very challenging lure to collect!

Mixing up Creek Chub and Shur-Strike Lures

14 Aug

Most collectors are well aware of the great imagination of Creek Chub lures and specials they created over the years. It was once said, that if you were willing to buy a dozen, Creek Chub would make you a special! I’m not 100% sure that was the truth, but they sure did come out with a lot of specials over the years. 

One of the unique specials that Creek Chub would create was utilizing some of the amazing colors in their economy line, painted on the main line lures. Creek Chub never skimped on their economy Shur-Strike line. They used the same wood, used several coats of paint, and used the same glass eyes as used on the main line. There were some changes in the hardware, and since no flyers or advertising was needed, they could sell at a much cheaper price. 

This Pikie is an example of a how the Creek Chub put a fresh coat on an old lure with this Shur-Strike Shiner Scale (HP) color.  

What a lot of collectors don’t know, is that Creek Chub also used Shur-Strike lures, and painted them in Creek Chub colors, and sold them under the main line! Here’s an example of a Shur-Strike Gar Minnow, painted in Creek Chub Silver Flash new in Creek Chub Box, marked 18.  

These are just a few examples of the amazing specials created by Creek Chub. No wonder they are some fun to collect!

The Shapleigh Superstore

27 Jun

Shapleigh was a huge fishing tackle giant in the hardware industry in the 1930’s an 1940’s. In fact, they were Creek Chub’s largest customer in that time period. Shapleigh had enormous buying power, and used it to their advantage by acting as a middle man and selling to smaller hardware and tackle stores. 

One of the ways they marketed products was through Branding. They came up with brands for specific products like sporting goods and used “Diamond Edge” for many products. By branding their products, their customers would have to come back to them to buy products instead of buying from any hardware store. 

Creek chub sold their Shur-Strike branded lures to Shapleigh. Shapleigh took it a step further by utilizing a # code system that was different than the standard Shur-Strike codes. For instance, Creek Chub used the code BO-0 for a Shur-Strike Bass Oreno style in Pikie color. Shapleigh had Creek Chub use the code S-7500.  These S codes threw Shur-Strike collectors for a loop, including myself, until catalogs for Shapleigh were discovered with the S Codes.  By using different number codes, buyers would have to come back to them to order specific lures if they didn’t know the names. It is also interesting to note, that all the Blue Boxes that Creek Chub used for the  Shur-Strike line, in the later years, have the S codes. 

Shapleigh also carried a wide line of Shur-Strike lures and added colors that were special for them. An example would be the color Minnow Scale with Red Head which was offered on the River Wobbler lures. They even brought back an old discontinued Shur-Strike Anteater Lure and gave it a new name called the “Mity Midget”. No other Resaler carried the number of Shur-Strike styles or colors that Shapleigh did. Shapleigh carried other manufacturer brands like Best O Luck by South Bend, Heddon, and others. 

So keep in mind Home Depot was not the first Hardware giant, it was actually Shapleigh!

A Florida Tackle Store and a Special Creek Chub Lure

20 Aug

Bob Kleisner’s Sport Shop was a fixture in West Palm Beach Florida for many years. They were unique, in that they ordered lures as “specials” to add that “special touch” for their customers.  Just a snap shot of the counter shows this store was loaded with tackle and supplies. 

(Photos above courtesy of Doug Brace)

This leads me to a discovery I made when I found a Creek Chub box marked 700 HP Special. The HP rang a bell, but I just couldn’t place it right away. While scanning some of my old Shur-Strike catalog information one night, I finally put two and two together. In the mid thirties, Creek Chub used the term “Heddon P finish” for the color they called Shiner Scale in their Shur-Strike line catalog. “P” is the color designation that Heddon used for Shiner Scale, so the color Creek Chub was using is a match. They just couldn’t use the Heddon name on boxes, so this special color was designated HP. 

(Shur Strike catalog entry)

( 700 Pikie in box)

I have found several Creek Chub lures painted in this color including the 700 Pikie, 900 Pikie, Snook Plunker, and the 2600 Pikie. The most interesting lure I have seen is this color is the  2000 Darter which was in the marked box. This lure resides in the collection of Chris Labuz, and I have tried to pry it away from him, but he is holding on tight! 

Now the Kleisner connection.  On the box that that came with the lure, is a Kleisner Sport Shop stamp.  Chris’s lure came from the collection of Wayne Cox, and Wayne explained this lure and a 700 lure he had, came from Kleisner’s, as did a lot of other special Creek Chub lures he had in his collection before they were sold on Langs. 

(Special darter lure above, and Kleisner box stamp below courtesy of Chris Labuz)

It is always fun to solve a Lure mystery, and this is one that was especially gratifying, since it ties together Creek Chub, Shur Strike, and Florida Tackle Shops, three of my favorite areas of collecting!