Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Decline and Fall of the Creek Chub Bait Company

The Decline and Fall of the Creek Chub Bait Company

There are a lot of "What If" games one can play in fishing history; what if E.A. Pflueger had not left Enterprise Manufacturing Co. in 1906 to strike out on his own? What if South Bend, Shakespeare, and Heddon had all merged, as was reported, back in the early 1950s? What if the Creek Chub Bait Company had managed to stay in Garrett, Indiana in 1978?

The last of these "What If" scenarios was on my mind as I read an article by Dick Lundin, a florida outdoor writer, who penned the following piece on 12 September 1976.

If you catch a largemouth bass on a Creek Chub lure that is larger than the present record of 22-4 established in 1932 by George Perry while fishing in Montgomery Lake, Georgia, the Creek Chub Bait Company of Garrett, Indiana will pay you $1000. This announcement was made by the Haines, Wilson, Lukens & Grady Advertising, Inc., Muncie, Ind., 47305.

The big bass of Perry's has been a sitting duck for a myriad of bassers for more than four decades, yet with all of the sophisticated bass lures that have been devised since then, the record still stands.

Incidentally, Perry's fish, according to reports, succumbed to a No. 2401-W Creek Chub Wiggle Fish, a jointed plug weighing three fourths of an ounce.

Curiously enough, that new record bass, if and when caught, is unlikely to come from Central or South Florida. It seems that to live long enough to attain record proportions a largemouth bass must have a sort of hibernating season in the winter. Down here, bass forage for food the year around, grow quickly and age rapidly, so say the scientific reports.

So, if you're bent on bagging a real lunker bass that just might top 20 pounds, go north, basser, go north.

I've always thought that some tourister, fishing a 10-inch live shiner on North Florida's Lake Jackson under the tutelage of a veteran guide, might be the lucky one in the end.

What if, in some Georgia or Alabama backwater, an angler had read this, tied on an old Pikie Minnow or Wiggler 100, and boated a 23 pound largemouth? Would it have been enough to save the flagging fortunes of the Creek Chub Bait Company, or would it have been too-little, too-late? That, indeed, is the question. No doubt the contest, coming as it does as a kind of final national gasp for the firm, produced some positive press for the company, and likely drove up sales for a short while. But it was not enough to save the firm.

The question remains: was the demise of the Creek Chub Bait Company inevitable, or could it have been saved, even at this late date? Would it have taken a miracle bass to have saved Creek Chub?

-- Dr. Todd

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