Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Jim-Bo, Part the Fourth (A Bill Stuart Update)

The Jim-Bo, Part the Fourth (A Bill Stuart Update)

Not long after Update 3 on the Jim-Bo hit the internets, I got a great email from Florida legend Bill Stuart. Bill, of course, has forgotten more about fishing tackle than I will know in ten lifetimes, and he sends on some information that even FURTHER illustrates the Jim-Bo, the bait I am now calling "The Lure That Would Not Die." Here is text of his email:

I am not sure that this adds anything to the story, and it is all from the story that I wrote in 1997 on J&R Tackle Company, Jim Bryan Manufacturing Co., and Star Bait Company, in Florida Lure Makers and Their Lures.
From our research J&R was the first company vehicle used and in addition to the Jim Bo they also made the “Little Jewel” tackle box which measured 6” X 7” X 13”.  It featured: Genuine Imported Mahogany; Solid Brass Hardware; Rubber Feet; Rubber Gasket Protects the Interior; Tray and Lid Lined With Mildew Resistant Cork; and, A Genuine Leather Handle.  It was billed as ”The World’s Finest Small Tackle Box.”  The price was $15 which included postage.
The first box or pocket catalog we found in a J&R box told all about the Jim Bo and how it was to be used.

The second box or pocket catalog informs us of a new lure the Wee Willie, and the photo shown is of a Florida Fishing Tackle Manufacturing Company, Inc. product named the Spark-A-Midget . 
I think that the fabric tail addition [to the Jim Bo] was made when Bryan moved to Hopkinsville, Kentucky. 
I don’t know if Bryan moved back to Largo from Hopkinsville, Kentucky, or if he sold the manufacturing rights to Star Bait Company. 
We do know that the Star Bait Company changed the name of the Jim Bo to the Wee Willie. Star Bait Company used the same 2 pc. card board yellow box as both J&R products.
The earliest Star Bait Company box or pocket catalog we found showed the Jim Bo picture with the fabric tail as the Wee Willie and priced it at $1 per lure, or 5 for $4 or 10 for $7, and you could pay for them with cash, check, money order or 3cent stamps. The box also had 4 additional inserts that were either noted or advertisements. 

The first insert was for a mold to make your own sinkers by the Reading Instrument Co. of Reading, Pa.  The second insert was probably only in boxes where they were sending lures on approval because it gives you 5 days of grace to either pay your $1 or return your lure.

The third insert was to announce a new color offering which was called “Black Silver.”  The fourth insert was to alert you to be on the lookout for Jim Bryan’s great new novel entitled All The Lord’s Images.  (In 1997 I was not able to locate the book.)

A later Star Bait Company box or pocket catalog shows the Wee-Willie with a hyphen in the name.  The Wee-Willie in the box is painted in gray scale with a yellow belly and black stripes with red splashes at the top fin, side fins, tail and chin.

This box or pocket catalog shows 8 new baits for sale, all of which had been products of Florida Fishing Tackle Manufacturing Company, Inc.  The 8 lures with their new names are as follows: The Poe Go was the Spark-A-Midget; The Lo Co was the Spark-A-Wiggle; the Bo Do was the Florida Pee Wee; the Mom Bo was the May Wes; the Som Bo was Bull Nosed Jig; the Baby-Jo was the Baby J Jig; the Jo Jo was the Dude (jig); and the Plato was the Dude Fly.

That is all that I know, and it may not add anything to the story, but I thought you should hear it!

Thanks so much to Bill Stuart for the information. Bill's one of the legendary fishing and tackle historians, and it would make sense that he has made more sense out of this lure than anyone else! As an aside, I can find no record of the book All the Lord's Images--anyone know where to get a copy???

-- Dr. Todd

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