I was reading Adrian Delbasty's third volume of his Collector's Guide to Louisiana Lures when I ran across a truncated selection for the B.F.W. Bait Company of Shreveport, Louisiana. I thought I'd fill in a few gaps for this interesting company.
B.F.W. Bait Company of 6204 West Canal Boulevard of Shreveport sold two kinds of baits under the "Wilson's Special" brand. I've been told that the "W" in B.F.W. stood for B.F. Wilson, hence the name of the lures.
The first lure was "Wilson's Special Snake" which was a rubber lure shaped, not surprisingly, like a snake. It was made in one size, 11" (WW-1) and 3/8 ounces, and came in six colors: red (R), black (B), blue (BL), yellow (Y), brown (BR), and black with white tail (BWT). It sold for $9.00 per dozen ($5.40 wholesale) in 1960.
The second lure is the "Wilson's Dragon Fly" which came in two sizes, the regular size (3.5" length, 3.5" wingspan, and 5/8 ounces -- company code WW2) and the "Wilson's Fly Rod Dragon Fly" (2" length, 2" wingspan, 1/4 ounce). They came in six colors: natural (N), clear wings and blue body (C&BL), clear wings and black body (C&B), black wings and black body (B&B), and clear wings and yellow body (C&Y). The regular size retailed for $12.00 per dozen ($7.20 wholesale) and the fly rod size sold for $7.80 per dozen ($4.68 wholesale).
The history behind this firm is murky, but as far as I can tell they were in business as early as 1958 when they showed up in the Straus-Frank Company catalog. Straus-Frank was a San Antonio, Texas wholesaler.
The B.F. Wilson baits seem to be pretty rare. Adrian Delbasty's book shows a "Wilson's Special Snake" and I've seen a "Wilsons Dragon Fly" at a show before. But I've never seen a fly rod model.
Does anyone have one of these in their collection?
-- Dr. Todd