The Heddon Tadpolly Spook was introduced as “NEW” in this two-part advertisement in the May 1952 issue of Outdoor Life magazine. As is usually the case, great things were expected. It was a lure that had good action, floated at rest and traveled five or six feet under the surface when retrieved. It was light for its 3 inch length weighing only 3/8 oz. A spinning size was introduced the following year in 1953.
With the introduction of Coho Salmon into the Great Lakes and a growing interest in trolling for Coho, Brown Trout and Steelhead in those same bodies of water an odd thing happened. Someone discovered that the somewhat forgotten Tadpolly was a very effective lure in this new venue. Tadpolly sales skyrocketed and new colors, new sizes, and models with internal rattles soon hit the market. By the 1980's at least seven different models were on the market. The original bait was equipped with standard Heddon surface hardware, light hooks and a screw eye line tie. None of this was nearly strong enough handle a large salmon. My guess is that many a Coho swam off with hooks or part of the lure before Heddon came to the rescue. Internal metal plates were soon molded into the plastic body which provided a greatly strengthened line tie as well as hook attachments. Some changes were also made over the life of the Tadpolly in the shape of certain models to add structural strength to the lure.
With the introduction of so many new and sometimes bazaar colors, the Tadpolly has taken on a third life as a natural for the “color collector” of Heddon Plastics.
-- Bill Sonnett