Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Art of the Lure with Elissa Ruddick: The “Dowagiac No. 2”

When I hear the term “No. 2,” I think of … well, I think of the same thing that you think of! So, why would a lure company call a lure they produced by such a name? Maybe they referred to it by that name because it is the 2nd lure they offered; actually a 2nd version of Heddon’s first commercially produced “Dowagiac Expert.” We may never really know, but if you read Heddon’s description of their “No. 2,” it sure seems to go along with what I think of when I hear that term!

The 1902 Heddon catalog states: “Herewith is shown an illustration of our “Dowagiac No. 2,” which is a surface bait, and in all respects the same as the “Expert” except it has four trebles (12 hooks) instead of two trebles (6 hooks). As heretofore stated, we believe a multiplicity of hooks to be, on the whole, of more disadvantage than advantage, adding practically nothing to the catching capacity of the lure, while presenting numerous disagreeable features, chiefly among which is the murderous gaffing of your already securely captured fish, thus, preventing that splendid “playing,” which attribute has given the bass his exalted position among game fish and is so pleasing to the true sportsman. We do not advocate the use of the “No.2,” but offer this pattern to those who hold to the false theory of “more hooks, more fish.”

Now wouldn’t that just make you want to order scores of these? Man, if you wanted one of these, you must be a non sportsman, bass murdering idiot! Perhaps the original owner of this combo was too embarrassed to actually take it out and use it, for fear that someone might actually see him with it! The appeal of the “Dowagiac No. 2” is far from “crappy” to a lure collector of today though, as a matter of fact quite the contrary. I do get Heddon’s point that they already had the perfect casting bait, the Expert, but to offer their “No. 2” in such a “crappy” manner, had to make anyone who wanted to purchase one feel like, well … “No. 2”!

If you have any questions/comments, Elissa Ruddick can be reached at elissaruddick AT aol DOT com.

-- Elissa Ruddick

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