Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Art of the Lure with Elissa Ruddick: The Michigan Life-Like Minnow

Patented on February 20, 1908, Jacob Hansen’s Michigan Life-Like Minnow was distributed by the Arntz Sporting Goods Company in Muskegon Michigan. It was made in a 3-3/4” five hook version and a 2-3/4” three hook version in nine colors. The unique vibrant and speckled paint jobs on these “NEAREST THING TO LIFE” minnows remind me of the Easter eggs I used to paint when I was a kid and when my kids were little!

No description compares to the one stated on the box paper:

“AFTER a long experience and careful study of Bait Casting and Trolling, we have gotten up this Bait, or in other words, the “Fisherman’s Friend.” It is made from selected Cedar, very strong and durable, and to represent a live minnow swimming. The improvement on this minnow over other makes, is the Jointed Tail portion, which is flexible, and when being drawn through the water the Three-Blade Propeller wiggles the Jointed Tail portion, and makes an excellent imitation of a live minnow while swimming.

It has been pronounced to be the most perfect casting and trolling bait ever put on the market and beats live bait.

The hooks are very easily detachable, and cannot possibly tangle or interlock, as they cannot swing forward. They can be replaced by any common treble hook, of any size or shape.

The bait is beautifully finished with a Special Water Proof Finish which prevents it from soaking water or peeling off. All spinners and hooks are heavily nickeled, thus preventing rust.”

The lures were complicated to make, so they were not manufactured for very many years, making them very tough to find today. The Michigan Life-Like Minnow, Jacob Hanson’s first commercially produced lure, remains at the top of many collector’s wish lists. This “Fisherman’s Friend” is a friend of mine indeed.

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

— Elissa Ruddick

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