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Clear H2O

By Doug Bucha, Antique tackle historian

1907 Pflueger 3-hook Underwater MinnowThe Pflueger Manufacturing Company was one of the six largest fishing tackle manufacturing companies in the United States during the 20th century, all of which originated in Michiana.

The other companies that were a part of the "big six" were South Bend, Paw Paw, Heddon (Dowagiac), Shakespeare (Kalamazoo), and Creek Chub (Garrett, Ind.).

The company started out as the American Fish Hook Company in 1864. They manufactured fishhooks only, as the name implies. In 1886 the company was incorporated and renamed the Enterprise Manufacturing Company of Akron, OH, and under the leadership of Ernest F. Pflueger, the company changed its logo to "Pflueger" at the turn of the century.

The next gathering for antique tackle collectors will be held at Heddon Museum August 12 at 6:30 p.m.

The meeting will be held at the former Heddon factory at 414 West St. in Dowagiac, Mich. The Museum is located two blocks north and two blocks west of the Mc Donald's.

The famous South Bend Bass-Oreno was first made in 1915. The lure on the left is an early, no eye example and the one on the right is a 1920 example, with glass eyes.Two retired Michiana school teachers have presented their historical displays of antique tackle at the Niles Riverfest for 23 years and they’ll do it again this year at the Riverfront Park Aug. 2-3 from 9 a.m. until dusk.

Ric Ladonski will display over 100 fishing reels ranging in age from the turn of the century through the 1950s. Ric also has also become a national expert on the St. Joseph River’s “mother-of-pearl” antique button industry. He has put together an extensive display of fresh water pearls and mother-of-pearl items for everyone’s enjoyment.

Doug Bucha presents an extensive display of antique fishing lures, which were manufactured by various local companies such as Heddon (Dowagiac), South Bend Tackle Co.(South Bend), Shakespeare (Kalamazoo), Paw Paw Bait Co.(Paw Paw) and Creek Chub Bait Co. (Garrett, Ind.).