You can argue all day long about what Heddon lure was the most popular over the course of time. I’d hate to count the number of Zara Spooks that have sold over the years or even the old River Runt. Both of these lures have had a cult-like following for years and the fact that the Spook is still one of the best topwater baits is proof how good it is.
But in 1975 Heddon went a different direction. One that may have had an adverse impact on their company – or maybe it set the stage for something big.
I know when I saw that Heddon had come out with a Budweiser lure I laughed. I wondered why they’d do it – it certainly wouldn’t catch fish. No one I knew owned one, or admitted they did anyway.
What I didn’t realize back then was this bait would become a collector’s dream, a hit in Japan and it actually caught fish.
The Big Bud was a promotional lure designed for the Budweiser company and is still in production today. Many versions have been sold internationally and it wasn’t only Bud that got the advertising love on its sides. Heddon/PRADCO did paint schemes for Coors and U.S. Tobacco.
The crazy lure was introduced to Japan in 1977 and from there it went on to cult status. Anglers and collectors would custom paint the baits and actually formed clubs where only the Big Bud could be used.
Although I never expected the bait to work, my Japanese contacts said it was known as one of the best wake baits. Thinking about it, the bait has the properties that would make it such – a thick body and the tail blade would rattle. I guess I need to listen more to what Stan Fagerstrom has been saying the last few months – “never assume you know everything about the black bass.”
If you’re interested in reading more about the Big Bud, here’s a great article on Antique Fishing Lures.