Heddon’s Most Famous

1975 Heddon Big Bud ad.

1975 Heddon Big Bud ad.

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.

  • From Jeff Hahn:

    I wonder if the blade on the back of the Bud lure was the inspiration for the Waddle Bait?

    If anyone ever has trouble posting a comment to the site, please let us know by contacting us and we’ll see if we can solve the problem.


    • I wouldn’t doubt it Jeff. I don’t recall anyone else that attached a blade to a crank in that fashion.

  • Yuki

    In Japan, Bud went on to cult status, that’s right! lol
    I love it too. I use Bud is big fish bait as big swimbait.

    Around 2000 (maybe after 2001), some followers were made in Japan (ex. Jackall Bunny. Recently Imakatsu Waddle buggy.). I remember Katsutaka Imae who is founder of Imakatsu introduced a prototype of Bud type in Japanese Magazine “Bass World” after 2001. He won a Japanese tournament in 2001, the winning bait was modified Bud. I guess that is why Japanese still go wild Bud lure.

    Anyway I love original Bud include bill angle. I have the same idea, Bud is a wake bait. But Bud is special for me. Because of the body which has high buoyancy, the bill or lip angle is very shallow angle (about 24 degrees) looks like a deep diving crankbait’s lip angle. Usually a wake baits have steeper angle lip like 90 degrees. I love this design and history of designer’s cleverness.

    • Yuki,

      Thank you for the great reply! It’s great to hear from someone from Japan about the history of the Big Bud over there. Thank you for your participation!