They may not have been as big as Mister Twister, Creme or Mann’s Jelly Worms but the J.W. Lures Company was definitely on the map back in the early to late ‘70s. In 1973 their 13-inch Hawg Hunter worm set a record for the largest bass ever weighed in at a B.A.S.S. tournament, a 12-13 monster caught by Bob Tyndall out of Rodman Pool. A couple years later their 4-inch Ding-A-Ling was one of the first worms Don Iovino used to develop his Doodling technique prior to having Jim Smith of Smitty worms make one that would eventually display the Doodle King name.
One that you may have forgotten, though, was the Sweet Willie, backed by smallmouth bass expert Billy Westmorland. The worm was supposedly designed because of the increasing use of light line and rods – or what they still hadn’t defined as finesse fishing.
The worm, made in 5-1/2 and 7-1/2-inch lengths, was thin in diameter and was touted to allow better hook penetration with the lighter lines. They came in a number of solid and firetail colors and cost around 85¢ per 5-pack or $12.00 per 100-pack out of the Bass Pro Shops catalog.
I did a quick Internet search to see if I could find any info out about the company and all I got was a couple hits regarding trademarks. Evidently J.W. Lures trademarked their bait names all around the 1980 timeframe – some years after they’d started business. Then in 1988 all of their trademarks got cancelled and they presumably went out of business. What’s interesting is the name of the company still exists and there’s a correspondent/attorney associated with the company name. Being averse to talking with attorneys, I decided not to give them a call and prod any deeper into what happened with the company.