Pork once had a near and dear place in many a bass anglers’ tackle boxes. When jig and pigs became THE bait of the tournament winning pros, everybody probably had a few jars stashed somewhere in the boat. That lasted for a while, but then the technology behind pouring plastics advanced, and the next thing you know, pork was on a fast track to oblivion. Terry covered the topic and one such company in his piece on Pedigo’s last year.
I ran across an ad in a June 1967 Boston Store catalog page this past weekend that mentioned a pork company I had never heard of, the Lutz Pork Bait Co., so I had to do a little research. The old Fishing News/Boston Store ads were really neat because they would only advertise and sell stuff they used and wrote about in the newspaper, at least in the early days. This particular catalog ad said it was the ones “we” (Boston Store/Fishing news staff) carry, meaning the only ones you’d read about in the pages of their newspaper. They also mentioned this company as being big in the south, but being new to the north.
A little digging around found that the Lutz Co. hailed from Kansas City, Mo. They made both a floating version of their pork baits, as well as your standard version. They also had a dried version called “RE-FLEX ACTION” that you could carry in your pocket and simply bring to life by soaking it in water for about half a minute. They offered all your traditional fishing cuts/shapes, including a 4″ and 6″ eel, a 9″ snake, a spring lizard, baby frog, walleye strip, and a split tail trailer, all in a variety of colors. I didn’t buy my first pork baits until the early 80s (Uncle Josh), so I don’t know for certain whether they (Lutz) were still around 15 years after this ad appeared. Perhaps one of our readers might have heard of or even used their baits.
Anyway, the ad mentions that pork baits have been exceptionally good for 50 years, and since it was from 1967, that would suggest a history going back to the 1910s. Sure enough, I came across a patent issued back in 1914 (No. 97,989) by the US Patent Office to one Frank Lutz titled, “Pork Bait for Fishing.” But Lutz pork bait also preceded that patent as witnessed by the 1912 Forest & Stream ad in the opening picture. As an aside, Forest & Stream magazine was the chief competitor in those early days to the famous Field & Stream magazine, which ultimately absorbed the smaller competitor back in 1930.
I have also included a snapshot from the 1922 Catalog of Fishing Tackle by William Mills & Son of New York, featuring not only Lutz Pork Co., but also a couple other early competitors in the pork market, Al Foss pork strips and Jack’s Bait Wiggle Tail.