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Bomber Lures

 Bomber Lure Company / Bomber BaitsBomber Lures

Bomber Lures and the Bomber Bait Company of Gainesville, Texas.  One of my favorite lure companies. Owned by Pradco now and sadly they are not even producing the most iconic bait anymore, the original Bomber.  Well here we have them along with some history and so much more. Below are just some quick links to some great Bomber information.


See all of our Bomber Lures for sale here.

In the early 1940's, Ike Walker and C.S. "Turby" Turbeville fished their local Texas lakes and the deep brushy water of Lake Murray in Oklahoma.  Their favorite lure was the Creek Chub Crawdad, however they thought the 25 year old lure could be improved upon.  The Crawdad in their opinion had an erratic action and didn't dive deep enough for their local lakes.  They also experimented with the line tie and lip shapes and realized they could improve upon the design.  An idea was born.

These two north Texas fisherman soon set up in a garage used by Ike for his OK Tire and Rubber business and worked nights starting to manufacture their new lure.  Their first line ties were cut from Prince Albert Tobacco Tins and diving lips were cut from an old cook stove.  White Cedar was turned on a hand lathe and shoe eyes were used for hook hangers.  The finished products were all painted black to avoid reflection in the deep waters (colors other than black were not added until after 1946).  Soon they had their first prototypes, an early invention, the 'Bomber', a lure that wouldn't snag, even when dropped deep into the water. 

By 1944 a small business was set up.  Friends began requesting these baits, soon after so did local stores.  Their first operation was set up on Main Street in Gainesville with the office at 212 E. California St, Gainesville, Texas  They began to use a spray painter and experiment with scale patterns at this time.

In Sept 24, 1945 they applied for a patent on their new lure. (See a copy of the Patent here.)

In 1946 with the war over, the Bomber Bait Co. was incorporated.  A German machinist was hired to automate and standardize procedures and the produce the company's first automatic lathe.  The Art Wire Stamping Co was contracted to provide the lines ties and lips.

Around 1946 or 1947 the company moved its offices and assembly to 304 1/2 California St. in Gainesville.

A 1947 news article states that the Bomber Bait Company was "already making 1000 bombers a day -- a significant output for a lure that had yet to see national advertising!" and that "New machinery has been invented in Gainesville to speed up the process of manufacture. But it's still mostly hand work, like the eyes, which are of two colors--yellow with a black iris. They're made or painted on with a common nail. A worker dips the head into the yellow ink, applies to the lure, then dips the other end into black ink and dabs it in the center of the yellow."

In November 1951 the business moved to 326 Lindsay St. in Gainvesville were it would stay until it was sold to Pradco in 1966.???,.  In 1968 original management company sold to Van Ellis of Dallas.  Production of wooden Bombers was discontinued after 1971.  

 

Bomber Bait Co

  Former Bomber Bait Company Building, Lindsay St, Gainesville, TX in 2008 

 

 1964 May Bomber Ad

 May 1964 Advertisement for Bomber Lures

 

What sizes did Bombers come in?  You can see below the different size codes and corresponding lengths.  Please note unlike some other lures Bombers are measured including the lip.

 BOMBER SIZES LENGTH*
200 2 1/2"
300 2 3/4"
400 3 1/4"
500 3 1/2"
600 4"
600HD 4"

*overall length including lip 

 

 

BOMBER FAQ's & FUN FACTS

How do you tell the difference between a wooden and plastic Bomber fishing lure?

On the bottom of the diving lip a wooden Bomber will have a small screw holding it in place.  A plastic Bomber will not.  The same is true for Waterdog lures.

Where you can purchase original wooden and plastic Bombers?

These original "football" shaped Bombers can be purchased right here at MyBaitShop.com

Do you know what year the first plastic Bombers were made?

1949.  They were first produced in 1949 with a heavily reinforced lip.  This was the only year they were made in this manner.  They are affectionately referred to as "49ers" by collectors.

Is there a place I can see all of the colors of Bomber lures ever made?

Yes, in fact there is.  At MyBaitShop.com we are working with some of the best Bomber collectors in the world to put together a master color chart of all of the cataloged and uncatalogued colors of Bombers that we can find.

 

See all of our Bomber Lures for sale here.

 

 BOMBER COLOR CHART

Bomber Lures were made in so many great colors.  Colors to catch fish and some colors to catch fisherman.  Either way, so many great colors available.  You can see why Bombers were and still are so popular.  We have examples linked to show the colors of the Bomber lures we had available to us.  We will add more over time.

# NAME AND COMMENTS WHERE APPLICABLE PHOTO
01 WHITE
Bomber Color 1 White
02 BLACK
Bomber Color 2 Black
03

GREY SCALE

(1ST VERSION, TOP, WAS NOT USED VERY LONG.  2ND VERSION, BOTTOM, STARTED AROUND 1950.)

 

Bomber Color 3 Grey Scale
Color 3
04 RED HEAD / WHITE
Bomber Color 4 Red Head White
05 GREEN PERCH
Green Perch 5
06 WHITE / BLACK RIBS
Bomber Color 6 White Black Ribs
07 YELLOW PERCH
Yellow Perch 7
08 WHITE / BLACK SHADOW STRIPE Color 8
09 PEARL Color 9 Pearl
10 WHITE / RED TAIL AND HEAD Color 10
11

FROG

NOTICE WHITE BELLY VARIANT (STILL COLOR #11)

Frog 11

Frog 11 White Belly

12 ORANGE / BLACK RIBS Color 12
13 RED SIDE SCALE Color 13
14 BLACK / WHITE RIBS Color 14
15 CHRISTMAS TREE Color 15
16 BLACK / SILVER FLAKES Color 16
17 RAINBOW Color 17
18 BROWN SHAD Color 18
19 YELLOW / SILVER FLAKES Color 19
20 YELLOW / BLACK RIBS Color 20
21 CRAWDAD Color 21
22 CANDY Candy 22
23 BLUE SCALE Color 23
24 SILVER MULLET
25 WHITE WITH SPARKLES (SPECIAL ORDER) 25 Color White with Sparkles
26 YELLOW, RED SCALE (JIG)
27 ORANGE, BROWN SCALE (JIG)
28 WHITE, SILVER FLAKES (JIG)
30 BEE
31 WHITE, ONLY ON MIDGET BOMBERETTES (SAME AS 01) Color 31 Bomberette White
32 BLACK, ONLY ON MIDGET BOMBERETTES (SAME AS 02)
33 SILVER SCALE / BLACK BACK STRIPE Color 33
34 WHITE RED HEAD, ONLY ON MIDGET BOMBERETTES (SAME AS 04)
35 GREEN PERCH, ONLY ON MIDGET BOMBERETTES (SAME AS 05)
36 WHITE / BLACK DOTS Color 36
37 PINK / WHITE DOTS Color 37
38 GOLD SCALE Color 38
39 YELLOW / BLACK DOTS Color 39
40 SILVER SHAD Color 40
41 FROG VARIANT / FOUND ON MIDGET BOMBERETTES (SIMILAR TO 11) 41 Color Bomberette
42 ORANGE / BLACK DOTS Color 42
43 GREEN SHAD Color 43
44 BLACK / WHITE DOTS Color 44
45 WHITE / COLORED FLAKES, ONLY ON MIDGET BOMBERETTES Color 45
47 RAINBOW, ONLY ON MIDGET BOMBERETTES (SAME AS 17)
48 YELLOW BODY RED HEAD
49 SILVER
50 YELLOW BODY BLACK HEAD
51 WHITE RED SIDE FLITTER
52 YELLOW RED SIDE FLITTER
53 YELLOW DOG
54 GREEN BACK SILVER SIDE
55 COACHDOG color 55
56 BLACK MULLET
57 YELLOW BLACK SHADOW STRIPE (PREVIOUSLY CALLED WACO SPECIAL)
58 SMOKE
59 YELLOW COACHDOG
60 YELLOW (GUMPY JIG)
61 YELLOW AND BLACK BEETLE (SLAB SPOON)
62 RED HEAD SILVER SCALE
70 SILVER BLACK BACK YELLOW BELLY SILVER SPARKLE
71 PURPLE BACK / YELLOW BELLY / SILVER SPARKLE
72 BLACK BACK WHITE BELLY SILVER SPARKLE
73 BLUE MULLET
80 METASCALE SILVER BACK SHAD
81 METASCALE YELLOW BACK SHAD
82 METASCALE BLACK BACK SHAD
83 METASCALE GREEN BACK SHAD
84 METASCALE RED BACK SHAD
85 METASCALE ORANGE BACK SHAD
86 METASCALE PURPLE BACK SHAD
87 METASCALE BLUE BACK SHAD
88 GOLD METASCALE YELLOW SHAD
89 GOLD METASCALE WHITE SHAD
BB BABY BASS
BJ BLACK WHITE BEE
BM BLACK MULLET (STICK AND SPIN STICK)
BN BONE
BOBB BLAZE ORANGE TIGER
BOBB Color
BOMG BLAZE ORANGE GOLD METAL SCALE
BSBO LIGHT CRAWDAD
BY BROWN ON HOT YELLOW
FO FLUORESCENT ORANGE
FR FLUORESCENT RED Color FR
FRBD FLUORESCENT RED BLACK DOTS
FT FIRE TIGER FT - Fire Tiger Color
FY CHARTREUSE Color FY
FYBB FLUORESCENT YELLOW BLACK BACK
FYRBD FLUORESCENT YELLOW RED & BLACK DOTS
FYRD FLUORESCENT YELLOW RED DOTS (SECOND LURE IS A SPECIAL ORDER PROTOTYPE WITH SALMON HOOK)

FYFO FLUORESCENT YELLOW FLUORESCENT RED
FYSC CHARTREUSE SILVER SIDE
MB METACHROME METALLIC BLACK BACK
MC METACOPPER MC
ME METAGOLD GREEN BACK
MG METACHROME GREEN BACK
MK METAGOLD BLACK BACK
ML METACHROME BLUE BACK
MO METACHROME
MR METACHROME RED BACK
MY METACHROME YELLOW BACK
O FLUORESCENT YELLOW RED & BLACK DOTS Color O
RS RED SCALE
RS Color
RT RAINBOW TROUT
SC SILVER SCALE
TB TEEL BLUE
TS TENNESSEE SHAD
TS Color
XC2 DARK GREEN CRAWDAD / ORANGE BELLY
XC2 Color
XC4 DARK BROWN CRAWDAD / ORANGE BELLY
XC4 Color
XC7 FIRE CRAWDAD / ORANGE BELLY
XC7 Color
YSC YELLOW SILVER SIDE
FLUORESCENT PINK
GH GREEN HEAD (200 GH.  FOUND WITH IN A BOX MARKED 200 GH)
SOB SPECIAL ORDER BLACK COLOR SOB
ROKFY ROKFY
SPECIAL ORDER COLORS
200 SPECIAL
200 SPECIAL
200 SPECIAL
200 SPECIAL
200 SPECIAL
200 SPECIAL
HUFFINE'S SPECIAL
Special order (1 of 2 ever made) note the over-sized hooks, both lures came just like this from a factory employee and sold in a Dallas Auction back in the early 2000’s

 

 

Did you know? Bomber Baits holds more State Bass Records than any other bait despite not being made for years.  The original (football shaped) Bombers hold more Largemouth and Smallmouth state bass records than any other bait.  Pretty amazing accomplishment if you ask me. 

 

Christmas Advertisements

One of the coolest things about collecting old fishing lures is looking back at some of the old advertisements.  You find them in different magazines, catalogs, online archives etc.  It's a look back into a different era of time in our country and really brings out the nostalgia of these little pieces of wood of metal.  

One of the things that really stands out to me about the Bomber Bait Company is their Christmas ads.  Some companies have one here and there but for a period of time in the 1950's and 1960's it seems like almost every year Bomber came out with a Christmas ad.  I am guessing it was probably every year for about 15-20 years but I haven't tracked them all down yet.  Below are the ones I have found.  If you can help ad to these, please let me know.  I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

 

 

 1954 1954 Bomber Bait Christmas Ad
1955 1955 Bomber Bait Christmas Ad
1956 1956 Bomber Bait Christmas Ad
1957 1957 Bomber Bait Christmas Ad
1963 1963 Bomber Bait Christmas Ad
1964 1964 Bomber Bait Christmas Ad
Unknown Unknown Santa Bomber Bait Christmas Ad

 

Bomber Lures, makers of the Fat Free Shad, Model A, Long A and other fish-catching baits, began with an idea – a lure that dives deep, fishes quickly and comes through the thick wood cover of emerging Texas reservoirs. Today Bomber Lures produces tournament-winning crankbaits and other lures that lead the industry. Bass, walleyes, stripers, northern pike and other gamefish all know the power of the Bomber!

 

 

Do you have stories, memories, photos or other items about the Bomber Bait Company and it's history you would like to share?  Contact us and let us know.  We would be happy to add your memories and information to this page.

 

Sources / Credits:

The Bomber Bait Company by Jim Bourdon 1983

Bomber Bait Company catalogs

A huge thanks to Blake Taylor.  Without his help a lot of this information and images would not be available.

Thanks to Darwin Stewart for use of images and resource material.