Puls & Wencka Bait Company - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The Cyclone Spinner is a wooden lure manufactured by the Puls & Wencka Bait Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the early 1950's. Although reference books refer to the lure only as a "P&W" lure, it was called the Cyclone Spinner as the paper in the box indicated.
Example of Cyclone Spinners
The Cyclone Spinner came in three different styles, the one piece body, the two piece body, and the four piece body which is shown in this picture in the box it came in. The one-piece body lure also had a plastic hula skirt attached to the rear hooks.
As you can see by the printing on the box cover, this lure was "RECOMMENDED BY DON KOJIS", a basketball player who played for Marquette University in the late 1950's and went on to play in the NBA for a number of teams, including the Pistons, Rockets, Bullets and the Bulls during the 1960's. A 'signed' endorsement was included in the box.
It seems a safe assumption that the lure must have been manufactured well into the 1960's based on the fact that Kojis was not...ahem... well known until then. (OK - so he wasn't a Michael Jordan - he must have known a good fishing lure when he saw one, right??)
This lure came in black, red & white, golden yellow, and mouse gray, and has a value range of from $75 to $100. (Additional note: these price estimates are from the original 1997 article.)
- The company was started by Richard T. Puls and Wayne T. Wenka. Wenka left in 1967 when Al Roeder joined the organizion. Roeder lasted for two years with the company.
- The patent for for the Cyclone Spinner was granted on February 6, 1968. It is Patent Number 3,367,059. You can see the patent here.
- In 1969 production switched from wood to plastic.
- All lure production ceased in the mid 1970's.
- The company is also referred to as The Cyclone Bait Company in some literature and advertising pieces.
A little more on Don Kojis. He played for Marquette University from 1958-1961 (had his number retired) and went on to play twelve years in the NBA for a number of teams, including the Pistons, Rockets, Bullets, Super Sonics and the Bulls during the 1960's and 1970's. He was a two time NBA all-star.
Below are some additional images Cyclone Spinners (thanks to Langs Auction for use of one of the images).
Cyclone Spinner Two Middle Sections
Puls & Wencka Cyclone Spinner Rare Wooden Model
1971-1972 Topps Don Kojis Seattle SuperSonics Card
If anybody has additional information or paperwork such as early advertisements they would share it would be greatly appreciated.
Tulsa Tackle Bee
This edition's unknown falls into that misty classification often referred to as 'special edition' or 'experimental lures'; I'll let you decide which of these is appropriate, if any.
The story behind it is that it is a River Runt lure, specially made by Heddon at the request of someone interested in having a River Runt with a bucktail attached. It is one of six which the seller had in his possession at one time, so it is not unique.
The front lip is identical to the classic Heddon River Runt lip and the head has the Spook River Runt look, but there any similarities to River Runts, either wood or plastic, end. A eye screw holds the back hook while a washer rig is used to attached the bottom treble. The line attachment is also a washer rig. It measures 1 7/8" in body length. In addition, there are two small 'staples' in a vertical position on either side of the middle of the body, right where the white & black colors meet. These 'staples' span a small depression in the wood shaped like back-to-back triangles, giving some indication that something else may have been attached to the lure. If you look close at the enlarged picture, at the middle of the body, you can see the depression.
Unknown Update: The 'unknown' lure has been identified as a Tulsa Tackle Bee, a lure made by the Tulsa Tackle Company which was in business from 1945 to 1957 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Bob Curington, of Tulsa, identified the lure as he and his son have an extensive collection of Tulsa Tackle lures. He wrote that Tulsa Tackle made several wooden lures, among them Di-Dippers, Stunters (which looked like River Runts), Bees, 7-11's (looked like Lucky 13's), a Bee-Popper, a Ba-Bee Popper, and two plastic lures, one the Water Wiggler and the other a Bizzy-Bee. They also made a lead-headed Spinnabee in 2 sizes and a single-spin (looks like a Dragnetter) in 2 sizes.
Bob also said that the staples on the sides were for plastic 'legs' - three strips of thin black plastic about 3"-4" long, which were stapled to the sides. This was an option that could be ordered on the Di-Dippers, Stunters, and the Bee. The Stunter and the Bee also were available in a deep-dive lip (called the Tulsa Deep Bill) as well as the shallow lip as pictured on the lure above.
Many thanks to Bob for the extensive information he provided!!
If you have any further information on any of the items displayed on this page which you'd like to share, please send your comments to me and I'll update the page accordingly. Contributions of interesting items and/or unknowns are encouraged.
© 2020, My Bait Shop, LLC