Gurgling Joe

Gurgling Joe Large Mouth Chub

North American Production Company - Wayne, Michigan


Original Lure Lore Article:
Gurgling Joe 
Gurgling Joe


The Gurgling Joe lure is another plastic lure dating to the early 1940's. NFLCC member and author, George Richey, documented this lure in his book, "Made In Michigan Fishing Lures" (1995). This lure came in a red cardboard tube with a paper label that reads "Gurgling Joe, Large Mouth Chub, Manufactured by Van Hee Bros. Co., Exclusive Representative, North American Products Company, Wayne, Michigan."

The lure measures 2-3/4" in length from the tip of the lip to the tail and has two treble hooks. It has a large, flat, molded lip and 4 holes that extend completely through the body from belly to spine. These holes angle forward at the bottom and apparently would cause the lure to 'gurgle' or bubble when retrieved. The lure is a sinking lure and I would suspect it was intended to be fished with a short, jerking motion.

Although I've seen a number of these lures in their tubes, I've never seen any paper accompanying them, i.e., fishing instructions, color charts, etc.

Gurgling Joe Colors

Gurgling Joe Color Collection

Gurgling Joe Lures

Yellow, Red, Blue and Clear Body Colors

The body is made of a transparent plastic and as far as I can determine, came in 4 different body colors that included clear, yellow, red, and blue with the blue the most difficult to find.. The holes are of a different color and include yellow, red, white and black. From various examples, it appears these were used combination so that a yellow body could have yellow, red or black holes. If so, this would yield 15 possible color combinations though after collecting them for years, I've only found the following ten (10) different combinations:

Red body, yellow tubes
Red body, black tubes
Clear body, red tubes
Clear body, yellow tubes
Clear body, black tubes
Yellow body, red tubes
Yellow body, black tubes
Blue body, red tubes
Blue body, yellow tubes
Blue body, white tubes

Gurgling Joe Lure Tubes 

Gurgling Joe Tubes

The red cardboard tubes that these lures came in have been found with two different labels, one with a silver background and the other with a white background. These labels on the tubes come off rather easily so many are found without a label.

Current collector value ranges from $25 to $40 in excellent condition with tube.  (Note:  these price estimates are from the original 1999 article.)



My Bait Shop Updates:

Here are some updates.  Additional ones will be added over time so be sure to check back.
  • It appears production began around 1946.
  • The patent for the Gurgling Joe was applied for in 1946 and granted in 1949.  You can see a copy of it here


Test Your Knowledge:  Gurgling Joe Large Mouth Chub FAQ's:

Who made the Gurgling Joe Large Mouth Chub fishing lure?
The Gurgling Joe was made by the North American Production Company out of Wayne, Michigan.

How many colors did the Gurgling Joe come in?
The Gurgling Joe was made in four different body colors.  However with the different color holes in the body there would be at least 15 variations.

Where can I find more information on the Gurgling Joe?
You can find more information on our website My Bait Shop where we have a full page dedicated to the Gurgling Joe.

Related Articles / Pages:

Lure Lore:  More great Lure Lore articles on My Bait Shop featuring in depth lure reviews and historical data.  An ever-growing section started in 1997 and continued on today at My Bait Shop.

Lures For Sale:  See what we have in stock at My Bait Shop for vintage lures.  Our ever changing inventory makes this worth repeat visits.

Unknown Lure

Unknown Lure

NFLCC member Mike Pofi of Pittsburgh, PA sends along this edition's 'unknown' and would like to know if anyone has any information on the company and possibly other lures. He notes: "Inside the box reads...Odie's Lures - Tough tenite body - Brass connectors - Mustad Hooks - Odell's Tackle House, 28-15 Madison Terr., Fair Lawn NJ 07410 - Made in USA...The woman I purchased it from said her husband may have bought it in the early to mid 60's..."

UNKNOWN UPDATE:  NFLCC member Philip Petty e-mailed this information which I think sheds some light on this 'unknown': "This lure seems to be a counterfeit Creek Chub Snark-Eel (1300 series.) I do not have any info about the company mentioned, but perhaps a suggestion. My three teenage sons and I collect Creek Chub lures primarily. We have been advised by older and wiser collectors to beware of these counterfeit Snark-Eels by various companies. Dr. Smith covers the topic briefly in his book on page 108, and has an illustration of a counterfeit Snark-Eel."

Indeed, the lure is identical to the CCBCO Snark-Eel pictured in Dr. Smith's book.

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.

(Originally Published on on January 10, 1999 - Vol. 4, No. 1)
Moved to My Bait Shop in 2021 and updated as applicable

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