Heddon Firetail Sonic
Heddon Firetail Sonic (No. 395, 1958-1976)
Heddon - Dowagiac, Michigan
The Firetail Sonic is a sinking lure, weighing in at 3/8 ounces, having a length of 3-1/4", and two treble hooks, one on the body below the lip and the other at the end of the 'firetail'. The body is the same as the #385 Sonic only with a tail attached.
Besides having the same 'vibrator fin' as the other Sonics, the Firetail had a transparent red plastic tail attached at the back which Heddon referred to as being made of "Flame-Glo Tenite". The claim was that this material had the property of being able to "...convert invisible ultra-violet rays into visible rays. This can be seen by fish at amazing distances."
The Firetail Sonic advertisement shown above was actually a card insert in the catalog, not part of the regular catalog pages.
Heddon Firetail Sonic Dealer Display Card
The Firetail Sonic is marked on the bottom "HEDDON FIRETAIL SONIC". It was initially made in six colors, these being White, Red Head (RH), Black (B), Perch (L), Yellow (Y), Coach Dog (CD), and Shad (SD), and had gold or yellow eyes. In 1962 when the company became Daisy-Heddon, the eye color changed to white, creating a new line of variation for the color collector! The top lure in the picture is the later white eye in Perch and the bottom, the earlier White, Red Head in yellow eye.
One of the interesting notes to the Firetail Sonic is that the colors it was made in never changed throughout most of it's manufacturing life and it wasn't until the early 1970's when two colors were eliminated (Black and Coach Dog) that any changes were made. Strangely, perhaps, the other Sonic lures were made in a wide variety of colors during the same time period! Because of this, collectors should be aware that fraudulent Firetail Sonics have been found which are really regular Sonics with the firetail attached. Collectors should confirm that the belly printing reads "HEDDON FIRETAIL SONIC".
The only 4 confirmed known uncataloged colors known to date are Yellow Coach Dog (series #395YCD), Spotted Orange (series #395SO), Crystal Rainbow (series #395CR) and Gold Spot (series #395GLDS), pictured below.
Uncataloged Firetail Sonic Colors - Spotted Orange and Gold Spot
Uncataloged Yellow Coach Dog Firetail Sonic
Uncataloged Crystal Rainbow Firetail Sonic
This lure was produced through 1976 but by 1977, only it's cousins, the Sonic and Super Sonic remained in production along with another relative, the Ultra Sonic.
The Sonic line of lures make an excellent collectible and are popular with many first time collectors due to their variety and plentifulness. Value for the Firetail is typically from $10 to $20 but the uncataloged colors can go for much higher prices. (Additional note: these price estimates are from the original 1996 article.)
One interesting fact about the 'firetail' was that in 1982, 6 years after production of the Firetail Sonic ceased, Heddon again used that very same tail on a Tadpolly, calling it a Jointed Tadpolly, series #9015. It was produced for only 3 years as it was last cataloged in 1984.
Jointed Tadpolly in Spotted Redhorse, series #9015RFB
As with other Heddon lures, the Firetail Sonic was copied by other manufacturers, most notably Atlantic Lures of Providence, Rhode Island, which made a copy called the Flashtail, series #830. In their 1969 catalog, Atlantic advertised it as the "Arch Foe of Tackle Busters - For thrilling excitement beyond reason, 'Flashtail' with its famous 'Fire-Glo' teasing tail is the lure for the trophy hunter!" Atlantic also had another lure listed in the 1969 catalog with this same tail called the "Flat-Tail", series #877 (spinning size) and #878 (spin-cast size).
Flashtail (top 2) and Flat-Tail lures by Atlantic Lures
1958 Heddon Firetail Sonic Ad
If anybody has additional information or paperwork such as early advertisements they would share it would be greatly appreciated.
A serious lack of material lately 'forces' me to use this photo of 4 metal baits a collector asked me to photograph for use as my 'unknown'. Metal lures tend to be that way but each of these is somewhat unique so perhaps someone can shed some light on them. In particular the red/white one in the center is unusual in that while it doesn't show well in the picture, has another 'blade', a portion of which can be seen just underneath the top blade.
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