Heddon Hi-Tail / Topkick (No. 305, 1962-1962)
Heddon - Dowagiac, Michigan
The Heddon Hi-Tail lure was introduced in 1960, two years before Heddon was 'adopted' by Daisy. It was one of three new lures that year, the other two being jig lures. The Hi-Tail is a surface lure which, according to the catalog, "...neither you or the bass will be able to let it rest when you see its tail-flicking, gurgling, rollicking surface antics..." Somehow, I suspect that any such action was probably caused by the violent shaking of the rod due to uncontrollable laughter?
Anyway, this guy weighed in at 1/3 of an ounce, had a length of 2 inches, and a single treble hook. It was given the Heddon number 305. Due to tremendous popularity, he disappeared after 1962, thus ending a 3 year career of gurgling, rollicking, etc.
Cataloged or listed colors included Frog (F), Black (B), Silver Flitter (SS), Yellow (Y), Perch (L) and White, Red Head (RH) and were the same listed colors for all three years. Colors known to exist but were not in the Heddon catalogs include Shad, Yellow Shore Minnow, Black & White Check, Red & White Check, Silver Shore Minnow, one with silver sides with yellow dots, yellow face, and the Budweiser advertising Hi-Tail. These uncataloged colors are considered very scarce. One variation I'm aware of was the printing on the belly which was black before Daisy took over, but gold after that.
HI-TAIL CATALOGED & UNCATALOGED COLORS
The black-checked Hi-Tail is a bit different because it was not marked on the belly like most according to the owner though other examples are known to be marked.. It is referred to as the "500 Winner" as indicated in the advertising piece found in a 1972 Hulman Co. Catalogue. The "Budweister" Hi-Tail was found in-the-box and which was stamped "305RH" and "Budweiser Lure". There is also a a red-checked Hi-Tail that was produced as an advertising lure for the Purina Company.
Budweiser Hi-Tail in original box
- The Black and White Checkered Hi-Tail is often referred to as the Indy or Indy 500 lure. It's highly collectible and is one of the rarest Hi-Tails.
- The Hi-Tail was originally called the Top-Kick but the name had to be changed at the last moment as a trademark search turned up an existing lure and challenge. Top-Kick was already taken by Miller Lures out of Kansas City, Missouri. A photo of this Top Kick Lure is shown below.
Miller Lures Top-Kick
- Some examples of the Heddon Top Kick were already produced and in distribution so they do exist. There are also examples where Top Kick is painted over with Hi-Tail. You can see the three versions below in the photo. One belly marked TopKick which is the rarest. One which has TopKick painted over (you can see it if you hold up to the light), and the last version corrected to Hi-Tail.
Heddon Hi-Tail Versions
If anybody has additional information or paperwork such as early advertisements they would share it would be greatly appreciated.
At a recent tackle show, I found this fellow which I caught my attention because I thought it was an L&S lure. The color and eye configuration are so much like an L&S that a serious L&S collector who was nearby saw it and thought it was too! Anyway, White's book has it listed as a 'unknown' Pico lure of unknown manufacture. It measures 2 3/4" long, has a one-piece belly rig and a surface weight glued to the nose. From all appearances, the weight is original.
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.
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