Horrock-Ibbotson Shmoo Bait
Shmoo Bait Novelty Fishing Lure
Horrock-Ibbotson Bait Company - Utica, New York
Novelty lures are a class onto themselves and certainly the Shmoo Bait falls into this category. It was made in 1947 by Horrock-Ibbotson of New York, a company which also made reels as well. As you will note, the lure is shaped much like a bowling pin. It has a metal diving lip on the top of the head and two trebles located mid-body and at the bottom (not shown because it is in the box in the picture). Markings include a painted face and feet.
The "Shmoo" was a cartoon character in the famous "Li'L Abner" comic strip drawn by the late Al Capp. It is one of the most famous comic strips ever written and if memory serves me correctly, ran from the 1930's to the 1970's until Al Capp died (1979). The Shmoo was a lovable fellow and multiplied like rabbits. As I recall, the Shmoo didn't mind being eaten and always tasted like whatever you wanted it to taste like!
Known colors include white with black markings/green stripes on back, red head/white body with black markings, and yellow front/red-orange back, silver with red side and scale back, and a white front-red back with red markings, 5 in total.
The box the lure came in was decorated with characters from the strip including Mammy and Pappy Yokum, Daisy Mae (she made tight, cutoff jeans famous!), and Li'L Abner himself. Examples of this lure at lure shows run from $150 to $250 in price without the box. The owner of this item values it at $500 with the box. (Additional note: these price estimates are from the original 1996 article.)
- The lure came in 12 catalog colors.
- The lure measures 3" long.
- Below are two dealer ads from 1950 and another Shmoo lure and box photo:
Shmoo Dealer Flyer
Shmoo Dealer Ad 1950
Shmoo Box and Lure
If anybody has additional information or paperwork such as early advertisements they would share it would be greatly appreciated.
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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