L & S Bass Master

L & S Bass Master

L & S Bait Company - Bradley, Illinois


Original Lure Lore Article:
L & S Bass Master 
L & S Bass Master Fishing Lures

Not unlike Rodney Dangerfield who "never gets any respect", the L & S Bass Master and its cousins get little respect either. In "Streater's Reference Catalog of Old Fishing Lures", a notation for these lures states, "L&S lures not collectible - this is for identification only." Perhaps back in 1978 when the catalog was first published this may have been true but judging from the responses I recently received, there are a lot of collectors out there willing to take 'that cheap plastic stuff' off your hands! 

L & S Bass Master Fishing Lures

Early Wooden Le Master Shiner Minnows

Actually, the L&S Bait Company first began making lures in the early 1930's, the first being a wooden lure known as the Le Master Shiner Minnow which was produced until World War II. Following the war, the company began making the well-known plastic versions of the lure in three different sizes, the Panfish Master (2 1/2"), the Bass Master (3"), and the Pike Master (3 3/4"). Other sizes were later added including the Spin Master (1 1/2"), the Spin-It (2"), and the Musky Master (4 3/4"). The Bass Master and the Musky Master are shown above.

The early plastic lures had opaque colors and opaque eyes such as those on the Musky Master above. Later, the eyes were changed to a more realistic look and were transparent as shown in the Bass Master above. In the early 1950's, new colors were added to the L&S line which had a built-in flash and were referred to as "MirrOLures." It is somewhat easy to distinguish the earlier L&S plastic lures from the later ones since the metal lips were marked on with the word "MirrOLure" along with the style and model number. One unusual difference in some of these lures is the "Mira-Lure" name which appears on both boxes and the lures. Where this line fits in is unknown but it may have been during the transition between the original and MirrOLure lines.

L & S Fishing Lure Boxes

 Different L & S Boxes

Boxes for these lures are shown above. Note that the three lower boxes are different in that one is marked "L&S Bass Master", one "L&S MirrOLure" and the third "L&S Mira-Lure". The top box is the toughest to find and is for the early L&S Shiner Minnow.

Colors for these lures are almost infinite! The early plastic ones came in 12 colors including the ever popular red head/white and a frog spot (called "Yellow Belly-Green back, Yellow and Black Spots" - like I said, frog spot...)

The very early wooden lure prices out in the area of $300-$400 according to Karl White's book, though I have never actually seen one for sale. The plastic guys, however, are a bit more reasonable and can be picked up for as little as $5 but generally $10-$20, often including the box. (Note:  these price estimates are from the original 1997 article.)


My Bait Shop Updates:

Here are some additional updates: 
  • Check out Episode 2 of My Bait Shop Minutes below for a discussion of opaque eyes vs. the introduction of life like eyes on the Bass Master and other L&S models:


    If anybody has additional information or paperwork such as early advertisements they would share it would be greatly appreciated.


    Test Your Knowledge:  L & S Bass Master Fishing Lure FAQ's:

    Who made the Bass Master Fishing Lures?
    The Bass Master fishing lures were made by the L & S Bait Company originally out of Bradley, Illinois.

    What other sizes were these fishing lures made in?
    The lures were made in Panfish, Pike Master, and Muskie Master in addition to the Bass Master size. 

    Where can I find more information on the L & S Bass Master Fishing Lure?
    You can find more information on our website My Bait Shop where we have a full page dedicated to the L & S Bass Master fishing lure.

    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

    This edition's 'unknown' is a wooden lure and measures 2 3/4" in length and 5/8" in diameter at its widest point. The nose of the lure is cupped and has a single line tie in the center.The two treble hooks have a metal flat washer which keeps the hook from contacting the body of the lure.

    UNKNOWN UPDATE! Wow! The 'unknown' has been identified by NFLCC member Curt Conner who writes:

    "The lure that you have pictured as unknown is a "Paul's Popper" Number 1500. It was made by Paul Bunyan Bait Company and came in two sizes and four colors. The larger size, No. 1400, is 3 1/2 inches long and listed as 3/4 ounce. The smaller size, No. 1500, is 2 3/4 inches long and listed as 5/8 ounce. Both sizes were made in the same four finishes, white with red head, black with silver scale, yellow with silver scale, and green frog."

    Thanks Curt!

    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 LureLore.com on November 16, 1997 - Vol. 2, No. 23)
    Moved to My Bait Shop in 2020 and updated as applicable

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