L & S Bass Master
L & S Bass Master
L & S Bait Company - Bradley, Illinois
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!
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.
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.)
- 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.
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."
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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