This simple looking metal bait is listed in Karl White's as a 'unknown' lure but readers of Lure Lore can now cross that out! The lure is called the "Vibra Bat" and was made by Harrison Industries of Newark, New Jersey.
The Vibra Bat is not a really old lure. In the July, 1963 "Fur-Fish-Game" Magazine, an ad appears listing the lure as a "Weird New Sonic Lure...". The ad claims the "New vibrating lure gives loud gurgling, splashing, bubbling sounds as you skitter it along (the) surface of the water!" (sic)
The Vibra Bat came in two sizes, a 1/4 oz. and a 1/2 oz. The smaller size has 2 line tie holes and the larger size, 3. The choice of line tie positions determined the depth the lure would travel.
The bait also has a dual hook rather than a treble. This feature allowed the fisherman to fold the hook back over the mid-section of the lure making the lure 'hook-proof' and therefore let you carry it in your pocket. (Shown in larger size yellow Vibra Bat above).
The markings on these lures vary considerably from nothing to the words "Baby Bat" or "Vibra Bat" which appears on both the large and small sizes. This leads one to believe that perhaps this lure was marketed under another name as well.
2 Styles of Vibra Bat Packaging
The lure came in 5 different colors including orange, yellow, black, silver, and brass. Collector value ranges from $5 to $15 depending on condition but in the original packaging as shown can run in the $20-$30 range.
UNKNOWN UPDATE: Bob Slade, fellow NFLCC member writes, "Your unknown lure is a 'Evans Weed Queen' introduced in late 30's or early 40's by Kingfisher Products of Detroit. (Invented by Evans Walton). First in wood and the later copied in plastic by the Neptune Bait Co., also of Detroit (1950's). They called it the "Sure Getter", but collectors call it the "Weed King" regardless of which company made it. I don't know all of the colors; I have two red head/orange & orange head/green, both with glass eyes." Many thanks to Bob for ID'ing this fella - I think he set the record for identification as I it was a couple of hours after posting the page that I received his message!
UNKNOWN UPDATE 7-18-2016: Chuck Julian of Waterford, Michigan writes:
"After a lot of research, the lure on your site is probably an Evans Weed Queen, as you say. It was not copied by Neptune Bait Co. of Detroit. They were the ones who originally patented that style lure. Theirs say, "Pat Pend" on the underside. Theirs look exactly like the patent that was filed, putting them in 1934 or 1935. The Neptune Bait lures are steel with a hand painted wood top and glass eyes. Robert Evans Sr. was in the business of making separator plates for lead acid batteries, and made his fortune doing that. He later became the president of American Motors. He was a fishing enthusiast, according to his son Robert Evans Jr. His obituary quoted him as saying that he liked to take unprofitable companies and make them profitable. It is most likely that having seen the Neptune lures, he figured he could better manufacture, package and advertise these lures. His son Robert Jr. said that he was unaware of his father ever having claimed that he or anyone at his company patented the Weed Queen. John Boyko, who filed the patent, did not work for Evans Walton, but was from Detroit, where Neptune Bait was also from. John Boyko worked for the Jarvis B. Webb Co. and later his own engineering company."
City Aluminum Foundry Co.
2505 Williams Dr.
Waterford, MI 48328
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. Lures pictured in Lure Lore are not for sale.
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Web Author: Tom Jacomet
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