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October 15, 2000 - Vol. 5, No. 5

Hi-Yo Activated Lure

Hi-Yo Activated Lure
Hi-Yo Activated Lure

I've always been fascinated with fishing lures that require a bit more effort on the part of the fisherman than just attaching it to the line and giving it a toss and this fella ranks right at the top of the list when it comes to effort!

The Hi-Yo Activated Lure was made by the Activated Lure Company, with a listed address on the lure's box of 102 27th Street, N.W., Barberton, Ohio, around the mid 1940's. The printing on the side of the box state, "Hi-Yo! That Jet-Propelled Lure - As New and Revolutionary as Atomic Power!" In addition, the box pictured above lists a sales price of $2.60 which I figure was fairly pricey at the time. Other boxes show different prices as illustrated in the picture below.

Hi-Yo Boxes
Hi-Yo Boxes

The Hi-Yo box also listed a patent number of 2,415,742 which was filed in 1945, just after the War. To see the full patent document maintained on-line by the US Patent Office, click HERE and enter the patent number.

The lure is made of aluminum and consists of a metal cylinder 1" in length and 3/4" in diameter that has a tapered back end and a single treble hook. The 'head' of the lure consists of a detachable rubber knob that pulls off. Inside the hollow cylinder at the bottom is a piece of felt material. In addition, according to Karl Luckey's book, "Identification and Value Guide to Old Fishing Lures & Tackle #5", it came with "three rubber jets, each a different color, yellow, red and green." (Note: In this box, the jets were yellow, red and black; only the remains of the yellow one are present; these are actually small rubber ballons with the tail end cut off). These 'jets' were attached to the rear of the lure when ready to use. Luckey also notes that the lure came in six colors though none are listed. The lure shown is a has a color pattern of green scale on top to gold scale on the sides and a solid cream color belly. The box is marked "2P".

Now to the fun part - how to fish the lure! This lure used dry ice in combination with water which produced a gas that subsequently was vented out thru the rubber jet, propelling the lure thru the water. Prior to fishing, you needed to attach the rubber jet to the back of the lure. Instructions for it's use are printed on the side of the box so pay attention - I suspect once you did all this, darkness would have fallen:

1. Carry dry ice in VENTED thermos bottle. (So as not to have the thermos explode no doubt..)
2. Remove cap (black rubber knob) and charge with dry ice.
(a) Half-full or less for surface fishing
(b) Three-fourths full or more for submerged fishing.
3. Pour capful of water into body and replace cap. While water is being forced out through tail, rub tail vigorously between thumb and finger.
4. Cast to likely spot and let HI-YO do its stuff.

The reaction of the dry ice with the water produced a gas which subsequently was forced out the back of the lure and into the rubber jet. The end of the rubber jet has a narrow outlet thru which the gas was expelled, supposedly causing the lure to 'activate', and propelling the lure thru the water. One interesting aspect is that the one of the barbs on the rear treble is bent to the side so that it doesn't puncture the rubber jet.

Hi-Yo Activated Lure
Ready to Launch!

Hi-Yo Colors

Hi-Yo Colors

Pictured above are known colors for this lure. The manufacturer's color codes, when known are listed in parenthesis. The include (left to right,top to bottom): White/Red Ribs, Green & Yellow with Red Mark, Frog (F), Gold Scale (P), Bullfrog, Aluminum, Black with Yellow Ribs, Gold Scale with rib pattern.

Hi-Yo Head Colors
Hi-Yo Head Colors

In addition, the rubber 'head' came in both black and red and the ballon tails came in black, red, yellow, or various shades of these colors.

According to Luckey's, there are reportedly only 8-10 such lures known to exist though hundreds were made. However, a number of them have shown up on Internet auctions and were sold in the $50 to $100 range, in the plain brown box and from the number seen at shows as well, it appears these are not rare and are fairly available.

Chuck Johnson Collection
Chuck Johnston Collection

Special thanks to Chuck Johnston of Pennsylvania for providing some of the pictures and information regarding these lures!

UPDATE: On the message board "Joe's Old Lures Message Board", this posting on 11-19-2005:

Posted by Smitty [] on Saturday, November 19, 2005 at 7:46AM :

My grandfather Charles Hiltabidel and his partner Milton Yoder are the inventors of this lure. The name Hi-Yo came from the first two letters of their last names. I inherited some of the lures, the tail molds, the stamping blocks for the tail molds, the original prototype lure (made from an empty salve can) and the patent issued to them. I also have several copies of newspaper articles depicting the lures. I believe they appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Akron Beacon Journal. From what I have been able to find out on the inventory that was left over after they both passed away was sold for the aluminum scrap value of the bodies by Mr. Yoders children or grand children. Because the price of these lures was so high for the time period, not many was sold and probably few exist today. I think you have a treasure on your hands, and wish you well on the auction. Thanks for an opportunity to go back in time to a very special person in my life.


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