Fred Arbogast
Akron, OH.

Arbogast Lure History

The Tin Liz, Fred's first commercially produced lure, was trademarked in 1932. Fred described this metal minnow as "the most natural cripple ever made." His fishing friends thought so, too. Demand for the lure grew so quickly that he started his own fishing lure company. Fred eventually produced over a half dozen models of this lure including a fly rod Tin Liz in three sizes; the Twin Liz, a tandem bail; a "snake" Tin Liz, which resembled a two-inch pickerel, a "sunfish" Tin Liz, which swam on its side, and a "Kicker."

In 1936 Fred added a second lure to his product line and introduced the now famous Hawaiian Wigglers. These featured the nw and revolutionary Hula Skirt -- a flexible rubber skirt, attached at the rear, which provided a lively, swimming action. This family of lures quickly acquired a fine reputation and made the company famous.

There probably isn't a bass fisherman alive who hasn't heard of or used the famous Jitterbug. The wobbling surface bait immediately captured the attention of the fishing fraternity when it was introduced in 1938. As soon as the Jitterbug hit the water, letters of praise from enthusiastic fishermen began pouring into Fred. Fishermen throughout the country wanted to share their successes with the inventor.

In 1940 fly rod fishing for bass was becoming popular. To accommodate these interests, Fred introduced the Hula-Spinner, a Hawaiian Wiggler type of lure that weighed only 1/16 oz.

After the Hula Popper was introduced in 1941, it quickly established itself alongside the Jitterbug as a surface classic. It was the first surface lure to feature a Hula Skirt.

When Fred added the Hula Dancer to the Arbogast product line in 1944, he said, "I have experimented with and tried out the Hula Dancer in northern and southern waters for several years. It is a sinking bait that runs at medium depth. This little honey is small, but no impractical toy. In open water, she does her stuff!"

A variation of the popular Hawaiian Wiggler was brought to the fishing market in 1946 when Fred announced the creation of the Sputterfuss. This noisy surface lure had a double-bladed front spinner and came equipped with a large skirt and trailer hook assembly. It was designed by Fred to be quickly retrieved or "skittered" across the water surface. Skittering, sometimes referred to as "buzzing," became a very popular fishing technique just recently but Fred recognized it effectiveness 34 years ago when he invented this original "buzz" bait.

What better idea than to follow the Sputterfuss with the Sputterbug? That's exactly what the Fred Arbogast company did in 1955. A noisy, splashy surface bait, the Sputterbug featured the famous Hula Skirt for added action.

The Arbo-Gaster was designed in 1956 to solve deep water impoundment fishing problems. The extended lip of this fast-swimming, floater-diver allowed it to go down deep and also acted as a guard to keep it from snagging on under-water obstructions.

The Scudder, Prancer and Dasher are large wooden wire-through lures designed for ocean species. The Scudder is a surface popping plug; the Prancer is a surface bait with buck tails for surface action; and the Dasher, introduced in 1962, with propellers fore and aft, creates a surface commotion, similar to a floundering food fish. The Dasher was named in memory of Mr. "Dash" Gowen, a longtime Arbogast sales representative and saltwater fisherman, who passed away in 1974.

The Mud-Bug created a sensation from the moment it was introduced in 1968. It resembled a crayfish in appearance, even to the extent of being retrieved "backwards" to simulate a fast-moving or retreating crayfish. This deep-diving lure has been a winner in numerous bass fishing tournaments. By 1980, the Mud-Bug was available in five different sizes for fresh and saltwater fishing.

Jitterbug and a Japanese Jitterbug made under license from Arbogast (Pradco). These lures are of the original quality of jitterbugs from the late 40's through the 80's. Odd that the jitterbugs we buy today are cheap compared to the Japanese lures that maintain the vintage details...Go Figure.

Model No. 700 - This is the largest of all Jitterbugs, 1 ¼ ounce and 4 ½ inches long.

Model No. 650 and 655- This is the standard baitcasting size, 5/8 of an ounce and 3 inches long,

Model No. 600 and 605 - This is a scaled down version weighing in at 3/8 of an ounce and 2 ½ inches long.

Model No. 630 and 635 - This size Jitterbug weighs ¼ ounce, light spinning size. 

Model No. 680 - This ¼ ounce Jitterbug has only one double hook attached to the tail section of the lure so it can be fished over weeds and obstructions.

Model No. 670 and 675 - Larger of the jointed Jitterbugs. These lures weigh 5/8 of an ounce

Model No. 620 and 625 - The smaller of the two jointed Jitterbugs weighing in at 3/8 of an ounce

Model No. 610 - This weedless Jitterbug weighs 5/8 of an ounce . It has an attached hula skirt

Model No. 690 - This is a spinning version of the weedless Jitterbug


Model No. 645(discontinued) - This is a longer version of the famous Jitterbug


Hula Popper

Model No 750 - This popper weighs in at 5/8 of an ounce

Model No. 760 - This is a scaled down version of the 750 and is 3/8 of an ounce and 2 inches long with 2 trebles

Model No. 770 - This ultra light size Hula Popper. It weighs ¼ of an ounce and carries a single #5 treble hook.

Model No. 730 - This is the smallest of all Hula Poppers weighing in at 3/16 of an ounce and carries a very small single #8 treble hook. 

Fly Rod Hula Popper

Model No. 1000 (discontinued) - This lure is 1 ½ inches long and weighs 3/32 of an ounce and carries a #1/0 hook.

Model No. 1050 (discontinued) - This model boasts a weedless hook and can be fished closer to and around vegetation and cover.   It is 1 ½ inches long and weighs 3/32 of an ounce and carries a #1/0 weedless hook.

Model No. 1150 (discontinued) - This Fly Rod Hula Popper is 1 3/16 inches long and weighs 1/16 of an ounce and carries a #2 hook.

Model No. 1400 (discontinued) - This is the smallest of the Fly Rod Hula Poppers and is fished mainly for panfish and bluegills.   It is only 7/8 of an inch long and weighs a mere 1/32 of an ounce and carries a tiny #8 hook.


Model No. 22 - This model Mud-Bug weighs 5/8 of an ounce   

Model No. 20 - This smaller size Mud-Bug weighs in at ¼ of an ounce.  


Model No. 1805 - Sputterbuzz is the largest model - 5 inches long and weighs 5/8 of an ounce.  

Model No. 1835 - The 1835 is 3 ½ inches long and weighs 3/8 of an ounce

Not vintage or old but shown for Reference

This is the Arbogast "Hocus Locust". One look and you see something very similar... The Jitterbug lip. This is a relatively new lure for Arbogast, but then again, weren't they all NEW at one time? Show here simply for reference. Any knowledgeable collector will tell you reference is invaluable.

205 Black Gold, 206 Spring Leaf, 207 Yellow Insect,
208 Summer Locust, 209 Cool Bug, 210 Fire Locust

Jitterbug Colors for 1941

A vintage musky size Jitterbug, Wooden with the box.... Nice find!

Some rare Arbogast lures

This Jitterbug in Black Herringbone is extremely rare.

Purple Herringbone...

Jitterbug goes to war!

Below is a pic of a recent addition to my collection. a WWII era Jitterbug.

As part of the war effort, all metal went towards the military machine, thus leaving our poor Jitterbug with a plastic lip...

Not to be confused with a "wax lip"

The Hula Dancer!

Fred Arbogast introduced the Hula Dancer in 1944, and
the way we fished was changed forever.
The Hula Dancer was the first lure introduced by Arbogast since his successful Jitterbug.
Small and heavy, at 5/8, oz., this little dynamo is great for
the long cast, and the dance this little lure does in the water
drives fish insane. Lately the Hula Dancer has been starting to
drive collectors insane. The Hula Dancer is a lot more complex
than first thought, with many color and hardware variations. With its one-of-a-kind styling and unique design, it is rapidly
gaining popularity among collectors. Hula Dancers are getting
harder and harder to obtain as popularity drives prices up.    

I would like to share the information I have compiled over
the last four years to help answer some Hula Dancer questions. With the wartime metal restrictions lifted, it was the right time
for the Hula Dancer’s birth. The lure has a Tenite/plastic body
attached to a wide metal keel with a front and rear lip, two treble
hooks, a tail/skirt holder, and the skirt itself. I’m going to share
with you the differences in colors (35 so far), metal keels (4 so
far), and tail holders (3 so far). Starting with First Generation…
First Generation hardware has a narrow, slightly concave
front lip, and the rear lip is wide with a deep indentation in
the center. The body is held to the keel with screws. The first
tail/skirt holder was a flat and narrow shape and a poor design
to hold the tail in place (examples are rare), and it was quickly
changed and widened at the base, giving it a trapezoid shape. The first generation hardware was used from 1944 to 1946.

(credit Russell Lewis )