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January 10, 1999 - Vol. 4, No. 1

Van Hee Bros. Gurgling Joe

Gurgling Joe
Gurgling Joe

The Gurgling Joe lure is another plastic lure dating to the early 1940's. NFLCC member and author, George Richey, documented this lure in his book, "Made In Michigan Fishing Lures" (1995). This lure came in a red cardboard tube with a paper label that reads "Gurgling Joe, Large Mouth Chub, Manufactured by Van Hee Bros. Co., Exclusive Representative, North American Products Company, Wayne, Michigan."

The lure measures 2-3/4" in length from the tip of the lip to the tail and has two treble hooks. It has a large, flat, molded lip and 4 holes that extend completely thru the body from belly to spine. These holes angle forward at the bottom and apparently would cause the lure to 'gurgle' or bubble when retrieved. The lure is a sinking lure and I would suspect it was intended to be fished with a short, jerking motion.

Although I've seen a number of these lures in their tubes, I've never seen any paper accompanying them, i.e., fishing instructions, color charts, etc.

Gurgling Joe Colors
Gurgling Joe Color Collection


Yellow, Red, Blue and Clear Body Colors

The body is made of a transparent plastic and as far as I can determine, came in 4 different body colors that included clear, yellow, red, and blue with the blue the most difficult to find.. The holes are of a different color and include yellow, red, white and black. From various examples, it appears these were used combination so that a yellow body could have yellow, red or black holes. If so, this would yield 15 possible color combinations though after collecting them for years, I've only found the following ten (10) different combinations:

Red body, yellow tubes
Red body, black tubes
Clear body, red tubes
Clear body, yellow tubes
Clear body, black tubes
Yellow body, red tubes
Yellow body, black tubes
Blue body, red tubes
Blue body, yellow tubes
Blue body, white tubes

Gurgling Joe 'Tubes'
Gurgling Joe Tubes

The red cardboard tubes that these lures came in have been found with two different labels, one with a silver background and the other with a white background. These labels on the tubes come off rather easily so many are found without a label.

Current collector value ranges from $25 to $40 in excellent condition with tube.

Unknown Lure

Unknown Lure

NFLCC member Mike Pofi of Pittsburgh, PA sends along this edition's 'unknown' and would like to know if anyone has any information on the company and possibly other lures. He notes: "Inside the box reads...Odie's Lures - Tough tenite body - Brass connectors - Mustad Hooks - Odell's Tackle House, 28-15 Madison Terr., Fair Lawn NJ 07410 - Made in USA...The woman I purchased it from said her husband may have bought it in the early to mid 60's..."

UNKNOWN UPDATE:NFLCC member Philip Petty e-mailed this information which I think sheds some light on this 'unknown': "This lure seems to be a counterfeit Creek Chub Snark-Eel (1300 series.) I do not have any info about the company mentioned, but perhaps a suggestion. My three teenage sons and I collect Creek Chub lures primarily. We have been advised by older and wiser collectors to beware of these counterfeit Snark-Eels by various companies. Dr. Smith covers the topic briefly in his book on page 108, and has an illustration of a counterfeit Snark-Eel."

Indeed, the lure is identical to the CCBCO Snark-Eel pictured in Dr. Smith's book.

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
Copyright 1999 by Tom Jacomet - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED