The Arbogast Jitterbug is one of the most popular and readily available vintage fishing lures. Whether it’s a first generation wooden, or a post-WWII era plastic model, these lures have sparked the antique lure collecting fire in more than a few collectors.
While they weren’t released until the late ‘30s, the prototype began with a wooden broomstick and the bowl of a spoon in the mid 1920s. When they were released, they soon became one of the most popular lures available. Arbogast still produces the Jitterbug lures to this day and they remain a favorite among fishermen.
The original Jitterbug was wooden with a metal lip. During WWII, plastic replaced the metal lip. Some colors and styles of the wooden lures are readily available, such as the white with red-head. While rarer colors include black with white head, blue head and pearl with herringbones. These lures can be dated by noting several characteristics, including material, lip, body-style and hook hangers. For example, the first generation of wooden Jitterbug lures featured a rounded body style and round,“toilet-bowl” styled hookhangers, which were the first of seven styles used over the years.
While many collections may have started with Jitterbugs, no one will ever get rich by selling them. The availability of the lures’ various colors and patterns that make Jitterbug collecting so much fun, also means they aren’t the most valuable lure on the market, although rare colors can go for several hundreds of dollars at auction. Of course, as we’ve discussed before, antique fishing lure collecting is rarely about gaining assets. Jitterbugs offer beginners and veterans alike the chance to create a pretty impressive display of vintage lures. Check out JitterbugDrillers.com for a great presentation of both wooden and plastic models.
You can find these lures on Ebay.com, in antique stores or even at garage sales. Pick them up whenever you can, because aside from being a lot of fun to collect and display, you’ll find they’re also useful as trade items between collectors. And.....did I mention they are a blast to fish with!!!