At the Northwest Sportshow in 2009, I was displaying a large part of my collection and teaching many visitors about old fishing lures. Part of my display featured some lures that were made in Minnesota at one time.
A man approached me in my booth and asked “Do you have a Pokey Pete?”
I never heard of a Pokey Pete before, but I did know of a lure called a “Pokey-Joe”, sold out of Isle, MN. I took him over and shown him that lure.
“That looks real close, but that is not it”.
So, I took him over and pointed at the “Slo-Poke”, the predecessor to the Pokey-Joe, made out of Mahnomen, MN.
“No, that is not it either”, he added “it was invented by my grandfather. The shape is slightly similar, but it was made out of metal and had a forked tail. It was sold in a cardboard box with a clear cover. He also applied for a patent on his lure.”
I was at a loss, but very interested in the lure and its history. He had no more information to share, but did state he had one in the box. I agreed to meet him at a lure show coming up a few weeks later.
At the lure show, I got to see the lure in the box. The box was the same style of box used by Perfection Tackle Co out of Delft, MN. This box also resembled ones used by the Randall Decoy Co. Was someone making these generic lure boxes for small companies in MN?
I had no historical information to share with him, and pointed out a few other MN lure collectors at the show. None of them had information for him, but some were very interested in buying the lure and box. Prices ranged from $5 to $50. But, he had no interest in selling the only lure he had from his grandfather. Can you blame him?
I gave the man my card, and told him to email me with some history of this grandfather. Unfortunately, I never heard from him again. And, even more unfortunate, I lost his contact information.
I searched for one of these lures for a few years with no luck. Then, about 5 years later, in 2014…what did I see on eBay…but a Pokey Pete in the box! Luckily, I won the lure at a very reasonable price and was happy to add it to my collection.
The lure is metal and molded into a unique shape. Is vaguely similar to the famous “Lazy Ike” lures, but it has a grooved diving lip and a slit fin tail in the back.
The box has a hand-stamp on the inside bottom. It is very hard to make out what is says. It definitely says “Pokey Pete” along with the address and phone number in Minneapolis, MN. It also has a hand written note saying “Pat – Pend”. However, the name of the manufacture is hard to make out. It appears to say “Wormy Bait”? I am not quite sure….
So, more information and history of this lure and its maker continues. Who was this man? Did he ever get a patent? When was it made? How many did he make – was the lure successful? Hopefully, I will be able to answer these questions someday….
For me, this is what makes lure collecting fun!