One summer day in 1949, August “Augie” Machtig was cooking some brats by the lake when a man named Elmer Deuster caught a whiff of the aroma and just had to see what was cooking.  The men had a conversation and it ended with the two men making plans to go musky fishing the next morning.

When they were fishing, Elmer used his own homemade lure called “The Gopher”.  August liked the lure and was impressed, but saw that the lure could be improved.  With Elmer providing the funds and the original design and August manufacturing the lure and incorporated improvements, The Gopher Bait Company was born and the two men became friends for life.

The Gopher lure featured a flocked body, paddles that were offset to give the lure a “swimming action”, and a bucktail hand-tied by a local woman from West Bend, WI.

The first boxes for the lure were the hard cover cardboard box with the picture of the lure on top (shown in the picture).  The price for the lure was $2.95.  Later, the boxes changed to a thinner box with a plastic sleeve on top so that you could see through and see the lure.  This made the lure easier to sell and promote.  Near the end of the 1950s, the price of the lure was $4.95.  It was sold all over the area, from tackle shops to gas stations.  It is estimated that they made and sold about 7,500 lures in about 10 years…and then the company closed due to the two men being busy with their primary businesses and the cash flow was down.

Elmer and August remained the best of friends and continued to fish together every summer.  Sadly, Elmer passed away in 1991.

In the Spring of 2000, August began to produce the Gopher once again.  The lure has changed slightly, but the basic design is the same.  The Gopher has a new slogan too “An Instant Musky Meal ---- Just Add Water!”  After opening the doors to The Gopher Bait Co again, August introduced some new baits and a smaller sized Gopher.  These lures are sold directly to the fisherman (and collectors) and you can contact the company at:

May 2009
The Gopher
The Gopher Bait Co
Sheboygan, WI