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Iconic anglers celebrate Fred Arbogast’s BFHOF induction


The Jitterbug was among Fred Arbogast’s signature creations and now a few iconic anglers are putting their signature on the Jitterbug as part of a collaborative effort to mark Arbogast’s election this year to the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame (BFHOF).

To commemorate Arbogast’s induction, PRADCO, which took ownership of the Arbogast brand in 1997, will produce a limited-edition version of the Arbogast Jitterbug with proceeds from their sale to benefit the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame. Approximately 1,200 lures will be produced in four custom colours. There will be a series of 300 baits autographed by Hall of Famer Bill Dance, 300 baits autographed by current Elite Series angler Jason Christie and 300 baits autographed by Hall of Famer Kevin VanDam. Another 300 baits will feature the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame logo.

The majority of lures will be sold through PRADCO’s online store at Lurenet.com while several sets will be auctioned off as part of Celebrate Bass Fishing Week in September, which culminates with the annual Hall of Fame induction banquet on September 26th at Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Aquarium and Wildlife Museum in Springfield, Mo. Arbogast will be inducted along with Mike McKinnis, Skeet Reese, Alfred Williams and Mark Zona.

“This will be a very limited and special collection opportunity for anyone who is passionate about bass fishing or fishing lures,” said Bruce Stanton, the Vice President and General Manager for PRADCO’s fishing division and current Vice President and President-elect of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame (pictured above left with Kevin VanDam).

“I can’t think of another series where you’ll have lures with designs and autographs by the most famous bass fisherman of all time in Bill Dance, the best tournament angler of all time in KVD and one of the top current anglers in 2022 Bassmaster Classic champ Jason Christie.”

This initiative will also feature a rare occurrence – cooperation between two fierce competitors in the tackle category. While VanDam has long been sponsored by Strike King, he was given permission to lend his name and support to the effort to honor Arbogast’s memory and contributions to the sport.

“To me, this shows how the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame brings the industry together to promote the lifestyle of bass fishing. While we are in a very competitive business environment, I think it’s commendable that the team at Rather Outdoors and Strike King wanted to participate in this project for the Hall of Fame,” Stanton added.

“We really appreciate KVD and the management team at Strike King – Rocky Kalsow, the President of Rather Outdoors North America, and Ken Eubanks, the CEO of Rather Outdoors – getting on board. I can’t think of another project where the top tournament pro of all time would lend his signature and credibility to a competitor’s product to support a non-profit organisation.”

Released in 1939, the Jitterbug is unquestionably one of the most popular fishing lures of all-time, a testament to Arbogast’s creative vision. By attaching the cupped portion of two kitchen spoons to the end of a piece of a wooden broomstick, then placing hooks along the bottom, he was able to fashion one of the ultimate topwater baits because of its wobbling and plopping action.

“This is such an exciting thing to be a part of,” VanDam said. “We’re all competitive when it comes to selling baits, but when an opportunity like this comes along to honour a legend like Fred Arbogast and knowing the proceeds will benefit a great organization like the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, we set those competitive elements aside.”

Additional details about the design of the special edition Jitterbugs will be released in the coming months.

For more information about Arbogast and rest of the Class of 2024 and other inductees, click here.

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