John's Journal...

The Snagless Sally and Uncle Josh: A Lure Marriage Made in Bass Heaven for Summertime Fishing

Snagless Sally’s Family Tree

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: These two deadly weed-bed lures –the Snagless Sally and the Uncle Josh Pork Chunk – form an unbeatable Click to enlargecombination for catching bass in the summer.

Searching back into Miss Snagless Sally’s family tree, we see that she comes from a long line of outstanding bluebloods in fishing tackle history. Her lineage began more than 100-years ago with the patriarch of her family, Big John Hildebrandt, who was a master plumber, a perfectionist and a fisherman. Combining all of these skills, he decided that the best lure he could fashion to catch fish was the spinner. He made his first spinner from a dime and one of his wife’s hairpins. So I guess you might say that the Hildebrandt Company was one that started on a thin dime. Big John soon learned that his newly-invented spinner would catch fish when nothing else would. Because of his ability to take fish with his hairpin and dime spinner, Hildebrandt gained quite a reputation as an angler. Big John experimented for 3 years before he finally put his spinners up for sale to the general public. He learned that the spinner had to be a perfect shape and have perfect balance so that it could spin the instant it touched water. Since that early dime and hairpin Click to enlargespinner was invented, millions of the spinners have been sold.

Then, a country and western entertainer who called himself the Duke of Paducah came to the Click to enlargeHildebrandt Company and displayed one of their spinners with a piece of lead squeezed on the shank of the bait. “I’d like for you to make a weighted spinner for me with a yellow skirt on it,” the Duke said. “I believe that skirt would add a lot of flash to the bait and cause big bass to take it more readily.” Ann Hildebrandt Carson, a spokeswoman for the Hildebrandt Company, explains, “The Duke of Paducah is credited with helping us discover the first Snagless Sally later bought by Yakima Lures. After we knew what he wanted, we built the leaded spinner and put the yellow skirt on it. The bait began to catch so many fish that we were making it up special for the Duke and many of his friends. For 5-years or so, the Sally was a custom bait and wasn’t added to our catalogue at first. When she first came on the market, many of the retailers bought a card of two of the Sallys just to try them out. But for the last several decades, the yellow Snagless Sally has been Hildebrandt’s No. 1 lure.” And why shouldn’t she be? She was courted by a Duke. She came from a long line of noble lures, and when she and Uncle Josh teamed-up, they took the bass-fishing world by storm.

For more information on the Snagless Sally, visit


Tomorrow: Uncle Josh’s Family Tree

Check back each day this week for more about "The Snagless Sally and Uncle Josh: A Lure Marriage Made in Bass Heaven for Summertime Fishing"

Day 1: Snagless Sally Meets Her Frog
Day 2: The Snagless Sally vs. Shrimp for Bass
Day 3: Fishing the Snagless Sally in Various Structure
Day 4: Snagless Sally’s Family Tree
Day 5: Uncle Josh’s Family Tree


Entry 513, Day 4