Saturday, February 12, 2011

Mizera Trout Jigs vs AERO LURES

Many times on Ebay and other places you'll find a very similar lure to Frank Mizera of Ely, Minnesota.  Sometimes they are wooden and sometimes they are plastic.  It is my understanding that they are made by a company in Virginia, Minnesota.  That company is said to be the same company as William Walden Lure Company, Virginia Minnesota that made metal trout jigs shaped like bullets with rounded wings, cheater hooks and forked tails.  The wooden trout jigs are stamped into the wood on the belly, AERO LURE.  I've shown two examples of lures that still show stamps.  They are hard to see.  I've had other examples that clearly show the stamp when more paint is present on the belly.

The differences most apparent are the wider, less detailed fork in the tail.  Mizera's narrowed quite a bit right before the fork begins.  While the lead pour in the bottom is similar the fins on the AERO lures are rounded much more than Mizera's fins.  The normal fins on a Frank Mizera trout jig or cheater lure have a perpendicular straight edge to the body.  His fins commonly were painted with alternating colored stripes like his decoys, although not always.  The dots down the side while nearly always present on AERO LURES are only sometimes present on Frank's cheaters.  The noses on the AERO lures are normally less pronounced and narrower than Mizera's jigs.

The AERO LURES when pictured together (two or three or more) all bear the same nearly duplicated body shape and fin placement, fat in front and narrowing (look underneath).  These lures are always very similar because they were mass produced and most likely carved with a duplicator machine as other lures were.

Frank Mizera's lures each have a unique shape, although similar through style and muscle memory, they were each hand carved and hand painted.  I hope the pictures below help.  While I may be sketchy on some of the commercial fishing lure company's details, I'm 100% positive that these lures were not made by Ely's Frank Mizera.  I've handled and own enough of the real thing to know the difference.  Mizera did not stamp or sign his decoys or lures.  His style was his signature as with most old timers.

Why so similar?  Well, as with any good, successful design, these are lures that worked when fishing for lake trout, their are 100s of similar "airplane" jigs or airplane lures that I've seen and found in tackle boxes all over Northern Minnesota.  I've got an extensive collection of unknowns that have similar qualities to each of these lures.

If you run across any, I'm interested in buying, especially several pieces by the same maker and pieces from Frank Mizera and Johnny Novak of Ely.  I'll showcase some of my Novak airplane jigs at another time.  Each of these guys made metal jigs as well.  That's a story for another time.


1 comment:

  1. Wow .. it's very old and antique equipment for fishing .............!!

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