Antique Fishing Lures by Floyd Roberts


The Old Lure Japanese Story

Part II

Photographs supplied by The Bassman™

Material supplied by The Bassman™

Website Author : Floyd Roberts

     March 30, 1983 Mr. Mitsura Sato wrote a letter to Mr. Clyde A. Harbin Sr. to inquired about the Old Fishing Lures and Tackle book by Carl F. Luckey and James Heddon's Sons Catalogues book by Clyde A. Harbin Sr.  Mr. Sato wrote that he was a B.A.S.S. member and a member of the National Fishing Lure Collectors Club (NFLCC).  Mr. Mitsura Sato is the President of the Glass Eye International, Inc. from Saitama, Japan.  Glass Eye International manufactures quality rods, rod handles and lures.

  Mr. Sato went on to purchase a copy of Mr. Harbin's James Heddon's Sons Catalogues book.  He mailed Mr. Harbin this picture of himself with his personal 5 pound record bass which he caught May 3, 1983.  He caught this bass with a Heddon, Baby Zara, red head white body.  After Mr. Harbin received this photograph and learned of his personal record bass he sent Mr. Sato a new Baby Zara in the box as a gift to fish with so he could catch a larger bass and beat his personal record.

  Mr. Sato asked Mr. Harbin to assist him with his old lure collecting.  Mr. Clyde Harbin has a vast collection of old lures and rare lures from many manufactures.  From his extra lure and trader lure stock he assisted Mr. Sato with his collection.  Over the upcoming years they became good long distance friends and frequently corresponded with each.  Mr. Sato acquired many old Heddon lures for his collection from Mr. Harbin.   

  January 4, 1989 Mr. Harbin wrote Mr. Sato to thank him for the wonderful card he sent him.  Mr. Sato made the below picture card from a Zaragossa lure with its original box from a lure he acquired from Mr. Harbin.

  Mr. Harbin also sent along a list of Japanese collectors and addresses that he had written to over the past few years.  He sent the same list to Mr. Wakabayashi and asked Mr. Sato to contact him and inquire if there would be an interest for them to create a collectors club of Japan.

  Some time around March of 1989 Mr. Sato purchased fifteen of Mr. Harbin's Old Heddon Lure video's from Phil Smith Production in Irving Texas, USA.  He planned to sell the video's to Japanese collectors but as of  January 1991 Mr. Sato had only sold six Heddon video's because at this time there were few old lure collectors in Japan.  

Note:  Mr. Harbin's Heddon Video's volumes 3 & 4 displayed in Mr. Sato's collection in the bottom left photograph below.  

  Mr. Takahara Hirano, editor of the EI Publishing Co. Ltd. in Japan contacted Mr. Harbin and asked for an interview with him.  The EI Publishing Co. was writing an article titled "The World of Old Tackle" for the First Edition of "The Old Tackle" magazine.  Mr. Harbin graciously accepted the offer for the interview with the EI Publishing Co.  In his home Mr. Harbin had many rare lures, rare catalogues, books, magazines, color slide transparences, Japanese collectors letters and Japanese lures that were only sold in Japan.  He offered all these items to the EI Publishing Co. for the interview and to photograph for the "Old Tackle" magazine. 

  December 12, 1997 the EI Publishing Trio arrived at Mr. & Mrs. Clyde Harbin's home in Memphis.  After a warm welcome and an introduction they were ready to begin the interview with Mr. Harbin and photograph his rare Heddon lures.  

     (left) Mr. Mitsuru Sato           (center) Mrs. Polk Harbin      (right) Mr. Clyde A Harbin Sr.

  The above photograph was taken by Mr. Taku Miyazawa upon the arrival of the EI Publishing Co. Ltd. at Mr. and Mrs. home in Memphis, Tennessee.  

  Mr. Mitsuru Sato signed this beautifully designed box and presented Mr. Clyde Harbin with this "Glass Eye Basara" as a gift upon his arrival.  


        (left) Mr. Clyde A. Harbin Sr.                        (right) Mr. Mitsuru Sato

  Mr. Harbin and Mr. Sato pose together in front of a wall of mounted largemouth bass.. - The two center bass were caught by Mrs. Polk Harbin.  (top center) Mrs. Polk Harbin caught this 13 pound trophy bass (center) and the 8-3/4 pound bass.  (right) Mr. Clyde Harbin landed this 10-1/2 pound beauty and (left) 9-1/2 pound bass.

  Mr. Harbin is pointing to some very rare Heddon lures.  Mr. Harbin is discussing with Mr. Sato what rare lures the EI Publishing Company will be photographing for the first edition of the "Old Tackle" magazine.  The interview and photo taking session took nine hours to complete.  It was long but a fun interview for both parties and the EI Publishing Company now had the needed material for the Old Tackle story.  

(left photograph)  Mr. Harbin and Mr. Sato are inspecting some rare 1904/1905 Heddon lures along with the lure boxes.  (right photograph)  Mr. Harbin is manufacturing his Bassman Spinner bait and his Water Walker Buzz bait lure for Mr. Sato, Mr. Hirano and Mr. Miyazawa and presented them all as gifts.  

   Mr. Harbin and Mr. Sato are in his garage where one of Mr. Harbin's Bass boats are stored.  Mr. Harbin is cutting out  his Chamois tails that are of his own design.  The Chamois tail replaces the pork rind and can be used on spinner and buzz baits.  Unlike pork rind the Chamois tail can be reused many time as still retains great action.  Mr. Harbin made his Chamois tail for all of the EI Publishing Co. visitors.  

  First Edition of The Old Tackle Magazine

   The above pictures were published in the first edition of The Old Tackle magazine by the EI Publishing Co. Ltd.  in March of 1998. 

  May 1, 1998 Mr. Harbin wrote Mr. Sato President of Glass Eye International to inquire about his Glass Eye Stick fishing rods.  Upon arrival of two model BF256L rods Mr. Harbin mounted the rods in his handles.  He reported that on first testing of the rods they provided excellent action and were great to cast.  

  October 5, 1998 Mr. Clyde Harbin along with favorite fishing partner Mrs. Polk Harbin set out for a day of fishing out of East Lake near the town of Holly Grove, Arkansas.  They were both armed with Mr. Sato's Glass Eye casting rods.  Clyde tied on his Water Walker bait and Polk Harbin fished with one of Clyde's spinner baits.  Everything was in tune that day and Mr. and Mrs. Harbin caught this nice bunch of largemouth bass.  All of the bass on the table measured between 18" and 19" in length.

  Mr. Harbin wrote Mr. Sato to informed him of their successful fishing trip he had with his wife while using his excellent Glass Eye casting rods.   He also sent a signed photograph of their beautiful catch on October 5th. 

  With Mr. Harbin's permission Mr. Sato used Mr. Harbin's signed photograph and his letter for a Glass Eye Stick advertisement that was published in a Japanese "Rod and Reel" magazine.

  Mr. Clyde A. Harbin Sr. assisted Mr. Mitsura Sato with many old Heddon lures and historical data for his personal collection.  Mr. Harbin has known Mr. Sato since 1983 and they had the pleasure to meet in person when the EI Publishing Co. Ltd. traveled to the USA and interviewed Mr. Harbin for a story in the first publication of the "Old Tackle" magazine.  Mr. Harbin is a dedicated man in helping others in the field of antique lures and through his efforts he inspired thousands of collectors around the world.

  Floyd L. Roberts

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