Antique Fishing Lures by Floyd Roberts

History of the South Bend, Bass Oreno

1915 - 1964


  This famous lure appeared in 1915. It underwent many changes through the years but the basic lure design remained the same. Basically this lure is easy to identify by it's eyes. The No-Eye version is a little more complicated and other methods need to be considered such as body style and hook hanger gap. I will discuss this in more detail later on.

  The Bass Oreno body did go through some slight modifications throughout the life of this lure.  In the beginning this bait measured 3-1/2 inches in length.  This early No Eyed Oreno model has been referred to as the Chopped Tail.  Peter Bernhart (South Bend expert and long member of the NFLCC) informed me that he now believes that the Chopped Tail was a result of poor Quality Control.  Mr. Bernhart thinks that South Bend purchased lure blanks from several lumber mills. Around 1919 South Bend either purchased their own mill or contracted only one mill to produce their blanks.  The best way to determine age of these early No Eye Oreno's are by the line tie washers, Tail washers and Hook gap.  Washer less are the earliest followed by a very tiny washer that is almost unseen and the latest was the standard type washer.

  The 3-3/4 inch length Bass Oreno has been found with three taper tail lengths (Long, Medium & Short).  The earliest  Oreno's had the Long taper tail length.  To determine the taper length, measure with a caliper along the taper to 5/8" diameter. Measure from that point back to the end of the tail. The results of this measurement will indicate the taper length of the lure. See the diagram below to determine the taper length.

 Type of Taper Measurement
 Long 3/4" Taper Length
Medium 5/8" Taper Length
Short 1/2" Taper Length

 

Taper Length Diagram

 

NO EYES

No Eyes

c.1915 - 1925

Unpainted Cups

c.1915 - c.1933

 

 

Screw Eye (early) Easy-Off (later) Easy-Off

 

Cataloged Colors for No Eye Version 1915 - 1925

  1. Frog
  2. Solid Red
  3. Rainbow
  4. Red head, White body
  5. Red head, Aluminum body
  6. White body with Spots
  7. Yellow body with Red & Green Spots
  8. Blue head, White body
  9. Luminous
  10. Red blend, Scale Finish
  11. Green Scale
  12. Gold body with Red Head
  13. Solid Black
  14. Red body, Black head
  15. Mullet Scale, Blue
  16. Yellow Perch Scale
  1. 1916-1925
  2. 1916-1920
  3. 1916-1925
  4. 1916-1925
  5. 1916-1925
  6. 1916-1925
  7. 1916-1925
  8. 1919-1922
  9. 1916-1925
  10. 1919-1925
  11. 1919-1925
  12. 1919-1925
  13. 1921-1922
  14. 1921-1925
  15. 1922
  16. 1922-1925

GLASS EYES

Glass Eye 

Version 6

c.1926 - 1927

Glass Eye

Version 7

1927 - 1930

Glass Eye 

Version 8

1931 - 1932

GLASS EYE : Version 9 (1932 - 1934) - This is the final stage for the glass eyes. This stage is the same as the version 8 except the hook hanger cups are now painted.

Glass Eye 

Version 9

1932 - 1934

 

Cataloged Colors for Glass Eyes c.1926 - 1934

  1. Copper
  2. Frog
  3. Gold body, Red head
  4. Luminous
  5. Red body, Black head
  6. Rainbow
  7. Red head, White body
  8. Red head, Aluminum body
  9. Red blend, Scale finish
  10. Green Scale
  11. White body with Spots
  12. Yellow body with Red & Green Spots
  13. Yellow Perch
  14. Pikie scale
  15. Goldfish, Natural scale
  16. Shiner Natural scale
  17. Red Stripes (4) on White body
  18. Pearl
  19. Red head, Silver Speckled body
  20. Black, Red around the Eyes
  21. Black Arrowhead, White body
  22. Red Arrowhead, White body
  23. Red Arrowhead, Yellow body
  1. 1926
  2. 1926-1934
  3. 1926
  4. 1926-1934
  5. 1926-1934
  6. 1926-1934
  7. 1926-1934
  8. 1926-1934
  9. 1926-1934
  10. 1926-1934
  11. 1926-1934
  12. 1926-1934
  13. 1926-1934
  14. 1927-1934
  15. 1927-1930
  16. 1928-1930
  17. 1930-1931
  18. 1930-1934
  19. 1930-1931
  20. 1931
  21. 1932-1934
  22. 1932-1934
  23. 1932-1934

TACK EYES

Tack Eye 

Version 10

c.1935 - 1942

Painted Cups

1935 - 1942

TACK EYES : Version 11 (1947 - 1950) - The tack eyes remained the same as version 10. There were two changes for this version. The hook hanger cups were again unpainted and they changed the words stenciled across the back to now read "South Bend Bass Oreno".

Tack Eye 

Version 11

1947 - 1950

Unpainted Cups

1947 - 1950

 

Cataloged Colors for Tack Eyes 1935 - 1950

  1. Black Arrowhead, White body
  2. Red Arrowhead, White body
  3. Red Arrowhead, Yellow body
  4. Red body, Black head
  5. Frog
  6. Luminous
  7. Rainbow
  8. Red head, White body
  9. Red head, Aluminum body
  10. Red Blend, Scale Finish
  11. Green Scale
  12. White body with Spots
  13. Yellow body with Red & Green spots
  14. Yellow Perch Scale
  15. Pike scale
  16. Pearl
  17. Yellow body, Red & Brown spots
  18. White Arrowhead, Black body
  19. Minnow Scale - Silver, Black, Red
  20. Dace Scale
  21. Goldfish Scale
  22. Silver Herring Scale
  23. Black body, White Waves
  24. White body, Silver flitter, Red Wave Stripes
  25. Yellow body, Silver Speckled, Black Wave Stripes
  26. Yellow body, Black Wave Stripes
  27. White body, Blue Wave Blend 
  28. Rainbow, Blue back
  29. Red Arrowhead, White body, Black Wave Stripes
  30. Fire Orange
  31. Neon Red
  32. Saturn Green
  33. Fire Lacquer Red, Black Wave Stripe
  1. 1935-1942
  2. 1935-1950
  3. 1935-1950
  4. 1935-1940
  5. 1935-1950
  6. 1935-1950
  7. 1935-1940
  8. 1935-1950
  9. 1935-1942
  10. 1935-1942
  11. 1935-1950
  12. 1935-1950
  13. 1935
  14. 1935-1950
  15. 1935-1942
  16. 1935-1942
  17. 1936-1950
  18. 1938-1942
  19. 1938-1942
  20. 1938-1942
  21. 1940-1942
  22. 1940-1942
  23. 1940-1942
  24. 1940-1942
  25. 1940-1942
  26. 1940
  27. 1940
  28. 1941-1950
  29. 1941
  30. 1950
  31. 1950
  32. 1950
  33. 1950

CARVED EYES

Carved Eye

Version 12

1951 - c.1966

Surface Rig

1951 - 1982 

 

Cataloged Colors for Carved Eyes 1951 - 1964

  1. Imitation Frog
  2. Luminous
  3. Rainbow Blue back
  4. Red Arrowhead, White body
  5. Red Arrowhead, Yellow body
  6. Green scale
  7. White body with Spots
  8. Yellow body with Red & Brown spots
  9. Yellow Perch
  10. Red Arrowhead, Fire Lacquer Green, Black Wave Stripes
  11. Fire Lacquer Orange, Black Wave Stripes
  12. Fire Lacquer Red, Black Wave Stripes
  1. 1951-1964
  2. 1951-1962
  3. 1951-1953
  4. 1951-1964
  5. 1951-1964
  6. 1951-1964
  7. 1951-1953
  8. 1951-1953
  9. 1951-1964
  10. 1951-1952
  11. 1951-1952
  12. 1951-1952

Painted Eyes

Painted Eye

Version 13

1967 - 1982

 


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