Editor's note: Because of some newly acquired information, Bernie Schultz offers this revised version of the story, which first appeared a week ago.
If you like to fish topwater lures, chances are you own at least one walking-style bait. It might be a Heddon Zara Spook, Rapala Skitter V, Lucky Craft Gunfish, Storm-Arashi Top Walker or some other model. Whatever the make, there’s no doubt these are good choices anytime the surface bite is on.
That said, if I were to ask you to name the first walking bait ever conceived, could you answer with any certainty?
Would you say the Heddon Zara Spook was first? Most would, probably because it’s been around the longest. But that would be the wrong answer.
The Spook was not first … not even close. It actually evolved from the “Zaragossa” — a wooden lure introduced by Heddon prior to 1920. But was the Zaragossa first? Most vintage tackle collectors would tell you emphatically, “yes!” But if that’s true, then who was the person responsible for its design?