Famous Garrett bait company recognized by state

Creek Chub Bait Company sat on Keyster Street in Garrett from 1916-1979. On August 12, 2017 that spot was marked by a Indiana Historical Bureau marker.

GARRETT, Ind. (WANE) – Creek Chub Bait Company sat in the heart of Garrett for more than 60 years. Its products were shipped all over the world, and were used to catch some world record-setting fish. The innovative lures live on with collectors, and in Garrett the memory of the groundbreaking business is not forgotten.

Several dozen people got up early on a Saturday morning to mark a piece of Garrett History.

“I was ticked by the turn out,” Garrett Historical Society’s, John Mohre, said. “I thought we’d get 15-25 people.”

People learned new things about Creek Chub Bait Company which sat on Keyser Street in Garrett from 1916 to 1979. Saturday it was recognized by the Indiana Historical Bureau with a historical marker. For three granddaughters they never forgot the impact of the company.

“It’s very unexpected in a way, but I’m glad the county historian got interested,” Gretel Smith said.

Gretel and her sisters, Katrina Custer and Johanna Gordon-Buikinski, are Carl Heinzerling’s granddaughters who opened the shop with George Schulthess and Henry Dills. When their grandfather died their father took over.

“That’s where dad worked,” Gordon-Buikinski said. “He took our little brother to work with him to learn to sweep up, clean up and empty the waste baskets.”

Creek Chub Bait Company was known for its wood-made, life-like fishing lures.

“The fishing lures that have been out for 100 years look like they’re brand new,” Mohre said. “You’d almost hate to use them.”

The Creek Chub Bait Company name lives on, but it’s not owned by family members of the original owners and has moved out of Indiana. As the world changed the pine wood lures became plastic lures, but collectors are giving the original Garrett made lures a new life.

“It was one of the few items that had two lives,” Garrett Historical Society’s, Ronald Matthews, said. “It led the world in sales, and it was made so well rather to fish with it people went to collecting it.”

In fact, historians who worked to get the historical marker said most of the $3,000 cost was paid for by Creek Chub collectors. The business’ other claim to fame? It used a mainly all-female work force to make those famous lures.

This is Dekalb County’s third Indiana Historical Bureau marker.