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1940's Plastic Jitterbugs

The 1940's represented a decade of change for the famous lure. Characterized by changes from wood to plastic, possibly back to wood for a short time, then back to plastic for the vast majority of production (with the exception of some special editions) the decade proves a fun era for collectors of the Jitterbug. Early in the decade, the first series plastic bugs were offered in similar color patterns to the earliest Jitterbugs with black, red head, perch, yellow shore, pearl, pearl herringbone, and scales dominating the colors offered. This era also offered the initial clear bug which is a nice find while green scale makes its first appearance and remains a staple for 2+ decades. As noted below, the first plastic bugs are identified by second stlye hangers and straight lip screws. These lip screws were later changed back to an offset style for effectiveness reasons. During World War 2 Arbogast used plastic lips on the lure in a effort to assist with the need for metal supplies for the armed forces. This period lasted for about 3 years and offers collectors some variation as the bugs present different with colored lips and can be an exciting collection focus. This era also gave us some color variations as displayed in the photos and the 3rd generation "wire rig" commonly found on plastic lip bugs of both wood and plastic.  

Earliest version of the plastic Jitterbugs dating back to 1941 and made for a very short period. Note the vertical screws on the lip and the second style hangers both of which allow collectors to identify this era of Jitterbugs. The vertical screws proved less effective in terms of action and a return to an offset style
screw lip attachment remained throughout the life of the original bugs.

Second generation plastic Jitterbug with second style hangers and the offset lip screw pattern. Note the early stenciling on the bottom bug along with the different screw pattern. This generation had a life span of about 1 year giving way to the plastic lip World War 2 bugs. The top 3 bugs are pictured on page 34 in the 7th edition of the book Old Fishing Lures and Tackle

Plastic World War 2 era plastic lip Jitterbugs displayed in a variety of color patterns. The actual lips were produced in four different colors all of which are indicated in the photo. These colors include yellow, red, black, and white. This era brought about some new color patterns to include the green scale, solid yellow, and yellow/white belly along with some variations such as the clear belly frog and the pink belly waterwave frog. In addition the JITTERBUG stencilling across the back of the bait become common on all but the frog pattern. The WW2 bugs seem popular with collectors and represent a piece of Arbogast and American history. Arbogast also produced plastic clear lip Jitterbugs in the early 1990's some of which are displayed on the new eye page. 

Some WW2 collection highlights include the rare frogs, the green belly yellow herringbone, the pearl herringbones, and the brown and blue waterwaves.

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