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Jim Pfeffer Lures by Vic Densmore
Orlando, Florida

Vic Densmore and his brother in law, Jim Heaberlin, bought Jim Pfeffer's lure company in 1972. They acquired all of the leftover parts, pieces, inventory, and tools and set about the business of making Jim Pfeffer lures. Among the first things they had to do was figure out what lures, sizes, and colors Pfeffer had been making. They prepared a single sheet "catalog" of Jim Pfeffer lures, something that Pfeffer himself had never done.
The catalog sheet illustrated fifteen different lures and fourteen color codes. A chart showed which color pattern was used for each lure. The lures were listed numerically on the back side with the lure name, whether the lure was a sinker or a floater, and what kind of fish each was designed to catch.

The information on the back side also indicated the ® registered trademark of the Banana Lures name. The trademark registered earlier by Jim Pfeffer was transferred as part of the company sale by Betty Pfeffer. The USPTO assigned trademark serial number 71575155 to Victor C. Densmore of Palm Bay, FL.
Vic Densmore catalog of Jim Pfeffer lures

Pfeffer collectors today usually refer to lures made by the new company as Densmore lures. That might actually be a misnomer. Vic Densmore and Jim Heaberlin bought and operated the business as partners for the first couple of years. The business was set up at Heaberlin's house and he did most of the lathe work and all of the painting. According to Jim ...I did the lathe work, sanded them, painted them including the gills by hand only...Vic assemble(d) the hardware on them and did the shipping and selling.... Regardless, Jim Heaberlin sold his half of the business to Vic Densmore after a couple of years and Vic ...made them with his wife and daughters doing the painting them by hand.

In some email correspondence some years ago, Jim Heaberlin shared some "secrets" about Jim Pfeffer lures. The Orlando Shiner, both golden and silver, were made in both sinking and floating models. The sinking models were made with a lead slug inserted in the belly. The cripple or injured minnow was simply a top minnow turned on its side without the mouth being cut out.

He also spoke about how Pfeffer lures were painted. Sometimes I experimented with different colors and that explains a few plugs turning up in a different color than was standard.....Every plug either of us (Densmore or Heaberlin) made as far as I know had hand painted gills and eyes which was a drop of paint out of a plastic bottle....I personally do not know of a real Jim Pfeffer with airbrushed gills, whether made by Jim, myself, or Vic Densmore. It's a possibility but a damn small one. I wouldn't buy one, that's for sure.

Vic Densmore Gill Marks Most of the Jim Pfeffer lures made by Densmore / Heaberlin were stamped with the Jim Pfeffer name. All of the lures had hand painted gill marks, as seen here.

Heaberlin and Densmore took great care to make Jim Pfeffer lures as close as possible to how Jim Pfeffer had made them himself. According to Heaberlin there is really no fool proof way of telling a Densmore or Pfeffer lure apart. Many so called experts think they can but Vic and I used the same wood (Honduras Mahogoney), the same brand of paint, the same colors, and used his stencils and air brush, so the entire manufacturing process was unchanged.

I do not presume to be an expert by any means, and I am the first to say that I have a hard time differentiating some Densmore lures from some Pfeffer lures. It's not too hard to tell them apart sometimes, as some of the Densmore lures had eyes with an iris that was painted larger than was painted on Pfeffer baits. It is often tough for me to tell them apart though, and I am only going to show a few lure pictures on this page for that reason.

Vic Densmore made Jim Pfeffer lures until he retired from the lure business in 1978. He did excellent work, as he and Jim Heaberlin had also done excellent work. "Densmore lures" are the final chapter of the Jim Pfeffer story, and they stand quite well as their own body of work.

Vic Densmore Lures
Vic Densmore / Jim Pfeffer Orlando Shiner Viv Densmore / Jim Pfeffer Cast Top Vic Densmore / Jim Pfeffer Midget Cast Top
Orlando Shiner Cast Top Midget Cast Top
Vic Densmore / Jim Pfeffer Dilly Vic Densmore / Jim Pfeffer Sailfish Shiner Vic Densmore / Jim Pfeffer Mullet
Dilly Sailfish Shiner Mullet (probably a Densmore)

Vic Densmore envelope for Jim Pfeffer lures As Jim Pfeffer had done, Densmore packaged
his lures in manila envelopes. Unlike the
printed envelopes used by Pfeffer,
Denmore's were rubber stamped and read:

P.O. BOX 13530

The lure name and color were often
hand written on the envelopes.
Vic Densmore envelope for Jim Pfeffer lures

We are always interested in adding to this collection. Please send an email if you have any old Vic Densmore baits for sale or trade.
Visit my page about Antique Florida Lures to see other lure makers from Florida.

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