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Santee Bait Company
North Charleston, SC

When Arel Brown got out of the US Navy after World War II, he chose to leave his Alabama home for the Charleston, SC area. You could not readily buy fishing lures immediately after the war, so Brown began making them. For a period of only about eighteen months in 1947-1948, he was making fishing lures as The Santee Bait Company.
With the help of a cousin, he made the lures in the basement of the home owned by his aunt and uncle. Mr. Brown estimates that only about 1,500 baits were ever made. The lures were turned on a small lathe and hand painted in a variety of colorful patterns. The Santee Bait Company produced some of the finest wooden lures ever made in South Carolina.
Santee Baits were turned on this small lathe
Paperwork for The Santee Bait Company describes four lures made by the company. They were called The Dolly Jumper, Gumpy, Snoopy, and The Santee Special. There were some subtle variations within lure types and several lures have also been found that are different from the four basic baits.
Click on any of the thumbnail images below to see a larger picture

Dalton Special Type

Snoopy

Gumpy
Downturned nose & flat belly

Gumpy
Upturned nose & pointed Belly

Gumpy
Upturned nose & flat belly

Dolly Jumper
Flat belly

Dolly Jumper Lure
Pointed Belly

Don't know what to call this one

Santee Special
Variation with slightly more rounded lower lip. The lure maker actually called this one a darter and hand wrote the name on the box.

Santee Special - Small Size

Santee Special Lure

Santee Baits were packaged in one-piece folding top boxes. Box markings evolved from plain rubber stamped, to paper labels, to fancy graphics.The different box styles can be see here.

Plain top
Stamp on front panel

Stamp on top & front panels
Stamped lure name

Stamp on top & front panels
Handwritten lure name

Label on top - lure name stamped

Label on top - lure name hand written

Graphics box


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