This painting started my current obsession with painting lures. I got to wondering how it got it’s name – Zara Spook.

I knew it was developed by Heddon back in the 50’s in Dowagiac, Michigan. Ive always loved the lure for its colors and of course, the thrill of a topwater explosion. And the name has always amused me. As a Southerner I believe a good nickname is highly valued. A little research revealed that this lure actually has southern roots.

When the Heddon company began using plastics in their lures they called them “spooks” because they were transparent…like a ghost. But what about the Zara part? Sounds exotic doesn’t it?

Turns out, if you can believe Mr Ray Sasser, esteemed outdoor writer for the Dallas Morning News, the lure was developed in Pensacola, Florida. Which might as well be part of my home state of Alabama as far as I’m concerned.

Evidently the lure was carved by a local and was really effective at catching speckled trout. Biggs Sporting Goods, which opened in Pensacola in 1917 and is now, unfortunately, a parking lot, was the place to go if you were a fisherman in Pensacola in the first half of the last century. Just a few blocks away was The red light district, such as it was in this port city, down on Zaragoza Street.

Well the hand carved lure got around for its ability to entice speckled trout to the surface for a snack leading a customer, after a particularly successful day, to proclaim, “That minnow, it do the hoochie coochie, just like the girls on Zaragoza Street.”

And the Zaragoza Minnow was born. Later on, a traveling rep for the Heddon Company visited Biggs Sporting Goods and brought the lure back to Michigan where it became the Zara Spook.

Thank you Mr Sasser for that story. It explains a lot as to why I’ve always loved this lure.

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