Remembering Howard Worden

[dropcap size=small]H[/dropcap]oward Worden, creator of the world famous Rooster Tail spinner, and many other fishing lures, passed away on February 11, 2015 at the age of 93. Mr. Worden was one of the owners of Yakima Bait Co. in Granger, Washington, a company that was founded by his father in 1929.

Howard was working for the company in the late 1940’s when he designed the prototype for what would become the Rooster Tail spinner. One summer, during a visit to a lake in California, Howard built a weighted spinner with a willow leaf blade and a hackle tail. He called the new lure the “Retreat Special”, and soon Yakima Bait Company was producing and selling it around the Northwest.

The spinner started gaining some ardent followers, but Howard felt like the new lure needed a better name.   After watching the hydroplane races in Seattle on TV, he began calling his new spinner the “Rooster Tail”.

The Rooster Tail was mostly a regional lure until the 1960’s when some anglers from Florida took some of the spinner samples they’d received at the annual Fishing Tackle Manufacturer’s Show in Chicago back home and immediately caught bass with them. Once the word spread that the versatile Rooster Tail was so productive on bass, it quickly became a “must have lure.” Sales of the lure quickly grew and today millions and millions of Rooster Tail spinners have been sold, used by anglers around the world to catch trout, bass, perch, crappie and many other kinds of game fish.

Howard was also instrumental in the development and marketing of the Spin-N-Glo winged drift bobber, the Lil’ Corky drift bobber and several different versions of the Rooster Tail spinner, including the Super Rooster Tail, Sonic Rooster Tail and Vibric Rooster Tail.

Besides lure design and manufacturing, Howard also developed a system that simplified the design and building of Tiffany style stained glass lamps. Known as the WordenSystem, the pre-designed kits allow hobbyists to build their own stained glass lamps in any one of dozens of designs.

An avid angler all his life, Howard was always thinking about the next great lure and up until the last year or so of his life he was still tweaking and designing lure ideas.

Howard is survived by his wife Katherine (Kay), daughters Mary Nitzke and Janice Worden, and two grandchildren.