Chicagoland Canoe Base
The Story of the Fish Lure with No Name



During World War II, many Californians of Japanese descent were ordered to camps in Colorado. One of them, John Fujita, passed the time designing fishing lures to take advantage of the trout stream that flowed through the camp. Eventually he came up with a lure that seemed to catch a trout on every cast. Not knowing what to call his new invention, he simply called it the No-Name lure.

It consisted of a tiny #10 hook with a little lead spoon cast on it and to it was tied a white fly on a tiny hook. The secret seemed to be the little loops of leader that held the fly and gave it complete freedom and action to send vibrations that would attract the larger fish. It imitated a small minnow in the water, sure to be noticed by any other fish in the area.

Many years ago I had acquired a few of these lures and gave the first one to a neighbor who was going fishing at the Fox Chain-of-lakes, a popular Chicagoland fishing area. He fished over the weekend and on the following Monday evening, after work, he dropped by my shop to announce sorrowfully that he had lost the lure. "Never mind the lure, how did it work?", I said. He replied, at the first cast, a small crappie, the second cast produced a large crappie, the third and forth casts produced more crappies, but on the fifth cast, a large bass took the lure and it was gone.

A tool steel salesman used to call on my father and I to sell us steel which we used for making custom stone chisels. He was a flyfisherman and was going on a vacation climbing and fishing in the Big Horn Mountains in the West. Of course, I gave him a lure to try. He reported he was fishing Crazy Woman Creek one morning and after fruitless efforts since dawn, he was ready to quit about 10 am when he thought of the lure I had given him. Putting it on the line, he proceeded to stripping out the line down-stream when from the corner of his eye, he spotted a 10 pounder flashing out from behind a boulder and making off with my lure before he could react. He claimed he spent the restof his vacation trying to remember how it looked and if he could duplicate it with what he had in his tackle box.

I personally have caught bass and panfish with this lure using light spinning tackle and a clear, tiny bobber for a casting weight. It should work great for jigging also. I even caught a black bullhead through the lips once, proving that any fish that will strike at a small minnow, will hit the lure.

John Fujita, the inventor, has passed away now, but his family is still producing these wonderful lures in California. We sell them at Chicagoland Canoe Base for $3.95.

For more information, contact me at  



Ralph C. Frese


Since the No-Name is teporarily out of production we have learned of a similar lure that is supposed to be almost as effective. It is called the LITTLE SKUNK (picture below) and consist of a jug head with a feathered fly attached. Available in several color combinations, it sells for $2.49 eac, postage paid or $26.28 for a card of 12.

Try one yourself!


The Forest Preserve District of Cook County has a wonderful fishing guide to their waters that includes maps with depths, species of fish present, access location and fishing hotspots. It is free by calling the Forest Preserve headquarters at 1-800-870-3666

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