If you lived in the Midwest in the 1980s, then you probably couldn’t discuss a host of fishing topics without mentioning the name Tom Seward. The focus of today’s historical news photo, Seward, 44 at the time when he appeared in a Southern Illinoisan news story, was already a well-recognized artist, lure designer, writer, and big bass specialist. His in-depth articles featured in Fishing Facts were some of the most well detailed pieces of knowledge in print at the time. By then, he was also involved in lure design and natural paint schemes for classic companies like Lazy Ike/Natural Ike and Crankbait Corp. He was regularly featured in Fishing Facts magazine, and had just started Trophies Only, a fish taxidermy business in his hometown of Carbondale, Illinois.
Editor’s Note: Currently we are working on an in-depth piece about Tom Seward and his life. Look for it in the near future.
Brian, I was a professor at Southern Illinois University from 1969 until I retired in 2005. Sometime around 1975, I read an article in the local newspaper about a Carbondale art teacher named Tom Seward who was carving and selling balsa fishing lures. They were literally a work of art. I sent the article to my good friend in Des Moines who had just purchased Lazy Ike tackle company (I was an original stockholder). He flew into Carbondale where we met Tom at Crab Orchard Lake to demonstrate his lures. My friend subsequently hired Tom to work for Lazy Ike after which he developed the Natural Ike fishing lure. I could continue, but only want to share a bit of information and offer my availability as one who knows a lot of Lazy Ike history that I have never read elsewhere. I have no agenda other than reminiscing about what might have been. The development of Natural Ike is a fascinating story and remarkable achievement.
Thanks for taking the time to add some details to the story. As a big Midwest fishing history buff, Tom is/was pretty much considered “legendary” in these parts, and his detailed articles in Fishing Facts magazine always stood out from the rest.
I’d be glad to reach out and talk further about Tom and Lazy Ike if interested. I can send you an email to start with my contact information if that’s okay with you?
Brian, yes I would enjoy this. By the way, my wife and I are both Hoosiers (Muncie and Huntington) and my family had a vacation home for many years at Lake Tippecanoe.
I’m a former student of Tom. I hate to ask, but is he still alive?
Sorry to say, he passed away a few years back, rather unknowingly to the fishing industry. I can’t seem to find the exact date right now.
Hi Dan. Unfortunately Tom passed away in 2014. Here is a link to his obituary. http://cns.stparchive.com/Archive/CNS/CNS05212014P03.php