Let’s Look Back: And Then Came Something New – Part 1

Here's the little Zebco Pro Staff 2010 close face spinning reel I showed thousands of folks how to use over many different parts of the world for many, many years.  Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Here’s the little Zebco Pro Staff 2010 close face spinning reel I showed thousands of folks how to use over many different parts of the world for many, many years. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

I was there when it first hit the market.

And now “Let’s Look Back” and take a closer look at just what the heck I’m talking about.  One of the primary reasons I started doing these columns for my good friend Terry Battisti is the opportunity it provides to share how some of today’s most popular items of fishing tackle first made an appearance on the tackle shelves.

Having hung around the fishing scene as long as I have has provided ample opportunity for that sharing I’ve mentioned.  I began doing a fishing column for a daily newspaper in Washington State away back in 1946.  There’s an awful lot of gear folks now use to put bass in the boat that didn’t exist when I did my first outdoor columns. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back: There Is More Than One Way – Part 2

Nothing beats the open faced spinning reel for a host of bass fishing problems.  It’s still tops for lightweight work.  And now there are super strong but small diameter braided lines that work just fine on an open face reel.  This lets you handle things even if the cover is a bit heavy.  Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Nothing beats the open faced spinning reel for a host of bass fishing problems. It’s still tops for lightweight work. And now there are super strong but small diameter braided lines that work just fine on an open face reel. This lets you handle things even if the cover is a bit heavy. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

The open face spinning reel is a wonderful fishing tool.  As far as I’m concerned, there isn’t anything else available that will let you handle really light lines and lures as efficiently.

In my previous column I detailed how the great majority of users of the open face get the job done.  They do it by draping the line across their right forefinger; then they straighten that finger at the instant they want their lure to fly off to its intended target. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back: There’s More than One Way – Part 1

When producers of the world's top outdoor shows bring you in to do casting exhibitions they expect you to be able to hit your targets.  Working out the casting techniques that enable you to do that is essential.  Here I'm pictured doing my thing at a big outdoor show in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  I gave casting exhibitions there on three successive years. Photo Stan Fagerstrom

When producers of the world’s top outdoor shows bring you in to do casting exhibitions they expect you to be able to hit your targets. Working out the casting techniques that enable you to do that is essential. Here I’m pictured doing my thing at a big outdoor show in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I gave casting exhibitions there on three successive years. Photo Stan Fagerstrom

I gave my first casting demonstrations that really amounted to anything at the old Pan Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles way back in April of 1952.

Since that time I expect I’ve probably given about as many demonstrations of level wind rigs, both open and closed face spinning reels and rods as well as the techniques of flipping and pitching as darn near anybody.  My demonstrations have taken me all over the United States and from Tennessee to Tokyo as well as from Nevada to New Zealand.  And there have been numerous other spots both in and out of the USA.

If I’ve learned anything over having spent those countless hours trying to help my audiences learn more about casting – it’s this.  There is more than one way to do darn near anything.  And that certainly applies where various types of casting are concerned. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back: I’m Too Old To Forget – Part 2

This old girl is as beat up as I am---but she has provided me with some of my very best bass fishing memories. She is a Heddon Vamp Spook. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

This old girl is as beat up as I am—but she has provided me with some of my very best bass fishing memories. She is a Heddon Vamp Spook. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

If you read my previous Let’s Look Back column you know the subject dealt with a wonderful old bass bait called the Heddon Vamp Spook.

I also made some comments about not being in agreement with that hog crap we hear so often about the old guys like me not being capable of remembering their early day experiences.  It was, incidentally, the memories of the first time I ever saw the Heddon Vamp Spook actually being used for bass that’s the reason for this column. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back: Too Old To Forget – Part 1

This old Heddon Vamp Spook has almost as many scars as I do. Some of the scars she wears also brought some of my most loved bass fishing memories. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

This old Heddon Vamp Spook has almost as many scars as I do. Some of the scars she wears also brought some of my most loved bass fishing memories. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Hardly a day goes by these days it seems that we don’t hear, see or read something about advanced age and declining memory just waiting to kick you in the butt!

Don’t you believe it!  I maintain that there are often just as many things – sometimes more of them – that the old never forget. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back: “You Gotta Make ‘Em Talk” – Part 2

The late Blackie Lightfoot travelled all over the United States showing bass anglers how to use lures the people he represented were selling. Out of all the different hard baits he fished, the one he holds here was his favorite. It is a Cordell Red Fin. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

The late Blackie Lightfoot travelled all over the United States showing bass anglers how to use lures the people he represented were selling. Out of all the different hard baits he fished, the one he holds here was his favorite. It is a Cordell Red Fin. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

I wish the words I want to share in this column were easy for me to write, but they aren’t.  They will deal with the bass lure I told about in my previous Let’s Look Back column.

The lure, of course, is the Cordell Red Fin.  I detailed how my Texas friend Blackie Lightfoot once traveled the whole country showing writers and guides in different areas how the lures being marketed by the PRADCO people were best used.

As it turned out, after fishing all kinds of baits all over the place, Blackie’s favorite hard bait of the whole bunch was the Cordell Red Fin.  What he personally showed me on fishing trips we made together from Washington State to California wound up revealing why he felt as he did. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back: “You Gotta Make ‘Em Talk” – Part 1

My friend Blackie Lightfoot pulled the bass boat you see here all over the United States. He'd get together with writers and guides along the way and show them the different lures available from the PRADCO people he was working for. Here I boat a nice bass that Blackie had hooked on one of his favorite lures. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

My friend Blackie Lightfoot pulled the bass boat you see here all over the United States. He’d get together with writers and guides along the way and show them the different lures available from the PRADCO people he was working for. Here I boat a nice bass that Blackie had hooked on one of his favorite lures. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

[Editor’s note:  This submission was to be posted April 1, 2016.  I light of my travel schedule and the fact I had very intermittent internet access the last month, I was unable to post it.  Stan’s May submission – Part 2 of this series – will post tomorrow.] 

This column has a dual purpose.

One is that I want to tell you about a guy whom I always felt was one of the best bass anglers I ever met.  The second is to tell you about his favorite lure and exactly what he had to do with it to get the results he was after.

Probably the easiest way for me to do that is to share an experience I had once while fishing with my good friend Steve Fleming, of Fossil, Oregon.  Steve operates the much respected Mah-Hah outfitters operation out Fossil.  For years he has been a top guide on Oregon’s John Day River. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back: Columbia River’s Warm Water Fish Populations Face Problem

My friend Bruce Holt displays the kind of smallmouth bass anglers are now finding in the Columbia River. The larger fish always show up early in the season. Bruce nailed this beauty in February. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

My friend Bruce Holt displays the kind of smallmouth bass anglers are now finding in the Columbia River. The larger fish always show up early in the season. Bruce nailed this beauty in February. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

The Pacific Northwest is salmon and steelhead country.

Anybody who fishes and doesn’t know that hasn’t got all his marbles. But let me share something you very well might not be aware of. It’s this: That part of the world now also has some darn good bass fishing. It is also producing record size walleyes. But as hard as some of the fish officials in states like Oregon and Washington have tried to destroy the big river’s warm water fishery it’s a wonder it’s still there. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back: “Fishing Can Be Funny” – Part 1

Darn few fishermen have more of the details about the history of bass lures than does the guy pictured here. He's R. L. (Dick) Streater, a resident of Mercer Island, Washington. Streater is a long time memberof the Western Bass Club. This club, based in Seattle, is thought to have been the first bass club organized in the United States. It was formed in 1938.

Darn few fishermen have more of the details about the history of bass lures than does the guy pictured here. He’s R. L. (Dick) Streater, a resident of Mercer Island, Washington. Streater is a long time member of the Western Bass Club. This club, based in Seattle, is thought to have been the first bass club organized in the United States. It was formed in 1938.

There’s one thing I especially enjoy in writing this column for the Bass Fishing Archives. It’s the opportunity it provides to share thoughts about some really outstanding individuals who have contributed so much to this business of bassin’.

It’s also one of the benefits of having been around as long, or longer than most, of the veteran outdoor scribes who are still whacking out stories of one kind or another. I particularly enjoy sharing those thoughts I’ve mentioned when they are about a man who has been around quite awhile himself.

Ever hear of a guy named Dick Streater? If you haven’t you should. That’s especially true if you want to put a little fun into fishing. It’s also of special interest if you belong to a fishing club or group that brings in speakers or entertainment of one kind or another. [Read more…]

Lets’ Look Back: A friend Named Bill – Part 2

I hope some of my favorite Bill Norman lures don't eventually get dropped now that the company has been sold.  I'm still using some of Norman's early baits to put bass in the boat.

I hope some of my favorite Bill Norman lures don’t eventually get dropped now that the company has been sold. I’m still using some of Norman’s early baits to put bass in the boat.

The more things change the more they become the same.

Odds are you’d heard that comment before. I agree that it’s sometimes true but by golly don’t expect it to happen the day after tomorrow. Sometimes it takes awhile.

If you read my last column you know I told about my long time friendship with Bill Norman, the founder of Norman Lures.

If you did read that column, you’re aware I told about Norman having started his own lure company back in the 1960s. Not long afterwards he quit doing things on his own and went to work for another Arkansas bait making company named the Plastics Research and Develop Company. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back: A Friend Named Bill – Part 1

Having Bill Norman for a friend meant a great deal to me.  If this picture doesn't show a couple of guys having fun, I don't know what would. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Having Bill Norman for a friend meant a great deal to me. If this picture doesn’t show a couple of guys having fun, I don’t know what would. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

[Editor’s Note: The recent sale of Norman Lures to the PRADCO organization hadn’t yet been announced when Stan wrote the following column. The sale was announced in late November. Stan will bring things that the late Bill Norman started up to date in his Let’s Look Back column for January, 2016.]

Whenever we take time to look back over the high spots along the trail we’ve followed, we’re certain to remember especially well some of the special events that have transpired.

If certain of those events happened to involve special friends, they’re even more certain to be up close to the top of your tackle box of memories. One of mine took place eight years ago in Birmingham, Alabama.

The annual Bassmasters Classic back in 2007 was headquartered in Birmingham. There will be those reading this who undoubtedly were there. I was there too, but it was another event held in concert with the Classic that brought me. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back: Just Let it Sit

She's beat up a bit and some of her paint I gone but this old girl started catching bass for me a long, long time ago - and she still does. Note the sizeable double hook on the rear of the lure instead of the usual treble. One barb of the belly hook has also been clipped off. One of the workers at the Arbogast factory made these changes for me early on. I love it! Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

She’s beat up a bit and some of her paint I gone but this old girl started catching bass for me a long, long time ago – and she still does. Note the sizeable double hook on the rear of the lure instead of the usual treble. One barb of the belly hook has also been clipped off. One of the workers at the Arbogast factory made these changes for me early on. I love it! Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Some experiences just don’t fade away.

This applies every bit as much – maybe more – to fishing as it does to anything else. It’s certainly true where certain of my wondrous old lures are concerned.

If you read my last column you’ll recall I promised to tell about an experience that finally got me on the right track to get my Hula Poppers to do the job for me.

Goodness knows I’d had plenty of advice from experts regarding these old Arbogast baits. That advice was almost always much the same. It consisted of two words – slow down!

Maybe, like me and lots of other bassin’ men, you want to get your lure out there exactly where it needs to be but then you want to do something with it. What good is it gonna do just to let it set there? Why not start it dancing its way back to the boat and maybe get one of those bass you know is out there excited enough to smack it? [Read more…]