Let’s Look Back – Tackle Industry Friends Part 1

I didn't have any white in my whiskers when I first started corresponding with Homer Circle way back in the middle of the last century.  Over the years he was to become one of my closest friends.  Homer was working for the Heddon Tackle Company when our friendship first developed. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

I didn’t have any white in my whiskers when I first started corresponding with Homer Circle way back in the middle of the last century. Over the years he was to become one of my closest friends. Homer was working for the Heddon Tackle Company when our friendship first developed. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

[Editor’s Note: Due to unforseen circumstances, we have not been able to post any stories for the better part of three months.  With this, we will be running two of Stan’s posts from August and September today and tomorrow in order to try and play catch-up with his column. We will also try and get back to posting on a more-regular basis.  We apologize for the lack of articles but the day job had severely hindered the time needed to provide meaningful pieces.]

There’s been a heap of change in this business of marketing baits designed to put bass in the boat since I did my first writing about it.

It was way back in the middle of the last century when I turned out my first fishing columns for a daily newspaper. The exact year was 1946. The way I went about getting details on new products I wanted to write about back in those early days provides one of glaring aspects of the changes I’m talking about.

And even more important, as far as I’m concerned, is how the tackle industry in those early days put me in touch with some lifetime friends. Some of those friends were instrumental in opening doors that led to me eventually having experiences I’d previously not even dreamed about having.

Let’s use the Heddon Tackle Company as an example. When I first came on the scene the Heddon Tackle Company was located in a place called Dowagiac, Michigan. It didn’t take long for me to get in touch with the guy who was in charge of that growing tackle company’s public relations program.

If you’ve stayed on top of the developments in the bass fishing industry very darn long, you’re going to recognize the name of the man I’m talking about. He was the late Homer Circle, a man who was to eventually become one of my closest friends.

Here's one of the first Heddon lures Homer sent me.  This old Heddon Basser was and still is one helluva fine lure for someone who knows how to use it.  I eventually got to show Homer how it produced when we fished together on my home lake.  Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Here’s one of the first Heddon lures Homer sent me. This old Heddon Basser was and still is one helluva fine lure for someone who knows how to use it. I eventually got to show Homer how it produced when we fished together on my home lake. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Chances are, unless you’ve got as much white in your whiskers as I have, you won’t connect my late Homer with the Heddon Tackle Company. You’re far more likely to remember to him as the Fishing Editor of Sports Afield Magazine or the Uncle Homer who for years did a special column for Bassmaster Magazine.

I find few are the eyeballs of present day bass anglers whose eyes light up when I ask them if they ever read any of the material Jason Lucas did as the Fishing Editor of Sports Afield magazine.

The way I see it, if there is anybody who deserves to be called one of the “Fathers of American Bass Fishing” it’s Jason Lucas. Take the time to find some of what he wrote and odds are you won’t always agree with all of it. But odds are just as great you’ll wind up agreeing that here was a man who was way the hell and gone ahead of his time.

I feel the same way where Lucas and the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame are concerned. I was voted into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame back in 2007 and I’m damn proud of it. Jason’s name has come up again and again on the listing of potential Hall of Fame candidates but he has never been voted in.

There’s got to be just one reason for that—there are too many voters who just aren’t aware of Jason’s contributions in the very early days of American bass fishing. I hope someday my special friend Sammy Lee and the other great guys who call the shots at the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame will bend the rules or create a category where old Jason, a guy who was also to become a personal good friend, gets the attention he deserves.

Homer Circle was one of the first of the top writers in the bass fishing field to get the favorable Hall of Fame vote. Homer, among other things, was the guy who replaced Jason Lucas as the Fishing Editor of Sports Afield magazine.

Talk about tackle industry friends---I shot this picture of the late Homer Circle and Forrest Wood while they were together one day at a Bassmasters Classic.  For my bucks there's never been two better men to represent this business of putting bass in the boat.  And I'm blessed to have had both as my friends.  Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Talk about tackle industry friends—I shot this picture of the late Homer Circle and Forrest Wood while they were together one day at a Bassmasters Classic. For my bucks there’s never been two better men to represent this business of putting bass in the boat. And I’m blessed to have had both as my friends. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

I didn’t, of course, get to see the actual vote count the time Homer was selected but I’d be willing to bet it wasn’t far from unanimous. To know the guy was to love him.

Let me explain just briefly why I say that. Though Homer and I started corresponding when he was with Heddon way back in the middle of the last century, we were not to meet until almost 30 years later.

Our first actual meeting came when the first Bassmasters Classic was held at Lake Mead and headquartered at Las Vegas, Nevada in 1971. I was the only writer from the Pacific Northwest invited to attend. I’d bet big bucks it was my friend Homer who was responsible for my attendance.

I say that because I know Ray Scott, the founder of BASS, had asked Homer for suggestions as to what writers should be invited to this first Bassmasters Classic. This was just the first time Homer was to be instrumental in getting me involved in events I’d never dreamed of being a part of.

I’ll detail what some of those other events were in my future Let’s Look Back columns. Doing so will tie in with some of the comments I made in the beginning here. They will reveal more about the tremendous changes that have taken place in bass fishing and other areas of the fishing industry as well during the wondrous years I’ve had opportunity to be a part of it.

-To Be Continued-