The Rise of LCRs Continues

The advance of The Bottom Line, circa very early 90s.

The advance of The Bottom Line, circa very early 90s.

Last year, Terry penned a short piece on the assault of the LCR unit on the early depthfinder market, focusing on the Bottom Line units in particular. Commenting on their shortfalls, Terry wrote, “By 1988 liquid crystal displays were taking over the world, and a lot of anglers weren’t too happy about it. The units had bad resolution and the computing power needed in order to run them just wasn’t state-of-the-art. But that didn’t stop companies from completely bailing on the old tried and true technologies such as flashers and paper graphs.”

Today we feature another Bottom Line ad from just a few years later (very early 90s), and look back at some interesting developments in the world of electronics. [Read more…]

Humminbird – Another Tom Mann Invention

1973 Humminbird ad featuring Tom Mann.

1973 Humminbird ad featuring Tom Mann.

I’ve always wanted to write a piece on the history of Humminbird but I haven’t been too successful with the folks at Techsonic. Seems most people forget that Tom Mann was not only the figurehead of the original organization – but one of the guys that started the company those many years ago. I’ve been accumulating old ads in hope of putting together a complete piece on the subject but I’m not sure when or if that will ever happen. So, until I can find someone who wants to talk about the entire history of the famed electronics company, I’m going to take this opportunity to post this short piece on some of the ads I have from the early years of the company.

The first ads are from the 1973 time frame and nearly all feature Tom Mann in one way or fashion. To open up (the lead-in photo) there’s the 1973 ad featuring the Super Speed depth sounder. The ad states that the unit will read “even the smallest targets” at “Speeds up to 55 mph.” The flasher was also touted to be readable with the sun at your back. Incorporated into the ad was the Fisherman’s Prayer and the opportunity to buy the print in a number of different forms. [Read more…]

The Chowhound

An old Chowhound patch, circa late 1980s.

An old Chowhound patch, circa late 1980s.

This post gets to cover a whole lot of ground. We have an old patch, some applied science, a lure you may or may not recall, and a pretty famous and interesting person to boot. The lure was the “Chowhound,” or as sometimes referred to by it’s full name, the “Chowhound Crankspin.” [Read more…]

Electronic Fishing 1962

A 1962 Ad for Lowrance Electronic Manufacturing Company and their portable depthfinder, the Model 505.

A 1962 Ad for Lowrance Electronic Manufacturing Company and their portable depthfinder, the Model 505.

When I started bass fishing in the mid-‘70s most boats had two depth finders – one on the console and one of the bow. These units were predominantly flashers made by Humminbird, Lowrance or Vexilar. About that same time paper graphs also started to take hold in the industry so by the late ‘70s you’d see boats with a paper graph and flasher on the console and then a flasher on the bow.

Nowadays serious anglers are placing two widescreen GPS/Depthfinder units on their consoles and two on the bow with some anglers even going as far as using iPads for more mapping capability. How times change. [Read more…]

Fish Tales: Florence, Alabama – Part Six

Bill Huntley owner of T&H Marine holds a hefty largemouth. Huntley was instrumental in the advent of the aerated livewell.

Bill Huntley owner of T&H Marine holds a hefty largemouth. Huntley was instrumental in the advent of the aerated livewell.

This installment of Fish Tales, videoed at the Florence, Alabama Chamber of Commerce in November, 2014, is quite timely with respect to this week’s trivia contest. In this video Bill Huntley of T&H Marine talks about his place is the world of catch and release.

When Ray Scott started pushing the Don’t Kill Your Catch rules for his tournaments, he knew there had to be a better way to keep fish alive than keeping them on a stringer. The solution to that problem came in the form of aerated livewells – in some case coolers – in the boats and Bill Huntley ran with it. [Read more…]

Graphite Rods: An Industry Perspective – 1978

Testing a graphite rod circa 1978.

Testing a graphite rod circa 1978.

Over the last few years, we’ve done a few articles on the history of graphite rods – mostly based on Fenwick, the first company to utilize the material in production fishing rods. Fenwick first introduced their rods at the AFTMA show in 1973 and by early 1974 they were being marketed to anglers. In that first year rod costs were high, about $150 per rod, but worse yet, breakage was higher.

It was obvious the new space-age material was a winner, the problem was figuring out how to lay the material on a mandrel so its properties could be best exploited without breakage. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Now You’re Cooking (Oct 27, 2014)

Ken Cook won the 1983 Super Bass event held at Florida's St. John's River.

Ken Cook won the 1983 Super Bass event held at Florida’s St. John’s River.

In 1982, a 35 year-old Ken Cook earned his first B.A.S.S. Invitational win, and the second of the six Bassmaster victories in his storied career. The career was marked by 14 Bassmaster Classic appearances and a win in the 1991 iteration of the event held on Maryland’s Upper Chesapeake Bay, as well as three Forrest Wood Cup qualifications.

Despite the fact that the December 1982 Florida Invitational on the Kissimmee Chain was his first “national” win, Cook’s career really gained steam the following March, when he won the 1983 Super B.A.S.S. tournament, also in Florida, but just a little bit north on the St. Johns River. [Read more…]

An LCD that’s a Flasher

The Bottom Line TBL 210F liquid crystal flasher/graph by Bottom Line. circa 1988.

The Bottom Line TBL 210F liquid crystal flasher/graph by Bottom Line. circa 1988.

By 1988 liquid crystal displays were taking over the world, and a lot of anglers weren’t too happy about it. The units had bad resolution and the computing power needed in order to run them just wasn’t state-of-the-art. But that didn’t stop companies from completely bailing on the old tried and true technologies such as flashers and paper graphs.

Paper graphs and flashers had a stout following for one simple reason – they worked. One of the reasons they worked so well was they were analog, relying only on a signal from the transducer to either light a bulb or heat a stylus. Transmission of information was nearly instantaneous. In the water you dealt with the speed of sound from and to the transducer and once the signal got back to the unit, you were dealing with the speed of electrons (aka the speed of light) to send that signal to the business end of the unit. I’m taking fast. [Read more…]

Interphase – Another Loran Solution

Interphase DC-1000 and DC-2000 Loran/Depthfinder units from 1988.

Interphase DC-1000 and DC-2000 Loran/Depthfinder units from 1988.

We’ve written about the use of Loran in bass fishing here before. It was the obvious solution to finding offshore structure in the saltwater so why not use it in the sweet water? Well, there were a couple of problems. One Loran pretty much only worked in ocean environments due to the fact the Loran stations were all positioned on the coasts and two, the saltwater units were prohibitively expensive.

The other problem was accuracy. Loran was only accurate to within a tenth to a quarter of a mile – maybe okay for the ocean but definitely not okay for the freshwater. [Read more…]

Early Handheld Scales (Fail)

September, 1973 ad for the Water-Weigh portable/handheld scale system.

September, 1973 ad for the Water-Weigh portable/handheld scale system.

It’s a scale. It’s a culling beam. Well actually, it’s kind of both…or really neither. Keeping in mind that back in 1973, digital handheld scales were unheard of. Heck, it had only been 6 years previous that the world’s first electronic handheld calculator was invented by Texas Instruments. [Read more…]

Old Books: The Facts of Electronic Fishing – I

The Facts of Electronic Fishing - 1961

The Facts of Electronic Fishing – 1961

As a continuing follow-up to some of the history behind Lowrance and their early electronic units, and since Terry has been on me to post about the old Lowrance books that were published in the 1960s, today we’ll take a quick book review through the first in what became a small series of published documents, “The Facts of Electronic Fishing.”

I have an original first edition copy of that book which was published in 1961 (opening pic). The company (in 1961) was operating under the name ‘Lowrance Electronics Manufacturing Company,’ or LEMCO for short. At the time, they were still located in Joplin, Missouri. The book is approximately 124 pages long, and broken down into 5 chapters. They are as follows: [Read more…]

Applied Science: Bagley Clones Little Gamefish

Early Bagley 'Small Fry' ad. In'Fisherman, April-May, 1979.

Early Bagley ‘Small Fry’ ad. In’Fisherman, April-May, 1979.

While there is some debate about which company actually started the natural finish craze that hit the crankbait market in the very late 70s and early 80s, there is little doubt which company made the most lifelike creations at the time. Thanks to advances in technology, manufacturers were able to take quality photographic images and apply them to the surfaces of their baits. Now, instead of painting on an image of a fish in a spray room, instead you would end up with a picture of a baitfish or a crawdad applied to your lure. [Read more…]