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…]

Let’s Look Back – Tackle Industry Friends Part 3

As you can see in this picture, that Hula Popper I threw into a hole back in pad cover minutes ago is still fishin' all by itself.  If you've taken good care of its Hula Skirt your lure is going to do the same thing the one in this picture is doing.  Don't lay your rod aside no matter how long the lure has been out there.  You just never know when the water might explode.  Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

As you can see in this picture, that Hula Popper I threw into a hole back in pad cover minutes ago is still fishin’ all by itself. If you’ve taken good care of its Hula Skirt your lure is going to do the same thing the one in this picture is doing. Don’t lay your rod aside no matter how long the lure has been out there. You just never know when the water might explode. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

I doubt anybody knows quite as much about specific bass baits as the guys who come up with them in the first place.

In last month’s column I mentioned having had the chance down through the years of getting to know personally some of the nation’s leading lure makers. I’ve always felt pretty darn lucky to have had that opportunity.

I also mentioned that one of the guys I’d always wished I could have met, but didn’t, was Fred Arbogast. Fred, of course, was the guy who gave us lures ranging from the family of Hawaiian Wigglers to familiar surface baits like the wondrous old Jitterbugs and Hula Poppers.

I didn’t get to connect with Fred because he had almost come and gone before I wrote my first piece about bass. Now I’ve been around what sometimes seems almost since the fall of the Roman Empire. Actually, I entered the scene away back in 1923 but Fred, an expert bait caster besides heading up a terrific lure company, was already a national bait casting champion in 1922, 1923 and 1924. He passed away in 1947. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back – Tackle Industry Friends Part 2

When I found lures that would catch fish for me it was great to be able to share a boat with the guy who was bringing those baits to the tackle shelves.  The late Bill Norman was a friend of mine.  I learned a good bit about his baits on the fishing trips I made with him. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

When I found lures that would catch fish for me it was great to be able to share a boat with the guy who was bringing those baits to the tackle shelves. The late Bill Norman was a friend of mine. I learned a good bit about his baits on the fishing trips I made with him. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

I miss those days. If you’ve been around as long as I have, I expect you do too.

What days am I talking about? I miss those days when if you had a question about a specific item of fishing tackle you could usually go right to the guy who had his name on it to get the answers. Even if he didn’t actually have his name on it, it wasn’t hard to find out who he was.

I didn’t, of course, have a chance to meet all of them back there 69 years ago when I first started writing but by golly I did get to meet quite a few. I’m talking about guys like Bill Norman, Cotton Cordell, Dick Kotis, Jim Bagley, Gary Loomis, Tex Reeder, Phil Jensen and a number of others.

One of the lure manufacturers I’ve always wished I’d had opportunity to meet was Fred Arbogast. That didn’t happen because Fred was already producing the first of his famous to be line of bass lures about the time I came into the world away back in 1923. [Read more…]

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. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back – Abe Schiller Part 3

Abe Schiller checks out some of the lures he's going to show the bass at Lake Mead.  When I fished with him while aboard the big Flamingo Hotel's cruiser back in the 1950s we rarely ran into other bass boats. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Abe Schiller checks out some of the lures he’s going to show the bass at Lake Mead. When I fished with him while aboard the big Flamingo Hotel’s cruiser back in the 1950s we rarely ran into other bass boats. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Any time I take a look back at Las Vegas, Lake Mead and the earlier days of professional bass fishing it brings a mixture of memories – some good and some sad.

I expect many bass anglers will relate both Vegas and Lake Mead to the first Bassmasters Classic in 1971. I was there for that original Classic but my experience with both the city and the lake began well before that event took place. It’s also where some of that sadness I mentioned creeps into my memory.

I touched on some of that in my previous column. I told how I got my first look at Las Vegas in 1952. The beautiful Flamingo was then the only major hotel on what was to become the fabled Las Vegas Strip that we know today. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back – Abe Schiller Part 2

Abe Schiller was a man I was blessed to meet during my early days of fishing and writing about it.  I had the extreme good fortune to spend time with him on Lake Mead when that big lake was one of the world's best bass and crappie fishing spots. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Abe Schiller was a man I was blessed to meet during my early days of fishing and writing about it. I had the extreme good fortune to spend time with him on Lake Mead when that big lake was one of the world’s best bass and crappie fishing spots. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Does the name Abe Schiller ring any memory bells for you?

It very well might if you’re an old guy who has enjoyed as many birthdays as I have. You might even have known him better by the name “Mister Last Vegas” because that’s what he was often called when he was introduced here and there around the world more than half a century ago.

Much of the time he was called by that Las Vegas handle when he was riding a beautiful horse in parades like the annual Rose Parade in Portland, Oregon or the Tournament of Roses Parade in Los Angeles, California. He did it while majestically garbed in a Wild West outfit that included everything from sparkling boots to an eye-grabbing sombrero wilder than anything you’ve seen on the motion picture screens. [Read more…]

Classic Patches – 1971 through 1980

Bassmaster Classic I Patch. Winner Bobby Murray. Venue Lake Mead, NV.

Bassmaster Classic I Patch. Winner Bobby Murray. Venue Lake Mead, NV.

I Travel a lot for my day job, often times more than three weeks a month. The past four months have been especially difficult in that I’ve been on the road for more than 90-percent of that time. You know you travel a lot when you know, by name, flight attendants and hotel concierges – and I seem to know my share of them.

I bring this up for a couple of reasons. First I want to apologize to the readers and supporters of the site for not delivering better pieces – ones that I’ve either promised or need to do. Hopefully my day job will calm down some in the near future and I’ll be able to get back to the historical pieces I’ve had on the back burner for some time now. [Read more…]