Marketing Classic Winning Baits

1975 Rebel Super-R ad advertising Martin’s 1974 Classic win.

1975 Rebel Super-R advertisement.

Anytime a pro wins a major tour event, especially a high profile one like the Bassmaster Classic, it is just a matter of weeks, or sometimes even days, before the winning company tries to capitalize on the victory. Partly this is due to the immediacy of the Internet and social networking, and the “on demand” society we seem to have become. But it didn’t used to be that way, and someone had to be the first to tie the two concepts (tournament winning and advertising/bait sales) together. The Rebel ad in today’s post is likely one of the earliest examples of this melding of marketing and bait promotion. [Read more…]

Battle of the Minnow Lures

Rapala ad from 1966.

Rapala ad from 1966.

Lauri Rapala is rightfully credited with the advent of the contemporary minnow lure, which he first carved out of cork in 1936. Yes, there were other “minnow” lures before that but nothing that could compare to the shape and movement of the Original Floating Rapala.

It wouldn’t be until the mid-1950s that a few of the lures would make their way from Finland to America and for those who had them the results are legendary. Then in 1959 two Minnesota anglers by the names of Ron Weber and Ray Ostrom, came together to import Rapala lures to the U.S. under the name of Normark.

Although the Rapala got its formal introduction in 1960 through Weber and Ostrom’s Normark Corporation, the bait wouldn’t get national recognition until 1962 – specifically in Life Magazine. That was the issue with the recently deceased Marilyn Monroe – the most-sold issue of Life ever. That historic coincidence put Rapala on the map. [Read more…]

Zorro 1977

1977 Zorro Ad.

1977 Zorro Ad.

Stan Sloan will forever hold the distinction of being the first angler to win a Ray Scott event – winning the first All-American held on Beaver Lake in 1967. Sloan could also claim another first, that being the man who designed the built the bait that won the first Bassmaster Classic in 1971 at Lake Mead, NV. Over the course of his professional bass fishing career, Sloan never fished a full year on the Bassmaster Trail. The closest he came to that was the 1973 season where he fished five events. Most years he only fished two or three events, yet he made the Classic the first five years in a row.

Aside from being one of the top anglers in the early history of competitive bass fishing, Sloan was also a corrections officer, but more importantly, he was a superb bait maker. His Zorro Aggravator spinnerbaits were some of the most-used spinnerbaits of the time – winning numerous events in the early years. [Read more…]

More Bombers – Part II

1975 Bomber ad featuring Floyd Mabry and their full line of firetiger baits.

1975 Bomber ad featuring Floyd Mabry and their full line of firetiger baits.

Following up on yesterday’s post by Terry, as well as a previous request we had for more ads featuring Floyd Mabry, I dug through some 1975 issues of Fishing Facts magazine to pull the following. Again, there’s some fascinating history in all of this, as well as a non-Floyd ad you’ll find interesting. You can also revisit a tribute post we did on Floyd (Remembering A Texas Legend) back in June, 2013. First, the 1975 Bomber ads featuring Floyd Mabry, as well as a lot of classic Bomber lures. Be sure to check out the old twin spin in the spinnerbait ad. [Read more…]

More Bombers

1977 Bomber Speed Shad and Model A being sold in American Bass Fisherman magazine.

1977 Bomber Speed Shad and Model A being sold in American Bass Fisherman magazine.

A couple of weeks ago we did the first part of the 1978 Bassmaster season and in that article, we mentioned Hurley Board’s Lake Gaston win. Board attributed his win not just to sticking to his game plan but also to the use of a Bomber Speed Shad.

After that event, the Speed Shad became the predominant bait on both Gaston and Bugg’s (Kerr depending upon what side of the boarder you’re on) reservoirs. In fact, original Speed Shads are still in high demand for the North Carolina/Virginia boarder waters.

That article sent me on a mission to try and find an old Speed Shad ad to share with you – and I found one from 1977. Not only that, but I found three other Bomber ads dating from the same year, two of which feature crankbait legend, Floyd Mabry. [Read more…]

Plastic Worms 1962

1962 Burke Flexo-Products ad.

1962 Burke Flexo-Products ad.

We’ve discussed a number of times the advent of the contemporary plastic worm and some of the successful baits and manufacturers of the ‘70s and ‘80s. But we’ve talked little about those early PVC wonders. A couple years ago we did a piece on some old Creme, Bagley’s and DeLong baits Stan Fagerstrom showed us in his garage but other than that, we haven’t talked much about the ads from the ‘60s or earlier.

So, in order not to leave out the ‘60s plastic worm offerings, we have a few ads from that era to show you what was hot – or maybe just trying to be sold to the angler as revolutionary. [Read more…]

The Magnum Tacklebox

Plano Magnum tackle box ad featuring Bill Dance

Plano Magnum tackle box ad featuring Bill Dance

There is an interesting progression of development and popularity between bass anglers and their tackle management systems. Nowadays, soft packs and individual accessory boxes seem to dominate the boats of anglers everywhere. If you go way back in time, toward our early tournament beginnings, we were still using the old drawer boxes, or “suitcases” as some of them were affectionately known as. In between these two eras though saw the development of a hybrid system, known most frequently by the name that Plano assigned to the box, the Magnum. Fenwick also manufactured a similar box around that time. [Read more…]

Creme Hardbaits?

1962 Creme Lures ad featuring two short-lived hardbaits, the Mad-Dad and the Du-Dad.

1962 Creme Lures ad featuring two short-lived hardbaits, the Mad-Dad and the Du-Dad.

The name Creme has been associated with bass fishing since they developed (arguably) the first contemporary plastic worm in 1949. As the story goes, Nick Creme, from Akron, Ohio, fashioned a new worm from the newly formulated polymer, polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Prior to that, most artificial worms were made of rubber. Creme’s new worms were not only soft but came in a number of colors and were scented.

Not only did bass anglers like them better than the old tire treads they’d been used to, the bass loved them too. In fact, it’s said that at one of the first tackle shows where the products were revealed, Creme sold close to 10,000 packs. At four to a pack, that’s a lot of worms. [Read more…]

Fenwick – The Gold Standard of Rods

Early Fenwick HMG Graphite rod ad.

Early Fenwick HMG Graphite rod ad.

I would hate to venture how many rod companies are out there today – it seems every small town across America has at least one. I’m not knocking this surge in rod companies by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it’s actually opened up a lot of different rod building concepts and, which in turn have had a big impact on the way rods are made today.

Back in the 60s and 70s, though, that wasn’t the case. At that time you had Browning who made the Silaflex, the Garcia Conolon line of rods, Heddon (who would actually make custom rods to order, and a couple other players. Factory rods were just that, factory rods and not too impressive. Many of these companies offered their blanks to the numerous custom shops that dotted the United States and the serious angler generally went that rout instead of purchasing some off the shelf. [Read more…]

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…]

Spinnerbaits 1977

Doc Moorehead's Floozy spinnerbait with a plastic curl-tail skirt. This skirt, which came out before Mister Twister's rendition, resulted in a law suit.

Doc Moorehead’s Floozy spinnerbait with a plastic curl-tail skirt. This skirt, which came out before Mister Twister’s rendition, resulted in a law suit.

After four days of Classic coverage we’re back home and back to the grind. So, we’re going to take a little diversion this week and look at old ads. First up on the list is spinnerbaits – a bait that played a huge role in the first six Classic wins – either as the main bait or as a supplement to the winning angler.

In 1971 Bobby Murray won on a Zorro, in ’72 Don Butler won on an S.O.B., in ’74 Tommy Martin used a Fleck Weed Wader, as did Jack Hains in ’75 and in ’76 Rick Clunn followed suit with the Weed Wader. [Read more…]