Bass Rod Technology 1950

Heddon Bamboo Casting Rods from their 1950 catalog.

Heddon Bamboo Casting Rods from their 1950 catalog.

I recently procured a number of semi-old Heddon catalogs dating from the early 50s through the late 60s and have been pouring over them to see what the technology of the day was. There are a lot of familiar faces in the catalogs such as the Zara Spook, River Runt, Meadow Mouse, and Lucky 13 – to name a few. It’s really cool to go back and see some of the history of these world-class baits in their original design.

The earliest catalog I have is from the year 1950 and is the subject of this piece. It’s 81 pages long and doesn’t only have a listing of all their tackle, it has pages on how to fish their gear, who was fishing their gear (Homer Circle was one of the more well-known by today’s standards), how they made their gear, etc. It’s no wonder Heddon was the powerhouse of tackle manufacturing of the time. [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…]

Homemade Plastics and Jigs 1962

Photo Don Fuelsch's 1962 Southern Angler's Guide.

Photo Don Fuelsch’s 1962 Southern Angler’s Guide.

Some say it was Nick Creme who invented the modern plastic worm in 1949 – others say it was Dave DeLong. In any event, the new PVC material took artificial worm fishing to an all-new level. Prior to PVC, artificial worms were made out of rubber – the kind your car tires are made of. They were hard, not very lifelike and left a lot to be desired when it came to action. Polyvinyl chloride changed all that.

Having grown up in southern California, hand pours were more the norm than the exception. Yeah, we used Jelly Worms, Diamond Backs and Mister Twisters but if you really wanted to catch fish, the ticket was Jim Smith’s hand poured Smitty Worms. Smith and his wife Carol ran a successful business out of their house in Glendale and supplied baits to nearly every tackle shop in the southland. But, if you ventured out of southern Cal, you were hard pressed to find anything hand poured let alone anyone who knew what a hand poured worm was. [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…]

1963 World Series of Sport Fishing

The 1963 World Series of Sportfishing was won by Betty Mangold (women's division) and Ken White (men's division). Photo Don Fuelsch's 1963 Southern Angler's and Hunter's Guide.

The 1963 World Series of Sportfishing was won by Betty Mangold (women’s division) and Ken White (men’s division). Photo Don Fuelsch’s 1963 Southern Angler’s and Hunter’s Guide.

Before the Bassmaster Trail and way before the Bassmaster Classic there was only one fishing event that even came close to determining who the best angler in the world was. That event was Hy Peskin’s World Series of Sportfishing. We’ve talked about the WSOSF here before (a simple search to the right will bring up a few good stories) but only in an overall manner. Today we’re going to look at one specific event, the 1963 WSOSF, as written in Don Fuelsch’s Southern Angler’s and Hunter’s Guide. But, before we go there, here are some of the particulars of the WSOSF.

In order to qualify for the event, anglers had to win their state championship – or country championship as this was an international event. The WSOSF wasn’t just a bass event, either. Nearly all fish counted with bass gaining the most points. But, you couldn’t win with only black bass. You had to have fish in multiple species categories in order to ensure the win. [Read more…]

Braided Lines – South Bend 1939

South Bend braided lines from 1939.

South Bend braided lines from 1939.

Line is one of those necessary evils of fishing – without it, you’re not fishing in the traditional sense. Yeah, there are those who would argue a spear or net is more traditional than rod and reel, but I don’t consider those forms sportfishing. In the sportfishing sense, line it the conduit between you and the fish. Buy low quality line and you’re bound to have a bad day, buy quality line and you’re bound to complain about its cost. Where’s the happy medium?

For the last 15-plus years or so there’s been a lot of complaints about line prices – especially when you look into fluorocarbon lines and even some of the superlines such as spectra braids. Fluorocarbon lines are generally twice as much to fish with as standard nylon monofilament lines but under certain applications will outperform its nylon brother. Fluorocarbon line also doesn’t need to be changed as often as nylon either, so if you can get twice the use out of it, that actually decreases the cost by half. [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…]

Twenty Five Years of Baits Named “RC”

Rick Clunn won his fourth Bassmaster Classic on the first baits that sported his initials - The RC1 and RC3 crankbaits by Poe's.

Rick Clunn won his fourth Bassmaster Classic on the first baits that sported his initials – The RC1 and RC3 crankbaits by Poe’s.

Poe’s Lures was founded by Californian Milton Poe in the 1950s. Rick Clunn was born in 1946. It took approximately 40 years for their two legacies to join up on the most public stage in bass fishing, the 1990 Bassmaster Classic on the James River.

Twenty five years after Clunn’s fourth Classic victory, most fishing fans associate his initials with the RC 1.5, a square bill crankbait from Lucky Craft, initially marketed by Bass Pro Shops, which has more recently been renamed. In many respects it spawned the rebirth of square bills in the public’s eye as the first widely-distributed and popularized plastic bait that acted like the traditional balsa lures. For other anglers with slightly longer memories, Clunn’s initials call to mind the Rico topwater popper, one of the first high-end Japanese lures to gain favor on American soil. Before either of them, though, there were the RC 1 and RC 3 crankbaits from Poe’s. [Read more…]

Was This the First “Creature Bait”?

Cat Claw Bait Company's Super Tail ad from 1977.

Cat Claw Bait Company’s Super Tail ad from 1977.

[Editor’s note: We’re happy to have longtime writer/bass fishing expert Rich Zaleski pen this piece for us on the Cat Claw Super Tail. As many of you probably know, Rich has been writing about bass fishing since the 1970s and has been published in a multitude of magazines and Internet venues.]

Sometime in the early 1970s, New York City Reservoir bass guru Marty Friedman, was vacationing at the 1000 Islands area of the Saint Lawrence River. Back at his cottage after a particularly good day on the water, he was showing off a mixed, largemouth/smallmouth bag averaging over 3 pounds. After complimenting him on his catch, his neighbor in the vacation community showed Friedman his own limit — five largemouth averaging almost twice that much. That was when Friedman met Bob Sickafoose, and learned about the unique soft plastic lure the Ohio angler had developed. [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…]

Tackle Companies Through Patches

A Bagley's Better Baits patch circa 1970s.

A Bagley’s Better Baits patch circa 1970s.

There are times in your life you do stupid things for one reason or another. Maybe it’s no fear of death, maybe it’s disregard. On the other hand, it could be due to ignorance, or, in this case, pride. I say pride because that’s what kept me from collecting patches as a youth unless I earned the patch. For example, the only patches I had in my possession, until about three years ago, were the ones I’d received for fishing tournaments. It’s not like I didn’t have the chance, heck, I worked at a tackle shop through all of my youth and young adulthood, and had ample opportunity to collect – I just never did.

The reason for that was twofold. One, even back in the ‘70s I thought the patch vest and jumpsuit was kind of goofy. Secondly, one of the anglers I looked up to the most said you don’t wear patches unless someone is paying you. [Read more…]

Sportsman’s Products – The Super Floater

A 1977 Sportsman's Products ad for their Super Floater worms.

A 1977 Sportsman’s Products ad for their Super Floater worms.

Reading through a bunch of old magazines recently I found an ad for a lure company that was really key in the West when I was cutting my bass fishing teeth back in the ‘70s. The company was Sportsman’s Products and the bait I’m talking about was their Super Floater worm.

The claim of these worms was they could float a standard worm hook, which back then would have been a Mustad 33637 straight sproat hook or equivalent Eagle Claw, and float them they would. They made a great worm to be fished on a Carolina rig or even Texas rigged, but the problem with them was you could drive one into a 2×4 with a tack hammer. To say they were hard would be an understatement. [Read more…]