Hot Tackle for ‘68

1968 Daiwa ad.

1968 Daiwa ad.

Today we’re taking a look back 46 years in order to get an idea of some of the products that manufacturers were offering anglers back in 1968. Going back like this lets you really see, and maybe even understand, what the angler of the past had to deal with and also gives you an idea exactly how nice we have it today. So here’s a brief look back in time.

Daiwa – Daiwa came out with the first skirted spool reel in the early 70s, and that engineering breakthrough was a game changer in spinning reel technology. Before that, all spinning reels, like the Daiwa reels shown in this ad, had spools that fit inside the spool housing. If you’re too young to remember reels like these, you’re lucky.

Line control on the spool was an absolute must due to the fact any loops and/or loose line on the spool would invariably make its way between the pipe-cleaner on the spool and the spool housing. Once this happened, the line would wrap around the spool shaft and you’d soon find yourself in a mess.

In any event, Daiwa’s ultralight freshwater 7250RL reel shown in the ad was featured with many state-of-the-art functions for the time. A quick release spool allowed the angler to change line fast or move to a different pound test with the push of a button. The reel also allowed the angler to switch from left- to right-hand retrieve with a coin. It also came with an aluminum spool, something that many manufacturers of the day did not offer. This was a major change on reel design as many manufacturers (such as ABU and Mitchell) of the time made their spools of hard plastic, which had a tendency to break if the line was packed too tight or dropped. Even with these features, Daiwa wouldn’t become a major entity in the U.S. market until their came out with the first skirted spool.

1968 Burke ad.

1968 Burke ad.

Burke – Known for their off-the-wall designs and soft hardbaits, Burke wouldn’t let anglers in 1968 down with at least one more crazy idea. That design was put forth in a worm called the chain worm. Constructed of the standard PVC plastic that all worm manufacturers use, which tears, Burke decided to design an indestructible plastic worm by stringing a chain through the bait, complete with rigged hooks. I’ve seen these worms and have had a chance to play with them and can understand why they didn’t become the next Creme worm.

The chain created a bait that had the action of a 2×4. You needed no weight with this gem as the chain and other metal paraphernalia made sure it got to the bottom fast. Once on lake floor, the entire worm laid there with exposed hooks to snag anything within and length of a hook gap. The worm was better suited as a plug knocker or even a snag to retrieve an overboard rod and reel.

As for the Top Dog flexible topwater, I’d bet a good amount of money that Burke was also manufacturing casting plugs. This design is obviously a painted casting plug with hooks, great for popping that kiddie pool you use to practice in or for snagging cats.

1968 Creek Chub ad.

1968 Creek Chub ad.

Creek Chub – You have baits that make you scratch your head and then you have baits that are proven fish catchers. Creek Chub was one of those companies that made lures that caught fish. One of the original U.S. plug manufacturers, their ad here from 1968 revealed a good number of their lineup. Of course there was the world record-holding Pikie Minnow in two sizes and the injured minnow prop bait. The other bait I’ve always had an infatuation with was the Ding Bat, probably because I was an All In The Family fan.

Another thing that gets my attention with the ad, though, isn’t the baits but where they were manufactured – Garrett, Indiana. This intrigues me because most of the lure manufacturers of the time – Heddon, Creme, Hildebrandt, etc – were manufactured in the Midwest. I’ve always wondered why the bulk of the manufacturers weren’t based out of the south, where anglers could catch bass year round. Maybe it was because the anglers of the north had cabin fever and in order to do something with respect to fishing, they designed lures? It’s just a guess.

1968 DeLong ad.

1968 DeLong ad.

DeLong Lures – Here’s another northern lure manufacturer – DeLong Lures of Cleveland, OH. From my research, DeLong was the second contemporary plastic worm manufacturer, second to Creme. What I like about this ad is they’re touting their new “smaller” 6-inch Junior Witch. It’s amazing to compare this small bait to what we call small these days.

Like the Burke Chain Worm above, the Witches came pre-rigged with two hooks. The DeLong Lures Company at least put weedless hooks on the bait in order to help prevent snags. Also, instead of using anchor chain as the connecting mechanism, they used 30-pound test Dacron line. They also incorporated the standard tire tread design of the day. I can’t make too much fun of DeLong, as I know of many fish caught on the bait and it was also a favorite of “Lunker” Bill Murphy. If they were good enough for him, that hold a lot of weight in my book.

1968 Flip Tail ad.

1968 Flip Tail ad.

Flip Tail – Of the three worm ads picked from 1968, this one, Flip Tail, is probably still the most recognized of them all – even after being out of production for around 20 years. Produced by Stembridge Products Inc., they are the lone U.S. manufacture in this string of ads that was NOT from the north. Flip Tail’s ads can be seen from the early 60s and by the late 60s and early 70s they weren’t just placing ads in magazines, writers were writing about the exploits of tournament anglers in the same magazines.

In this ad Flip Tail was advertising the fact that they offered both unrigged and rigged worms along with four different sizes from 6-inches up to 9 1/4-inches in length.

1968 Heddon ad.

1968 Heddon ad.

Heddon – Here’s one, if not the first, major manufacturer of bass lures, James Heddon’s Sons of Dowagiac, MI. Everyone knows of the Heddons and the impact they had on the bass world but how many know of this bait, the Tiger? I have to admit, I’d never heard of it before but with good cause. The lures were originally made from 1967 through 1971 and then again in 1980. If you’d like to read more about the bait, click here and here for a pretty thorough history of the lure.

  • RichZ

    I had two of those Daiwa 7250 reels. Handles on both and rotor on one got very wbbly, very quickly. Replaced them with DAM Quick ultralights. The Quick’s lasted WAY longer than the Daiwas.

    The Chainworm had another iteration a year or two later, using the familiar Burke segmented body with the trident tail, and rigged on a jighead. Didn’t work any better than the tandem hook one.

    The Greek Chub Cray-Z-Fish was a GREAT lure in its day. I also bought a Ding Bat, based on the success I had found with the Cray Z Fish, and the Ding Bat did Squat.

    Fliptails — particularly the 9-1/4″ “Daddy” were my go-to lure for more than a decade. I’ve still got a big bag of them that’s probably 40 years old. And they still catch fish.

    • Rich,

      I never had one of those Daiwas but I did have a 1000C back in the early 70s hen they first came out. The gears on those wore out too as did the bail springs.

      I have pics of the Chain Worm you’re talking about. Not just ads but the real thing. Andy Greene has an entire card of them at the shop and I happened to almost step on them when I was there a month ago. I’ll post a picture sometime with them.

  • Andy Williamson

    Dear Terry,
    Enjoyed this article on 1968 tackle. About the skirted spool spinning reels, you also wrote a good article, “It’s all about the skirts”, on Oct. 29 2013. I commented at the end of that article that Mepps was the first company to come out with the skirted spool spinning reel, way back in the 50’s to European fishermen and in the 60’s to the U.S.
    Thank you.

    • Andy,

      Sorry I missed your reply a while ago but I’m glad you were persistent! I’m going to do a bit of research on that and put a piece up about it. Found a couple of really interesting websites about the Meca!

      Thanks again,