Long Lost Tackle Companies – Tennessee Tackle Co.

1977 Tennessee Tackle Co ad.

1977 Tennessee Tackle Co ad.

Since starting this site 18 months ago, I’ve learned a lot about a subject I thought I knew a lot about – bass fishing history. Today’s post is no different.

Tennnessee and western North Carolina are known as the handmade crankbait capital of the world. There are probably more garage crankbait tinkerers located within that 500-mile range than all others combined throughout the U.S. There’s good reason for that – the fish in this area eat crankbaits and the reservoirs and rivers are very conducive to throwing them.

Well here’s another bait company that I had no clue existed until I was skimming through a 1977 National Bass magazine. The Tennessee Tackle Company from LaFollette, TN. In this ad they’re offering to send you two of their original Tennessee Shad crankbaits and two of their Tennnessee Twister spinnerbaits for the cost of $8.50. I’m not too impressed with the design of the spinnerbait – it being constructed out of a plain bullet head – but I am interested in the crankbaits – handmade from balsa wood.

The bait reminds me a bit of the lures that Ott Defoe handmakes for himself and a few of his buds. Small, flat-sided with a square bill. These aren’t deep divers – you can tell by the position of the line tie.

The ad also states that this is their National Introduction and Tennessee Bassmen “Reveal Secret to Record Catches.” Kind of a lot of hype but I’d still drop down the cash for the cranks.

Does anyone out there know of this company, how long they were in business, who owned the company, blah blah blah? There’s nothing on the internet about them and I’ve done a pretty thorough search. It’d be nice to know a bit more about them.

  • Craig

    The Tennessee Shad crankbait pictured in the ad was originally designed and made by George “Boots” Anderson in the early 60’s. At some point in the late 70’s early 80’s the company was purchased by Lonnie Warwick and Roy “Moonie” Winston, both former players for the Minnesota Vikings. I was able to purchase quite a few and still use them extensively when I need a shallow water crankbait. They are very good lures.