We’ve talked about the advent of graphite (carbon fiber) into fishing rods before on the site, which happened in the early 70s. One of those early graphite rod pioneers was a company out of Texas called Skyline Industries. Back in December 1975, Skyline applied for a patent on the use of carbon fiber (Graphite fiber fishing rod – United States Patent 4043074), which they were later granted on 08/23/1977. But this piece isn’t focused so much on that technology as it is on the marketing at the time.
Skyline began back in 1960 when Jack Roach, Joe Cates and Melvin Haas formed a partnership and founded the company. Back then, the company was based around supplying the aerospace/military industry. Jack himself had previously worked for General Dynamics. Upon developing their carbon fiber rod line, they were one of the first to advertise in In-Fisherman magazine (1976), and like most companies of the time, they had a popular spokesperson in those ads, one Al Lindner. However, where they seemed to differ from a lot of other early fishing companies was that they were an early adopter of what we now refer to as the “pro staff” concept. In an interview from the AFTMA Trade Show in Chicago, 1977, Jack mentioned that they (Skyline) “…Had 29 of the 30 professional anglers who fished in the American Bass Fisherman’s championship fishoff last year using Skyline rods.” A slightly later IF Skyline ad (1976) in In-Fisherman had the entire ‘prostaff’ pictured, and the list of guys using their product was impressive. Many you might not recognize, but others such as Guy Eaker, Woo Daves, Ted Capra, John Fox, and Jerry Crowell, you likely do.
Take a look at the pictures below and see how many early professional bass fishing pioneers from the ad that used Skyline rods at the time, you can recognize.