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.

1962 DeLong ad.

1962 DeLong ad.

First on the list is an old-time company named Burke. Most of you who remember Burke probably remember the soft-plastic “hardbaits” they sold – namely topwaters and crankbaits. They also made some pretty crazy plastic worms in the ‘70s and ‘80s that didn’t go over too well. Seems they’ve always had an “out-of-the-box” design mentality – or maybe it was just too much scotch.

In any event, I was scanning some old magazines from 1962 and came up with this Burke ad featuring their Jig-A-Do Crawler and Siamese Crawler. The worm on the Jig-A-Do pretty much has a standard DeLong/Creme profile and is rigged with a double hook. The cool part of this rig, though, is the head. To me, it reminds me of a Scrounger head – probably giving the worm and decent back-and-forth action while on the retrieve.

The Siamese Crawler, on the other hand, is rigged much like you’d see any plastic worm of the day, with a spinner at the nose and pre-rigged with hooks. The difference was that it had a twin tail – something I hadn’t seen in a plastic worm ad before this time.

Jeff's Go Worm ad 1962.

Jeff’s Go Worm ad 1962.

The second ad is an old DeLong ad featuring their 6- and 4 1/2-inch pre-rigged worms. The difference between DeLong and the other manufacturers was that they actually molded the line into the worms instead of pouring the baits and rigging the hooks afterwards.

If you read the ad, you’ll also see one of their claims to persuade the angler to buy their product over real nightcrawlers or worms. Here’s what they had to say:

“Amazingly limber, lifelike in looks action and feel! Ideal for fishing with the wife and children! No mess – no time wasted baiting up…..”

Lucky Strike Plastic Worm ad from 1962.

Lucky Strike Plastic Worm ad from 1962.

The third ad has gimmick written all over it. If there were fishing infomercials back in the early ‘60s, Jeff’s Go Worm would have been one for sure. The selling point? The worm “supposedly” crawled like an inchworm when retrieved. Having messed around with plastic for the better part of 40 years, I find this not only crazy but hilarious. As the ad says, “New and Different,” is a correct statement. I just wonder how many were sold before the angler realized the bait didn’t function as marketed and stopped buying them.

The fourth ad has me a bit stumped. The name of the worm is Lucky Strike and at first I thought it may have been the beginnings of the Luck-E-Strike Lure company we know today. Then I read a little farther and saw the baits were actually manufactured by Jamison Tackle MFGR. I did a check to see if the address was the same as the famed Jamison Tackle Corp. – the makers of the fame Shannon spinners – and realized this was not the same company. The other thing that struck me, and sorry but my inner chemist is talking here, was their use of the term “Hydromelized.” For one, is that even a word and two, hydro refers to water, not oil. Yeah, I’m being picky.

1962 El Tango Worm ad.

1962 El Tango Worm ad.

The final ad from this set of 1962 worm advertisements is for Outdoor Productions featuring their “El Tango Worm.” It’s an interesting ad in that it again reminds me of something today – the Chatterbait. Yes the blade on the front of the hook is fixed but I’d wager a bag of Senkos that this bait swims just like the aforementioned swim jig. This wouldn’t be the only bladed worm rig we’d ever see, either. Lindy Little Joe came out with one in the late-‘60s/early-‘70s and there was at least one other company that did the same.

  • Bill Sonnett

    The first plastic worms I ever saw were in 1957. A friend of my father showed them to me and said that some of those shy stone quarry bass were being caught on them. On an outdoor show from Columbus Ohio, “Outdoors with Don Mack” local car dealer Ed Huchens demonstrated how to rig “rubber worms” with a sewing needle, needle nose pliers and mono – running the line length wise through the worm so that only the hook points stuck out of the worm. Following his lead, I rigged up a few and in 1959 caught my first bass on one of these. No one in those days referred to these as “plastic” they were always called “rubber worms” Later research in early catalogs have shown rubber worms to have been around since the late 1800’s. Only the softness of the rubber has been greatly improved as very early examples soon dried out as hard as a rock.