What’s My Line

Berkley Ad circa 1977.

Berkley Ad circa 1977.

Here’s a neat set of line ads for the year 1977 featuring both Stren and Berkley. Between these two ads they offer 21 of the 25 anglers who made it to the 1976 Bassmaster Classic. I wasn’t able to find any other line ads for other brands, which may be the reason why the other four anglers don’t show up in the magazines of the day, but in any event the ads to me speak a lot, especially due to the industry today when it comes to line choices.

What I find interesting about the ads is that Stren (Du Pont) has a vast majority, 16 to be exact, of America’s top professional anglers on their staff while Berkley has only five out of the 25. That’s what I’d call a lopsided number – 64% to 20% – in any comparison, even if there weren’t as many line companies out there.

Stren ad circa 1977.

Stren ad circa 1977.

Back in the 1976-77 time frame there weren’t as many top-end line manufacturers as there are today, but still you had companies such as Maxima and Garcia Royal Bonnyl (both lines imported from Germany if I remember correct) that were on the market. Yes Maxima and Royal Bonnyl were stiff, some say you could string a piano with Bonnyl, but they did sell a lot of product.

The other thing that strikes me about these ads compared to today’s market is Stren is no longer the powerhouse it used to be and that’s, without a doubt, because Pure Fishing – the same company that sells Berkley products – purchased Stren back in the early 2004. The crazy thing is back in the late 50s, Berkley Bedell, the man who started Berkley, actually had to license the making of his monofilament line from Du Pont because Du Pont was the company that developed nylon monofilament line. Amazing turn of events, huh?

In today’s market, even with Pure Fishing’s massive market share and ad campaigns, I don’t think we’d ever see an ad like the Stren ad shown here. There are just too many top-shelf line companies out there to allow this kind of monopoly to happen again.

  • Harold Sharp

    Stren was the sponsor of BASS Tournaments in 1976, they also gave away Stren line at every BASS tournament to all the contestants. The only other line company involved was Berkley with a few anglers being sponsored to use all Berkley products. As DuPont was the maker of mono, they dominated the market.

    • It’s amazing to think ho big they were back then Harold and how insignificant they are today. Speaking of Stren that is.

  • Harold Sharp

    DuPont seems to have gone away from fishing during the past few years, they have had a very large plant in Chattanooga for many years, but sold it a few years ago. I believe they were heavy involved with BASS for many years to push their mono line then as they moved into other fields they got out of the fishing businees and sold mono to others to make fishing line. They were a very good sponsor and promoter of fishing for many years.

  • Brian

    If I’m not mistaken, Dupont got out of the fishing business quite a while back. Stren was actually owned by Remington Arms, a subsidiary of Dupont. Dupont sold Remington back in 1993 to a private investment firm, and then Remington sold Stren to Pure Fishing in 2003. At the time, Remington stated the sale was “consistent with Remington’s focus on its core businesses of hunting, shooting sports, and law enforcement and military markets.” Dupont has been selling off large portions of it’s basic commodities businesses for a while now, as they are moving more and more in favor of higher growth and returns in areas such as biotechnology, electronics and nutrition. Besides the Remington ARms deal in 1993, they sold Conoco in 1999, and its pharmaceuticals operations in 2001. Most recently (2013) it sold its performance coatings unit, with one of the more publicized “issues” being the changing of Jeff Gordon’s (NASCAR) sponsor color scheme on the former Dupont Chevrolet, a relationship that lasted for nearly 2 decades.