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.
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.