Where’s the Beans?

Pedigo ad from the 1970 Fall issue of Bass Master magazine.

Back in the 60s (maybe earlier), pork rind was one of the major food groups of the micropterus genus of fish. Seems anglers were feeding them copious amounts of the brine-soaked skins so much so that pigs world-wide ran scared

Then the plastics industry took over around the time The Graduate came out and quickly pork faded into obscurity. The only pork rinds you’d find in a bass-type boat were of the deep-fried type, not very well suited for putting on a hook.

Then, in the early 80s a number of top U.S, anglers started winning tournaments on the hide and the Jig-n-Pig boom started all over. For a while there anglers seeking to purchase the product were put on wait lists and pork was going for unreasonable amounts of money if you could find it.

One of the first pork companies to capitalize on this byproduct of the bacon industry (mmmmm…….Bacon) was Pedigo. I never used their pork products – they weren’t available when I started bass fishing – but talking to the old-timers, they said it was of a much higher quality than the Uncle Josh pork at the time.

Anyway, here’s an old ad from 1970 for Pedigo pork that I thought might bring back some memories. In it you also see an old Pedigo spinnerbait – another bait I never used. They also got into the plastic worm business, as did everyone else of the time.

There was one other bait they made, though, that’s not shown in this picture. I used it a lot and caught a number of fish on it. Anyone remember what the bait was?

Also, how many years has it been since you threw pork? Don’t ya think it’s time to maybe get a jar of #11 and pin it to your jig? The fish haven’t seen it in years and that can be a good thing.

  • Jojo Norwood.

    Marobo Spin Rite….sorta a fancy Lil’ George. Was supose to be a smallmouth killer. I still tote Pork, Brown #25 Chunks were my favorite. Be years since I throwed it.

    • Ding ding ding, we have a winner! Jojo, dang good memory. Yes, it was the Spin Rite. Actually it came before the Little George. I have no clue how many fish I’ve caught on the thing and they were all largies. Great bait and it was so good (still is) that Uncle Josh bought the rights to the bait during the Jig-n-Pig craze of the 80s.

      Good to hear yer still fishing the “hide” Jojo. Not many people use it anymore. Plastic has taken over its place for the most part but there are times when the fish sure like the flesh.

  • That would be the Spinrite. Tail spinner with feathers on its ass and a wire sticking out of its nose. I never did manage to catch a fish on one. Caught a lot on the Little George, but The Spinrite wasn’t made for vertical jigging, and that’s what I did with the George.

    I was on a trip to Novilla in Mexico with Ray Scott and Bob Cobb, and spent an afternoon in Dallas. Went looking for old tackle shops, and found one with a shelf full of Pedigo Pork. This was in the early to mid-eighties, and the stuff had probably been on the shelf for 10 or 15 years. I bought every jar or brown frogs in the 3-1/2″ size they had, for a half-buck a bottle. Pedigo wasn’t bottled in a salt brine solution like Josh, but in formaldehyde. Stunk to high heavens. But man, it caught fish. It was simultaneously softer and tougher than Josh’s product.
    Got to Novilla, and caught so many fish on that Pedigo Pork on a black jig, that Ray made me leave it all with him when we were leaving.

    Uncle Josh bought out pretty much all the competition over the years. Pedigo and Day come to mind, but I believe there were more. Back in the day, Josh had a big advantage, in that they were just a side business of Jones Sausage Co. They were consuming and making a profit on a waste product of the mother ship’s main business. Other producers had to buy their raw material.

    I still own one jar or pork. It has two #1 frogs in it, and the top has been rusted in place for close to 20 years. I keep it around as a memento, I guess. Kinda like the antique rods hanging on the wall.

    • The ones I used never had feathers on the back or a wire out of the nose? I have some I’ll have to take a picture of when I get home.

      Thanks for that pork history Rich. I never knew Uncle Josh didn’t just make pork for fishing. So, why’d you quit throwing it Rich? It is a pain to keep wet but it sure as heck works….

  • Ross E Mariano

    I still fish the #11 pork in certain situations. Can’t remember the other I fished, think it was #25 or # 6. It was the pork with the long tails then again cause I’m old I could be getting the numbers of the styles mixed up

    • That was a #26 Craw Frog Ross. Great bait for sure! My favorite was a #1 but I used #11 and #101 depending on what fall rate I wanted and the size of the jig.

  • Just remembered that the first pork rind I bought was in the mid-sixties, and whoever made it, it was sold under the Thompson’s (as in Thompson’s Doll Fly) name. IT was a big pork eel, that was wired to the hook of a barrel head jig head. No hair or anything, but a hunk of pork wire wrapped to the jighead, and the whole thing was in a bottle of formaldehyde. Also picked up a couple Thompson’s Doll spinnerbaits at the same time. Great big old single spins.

  • Jojo Norwood.

    I was a big Billy Westmoreland fan….I think that’s why I tried it. Black Doll Flys w/ split tail eels before “rubber” hit. Them little offers on the adds in BASSMASTER is where I got all the cut’n edge baits…Send in $3.95 and get a Catolg and a “Sample” bait !!! LOL No joke got my first LIVE rubber jigs {Cotton Cordell} & Spider grubs from them type of adds.

    • That was a good time Jojo. For 3 bucks you got your money’s worth.

  • Scott Jarvis

    Remember the Uncle Josh PORKO!! I loved them caught fish like hell and lasted forever !!!

  • Andy Williamson

    I still use Uncle Josh and Pedigo pork on almost all trips for largemouth and smallmouth, having received most of my 150+ jars of UJ as a result of the Big Bass World Championship. I have always said it is as close to live bait as you can get, and great in tournaments.
    Rich’s story of finding Pedigo in Dallas was neat. I also found a gold mine of Pedigo at a tackle shack near Lake Patoka, Indiana back in 1985 while fishing the B.A.S.S. Northern Divisional. The store owner was glad to get rid of his remaining stock, about 30 jars, for 25 cents apiece. I still have a couple jars of purple 8″ eels. Nice and slimy.
    Also, I still have one Spinrite in it’s blister pack. It has the wire protruding from the front, but has no feathers.