1973 Bill Norman Baits

Fishing Facts, June 1973 Northwoods tackle advertisement

Fishing Facts, June 1973 Northwoods tackle advertisement

Bill Norman Lures is one of the most recognized names in the fishing industry. We’ve touched upon the company and some of their baits in previous posts about their Redman Spinnerbait , as well as a 1977 ad featuring some of their classic diving crankbaits from the Little N series. In today’s post, we’re going to go back a few more years to 1973, and look at a few of their other baits, as well as a sister company that produced some popular baits at the time.

This Northwoods ad, featured in a 1973 issue of Fishing Facts magazine, covered several popular Norman lures.

  • The Jointed Minnow – available in the 1/4 and 3/8-oz sizes, an early topwater/wakebait/jerkbait hybrid. They still make a similar version in the more modern color finishes. The smaller version sold for $1.75, and the larger version $1.95.
  • The Quarter-Back – An early shallow runner that had a listed running depth of 2-3 feet, but could also be used as a topwater plug. Labeled as a 1/4-oz lure, it also sold for $1.75.
  • The Little Scooper – A very popular 8-10′ deep runner with rattles, it was actually designed as a near neutral buoyancy bait that would hold in place when the retrieve was stopped, likely one of the earliest plugs designed to do so.. The 1/4-oz bait sold for $1.75.
  • The Mino-Flash – The Mino-Flash was a sinking vibrator type of bait with a single belly hook and internal rattles. The 1/4-oz lure was said to fall at the 1′ per second rate, and could be fished off the bottom or as a cast and retrieve type bait….also $1.75.

The next several baits in the ad are where things get a little interesting. They were sold by Ranger Tackle Co. Ranger Tackle Co. was listed out of Ft. Smith, Arkansas. According to Arkansas Secretary of State documents, the company filed for incorporation in 1971, and the listed owner was Bill K. Norman, the (same) founder as Bill Norman Lures as best I could tell. Bill Kenneth Norman passed away in 1995 at the age of 67, but he had a son named William K. Norman, so perhaps the companies were owned by the pair respectively. At this point, I haven’t been able to track down any specifics in that regard. Still, another interesting twist in the history of bass tackle manufacturing.

As for the Ranger Tackle Co. baits in the ad, they are as follows:

  • The “Short Stop” – A solid lead bait with a spinner blade tail similar to a Little George. The bait weighed 5/8-oz. and came only in color combinations of pearl with an accent colored back. It could be fished for surface schoolers or as a deep water structure lure. The bait sold for $1.48.
  • “Threadfin-Shad” and “Super Threadfin Shad” – Plastic vibrating baits, the regular Threadfin came in 1/4 and 1/2 -oz. sizes and was recommended for steady retrieves in water up to 6′ deep. The Super Threadfin was a 1/2-oz. bait that featured a spinner blade in place of the rear hook attachment. Unlike the regular Threadfin, this lure was recommended for fishing vertically for bass suspending around submerged trees. Both baits sold for $1.95.

Most of these classic baits can still be had by searching the pages of Ebay. I recently found an ad for a Super Threadfin Shad for $12.99, and the Norman Scoopers and Quarterbacks can frequently be had for between $3-$6 each.