1967-1968 is a critical year in bass fishing history. In the Midwest, Fishing News magazine is espousing the discoveries of Buck Perry, and promoting the spoonplugging technique, a system of both trolling and casting used to map and eliminate water, and put you on biting fish faster. Lots of testimonials are coming in about how effective “the system” is. In the South, June 1967 marks the first organized bass tournament put on by Ray Scott, with the official structure and organization (B.A.S.S.) to follow in 1968. Two key rules that will get implemented in the tournaments that organization puts on will be no trolling, and no live bait, both directly in conflict with what is being practiced and promoted to the north. Right in the middle of all this, Evinrude Motors of Milwaukee, WI put out a 16 page manual on primarily trolling titled, “Lunker Lore – A Manual on How to Catch More Fish with Your Evinrude Outboard Motor.”
The manual sold for $0.25, and covered the following topics:
Though short in nature, the booklet captures the basics of trolling as it was being presented in the Midwest, that is, they cover the principles of Buck Perry’s system, though only mentioning him once in concert with Jason Lucas. That reference is to “the truth” that most big fish are caught in deeper water, which is located on page 5. “The Balanced Fishing Rig” is a 14-16 foot boat with a 52″ or larger beam, with a 9.9 hp – 40 hp engine. “The Techniques of Motor Trolling” cover the basics of starting shallow, and then moving deeper as necessary, and to run faster in warmer water, slower in colder water. “Trolling Lures” covers Spoonplugs, as well as popular deep diving baits of the time like Bombers and Hellbenders. “Motor Trolling Rods” are shorter musky style rods for trolling, and slightly longer and less heavy rods for casting once fish are contacted. “Trolling Lines and Reels” recommends 12 to 18 pound stiff monofilament, along with either Bronson, Shakespeare, or Pflueger reels. “Depth Finders as Fish Finders” mentions units like Lowrance’s Fish Lo-K-Tor and laments about the missed opportunities (fish catches) that likely have been overlooked in the past before sonar was available to anglers. “Fishing a Strange Lake” covers mapping basics, while “Do Outboard Motors Scare Fish” discusses the results of a 1949 University of MIchigan study that determind that “Outboards are seldom, if ever, harmful to fish or to fishing.”
While there is nothing groundbreaking in this little book, it is a neat piece of bass fishing history to have in the collection, especially given its publication timing as well as now seeing how quickly the non-trolling aspect caught on in bass fishing over a large part of the country. It also reflects how motor companies like Evinrude, who play a large role in the current tournament bass scene still today, also have to “play their cards” and market to folks like the walleye trollers and recreational anglers at the same time.