Over the last couple weeks we’ve been posting some stories on the National Bass Association’s magazine “The National Bassman.” Today we continue that trend with another NBA ad, this time placed by Dixie Tackle and Supply.
I did a quick internet search to see if DTS was still in business and came up zero. That’s kind of expected in this day of big-box tackle stores and internet shops but it was worth a try. Still I was hopeful that their magazine advertising had brought them enough business to make a name that would keep them afloat all these years. I guess it was a fruitless hope.
What I found interesting in this ad was the number of well-known baits and even some not-so-well-known ones. For example, the Bagley’s line-up was pretty nice. Bang-O-Lures, Honey Bs, Divin’ Honey Bs, Divin’ Bs and straight Balsa Bs. All for the exorbitant price of $2.65 to $3.70. What we’d do today as consumers for a quality balsa crank for under $8, let a lone $3.70.
Then there’s Butch Harris’ closed-cell foam FasBak along with his jigs and spin jigs. I’m not too familiar with any of these baits as they never made much of an impact in the West but I’m curious about the head design shown. It seems to be an exact replica of one of Larry McCain’s 1960s head designs that he made Mattys out of. I’m also not familiar at all with his crankbait, although I have seen a number of ads in the mid-70s magazines. Harris was based out of Charlotte, NC and his cranks were touted as being the “lightest landing” crankbaits out there for clear-water applications. They also claimed to be the first company to paint their cranks in a rainbow trout pattern. Having lived in NC since the beginning of the year, I’m not too sure why these two features are good and although I know they were being sold semi-nationally, North Carolina isn’t known for either clear water nor rainbow trout. It kind of makes you wonder.
Next on the list of goodies is the Harkin Lunker Lure which we talked about a couple weeks ago here. Compare that buzzbait to the Zorro Fuzz N Buzz and you’ll see why the Lunker Lure was gaining such a following. The Lunker Lure’s blade had at least 100% more surface area which created a ton more drag, thus allowing the bait to surface faster and stay there longer with less effort.
It was also interesting to see that Stan Sloan had jumped on the flippin’ band wagon and was marketing his own Zorro Flippin Jigs. I’m not too sold on the design but at least he was embracing the technique.
Lastly, at the bottom, we have three different worm companies represented, Mann’s, Burke and Mister Twister. Of course Mann’s selection at the time was limited only to their Jelly Worm and the Sting Ray Grub – both of which are still sold today. The price of 85¢ per 5- or 6-pack for the 6-inch worm is actually more expensive than the price today. See some things do get better as time goes on.
The next worm is the Burke Hookworm. I’ve been bass fishing since the mid-70s and I can say with confidence that I have never thrown a single Burke product, even though Bill Dance was their main spokesman at this time. Their baits just seemed wishy-washy and comic-like. They must have sold, though, as the company lasted a long time and some of them are still manufactured by Creme.
Last on the worm list was the ever-famous Mister Twister 6-inch Phenom. At the time Twister made their Phenom in 4-, 5 1/4-, 6-, 8-, 10- and 12-inch sizes. The worm was one of the best selling baits of all time and I can’t even try to figure out how many we sold over my ten year tenure at the shop. Although we sold a lot of 25-packs, the vast majority of our sales were for 100-packs of the 4-, 5 1/4- and 6-inch baits. We couldn’t keep them on the pegs. Now 35 years later Mister Twister only sells the 6-inch variant of the model. It’s too bad but business is business.
Although Dixie Tackle and Supply isn’t around anymore, we’re never far away from some advertisement in a magazine selling us tackle. Gone are the small ma-n-pa shops that used to advertise and what’s left are the big shops such as Bass Pro, Gander Mountain, Cabelas and a few others. It’s nice to look back on a time when even the little guy could afford the space to lift his skirt and show their goods.
If any of you reading this have any infrmation on the Harris lures or if you just want to share an experience using any of these baits, please leave a comment. It’s always good to hear your stories.