This weekend I was looking over a 1979 Northwoods catalog, printed and distributed by the folks at Fishing Facts, and a number of items caught my eye. First off, the entire from half of the catalog was devoted to clothing. Although I’m familiar with the winters of the north, this was there spring/summer issue and one would think they’d want to be selling tackle rather than cold-weather gear. I wondered what the fall issue would look like.
The second item that took me back in time was actually not just a single piece of equipment but an entire list of gear we had available to us that year – depthfinders. Although Northwoods offered a good selection, Lowrance, Humminbird and Fish Hawk, missing was Vexilar, Ray Jefferson and SITEX.
The folks at Northwoods showcased the finders by placing the Lowrance LGR-515 paper graph recorder at the top. At the time, this was the best paper graph money could buy, at $338.00. Examples of the resolution and “new” grayline feature that Lowrance had developed were also presented. Grayline set Lowrance apart from all the competition because of its ability to separate the bottom from everything above it and would also let you know if you were on a hard or soft bottom. Other paper graphs of the time didn’t offer anything like it.
For those of you familiar with these old finders, you’ll notice the graph paper below the cost of the unit. Yeah, graph paper was a pain to deal with, especially when it was raining, but it allowed the angler to save the paper, and thus the data, for later use at home. Plus, in my eyes, there was nothing like the smell of burning paper.
Also available were the Lowrance flashers – the standard mount LE-301, LE 251 – along with two portable units, the Green Box (LE-300) and the LE-250.
Northwoods was also offering five different models of Humminbirds – the ever-famous Super Sixty, the Dual Sixty, the Super Thirty and two portable units called “Bird Traps.” You’ll also notice the manufacturer on the faceplates as being Techsonic Industries, Lake Eufaula, AL.
As stated the only other company Northwoods was pushing was Fish Hawk. The portable FH-202 was economical but doesn’t hold a candle to the looks of the Lowrance or ‘Bird.
The price range of the finders went from the Fish Hawk at $89.50 to the Lowrance LGR-515. In todays money that would be from $571 to $2160 – not that far off of what we’re buying our electronics for.
It’s a cool look back in time at some of the gear available to anglers. I only wish they would have offered more of the other companies, such as Vexilar. Vexilar, as far as I can remember, was the first to develop the paper graph.