There are times in your life you do stupid things for one reason or another. Maybe it’s no fear of death, maybe it’s disregard. On the other hand, it could be due to ignorance, or, in this case, pride. I say pride because that’s what kept me from collecting patches as a youth unless I earned the patch. For example, the only patches I had in my possession, until about three years ago, were the ones I’d received for fishing tournaments. It’s not like I didn’t have the chance, heck, I worked at a tackle shop through all of my youth and young adulthood, and had ample opportunity to collect – I just never did.
The reason for that was twofold. One, even back in the ‘70s I thought the patch vest and jumpsuit was kind of goofy. Secondly, one of the anglers I looked up to the most said you don’t wear patches unless someone is paying you.
What a moron I was. It never dawned on me I could collect and just hold on to them. Hindsight is……you know the rest.
Now, as a worn out 50-year-old running a website on the history of bass fishing, I daily kick myself in the butt for not collecting patches. Daily folks….and I have the bruises to prove it.
But, because of a lot of really great readers and supporters of this site, not to mention the online auction sites, my patch collection has grown to a fairly large size. This post, for example, wouldn’t have been possible without my friend and recent Bass Fishing Hall of Fame Inductee Bill Rice. Bill was kind enough to send these patches, along with a plethora of others, to me a while back when he was cleaning out his closet. Now I’m going to share them with you.
The theme of this post is looking at Manufacturers through their patches. It’s only five companies but they were industry giants back in the early days of competitive bass fishing.
First off we have a Bagley’s Better Baits patch. This patch I would date back to the mid-‘70s. It’s a simple patch but one that anyone serious about bass fishing for 30 years or more will easily recognize. The size of the patch is about 3-inches by 5-inches – about the size of most patches we’ve always seen.
The second patch is from one of the biggest tackle companies of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s – Burke Fishing Lures. I can’t say I ever threw one of their baits but they sponsored one of the biggest names of all time in bass fishing for a few years, none other than Bill Dance. The size of this patch is pretty big at 6-inches by 8-inches and would have taken a lot of real estate on a patch vest or jumpsuit.
The third patch is a Cordell Lunker Spot Award patch that Bill actually won for catching a big fish on a Cordell Spot. I’m sure if Cotton Cordell was still around he’d have a big smile on his face if he saw this patch. The size of this patch is about 3-inches by 3-inches and probably dates back to the mid-‘70s.
The next patch in the lineup is from Flip Tail Lures. This patch, about 2-inches by 4-inches in size, also dates back to the mid-‘70s and is about as plain Jane as you can get.
Finally the last patch we have is a patch that you would have seen on nearly every bass fishing vest or jumpsuit in the ‘70s and ‘80s – the Rebel Lures patch. This patch measures 2-inches by 4 1/2-inches and was made by today’s lure giant PRADCO.
No one back in the day ever referred to the company as PRADCO, though, they just said Rebel. There were a lot of early tournaments won on Rebel Lures and their original P70 Pop-R is still one of the best topwater lures ever made – too bad it’s been discontinued.
There have been rumblings about PRADCO making an effort to again bring back the Rebel product line to its once glory days and at this year’s Classic, that’s a question I’m going to ask them. Hopefully they’ll have some good news.
In the meantime, if you’ve got any patches you’d like to share with us, hit us up through the Contact Us form and let us know.