The End of an Era? Paper Graphs and Flashers

Buy them as a pair before they're obsolete!

Buy them as a pair before they’re obsolete!

We always have fun looking at some of the old ads for various fishing goodies. Here’s another that caught my eye recently. Considering that most of us in the early years of bassin’ grew up on paper graphs and flashers, this Bass Pro Shops ad sure hit home. A pretty catchy slogan, too, “How you can kill two birds with one stone.”

The ad is from a spring 1983 Bass Pro advertisement in Field & Stream magazine. Like most guys at the time, I ran the Humminbird 60′ flasher as my search (go fast) unit on the console, as well as having the CH Thirty II chart recorder on the console for specific graphing of areas at idle speeds. At a cost of just $500, that was a pretty good deal back then. Interestingly, it also turns out to be just a year or two before Humminbird was to release the first liquid crystal graph units to the market.

Personally, I couldn’t stand the early graph units after having seen and used both the CH Thirty II, as well as the Eagle Mach I and Lowrance X-16 units. The baseline definition of even those old units was equivalent to 500 vertical lines of resolution, and on the higher end units went up to 1,000 or more lines of resoultion. It would be many, many years before the LCG/LCR units achieved close to that, and it was why I held on to and fished with paper graphs and flashers for more than a decade after the release of the LCG.

Another interesting aspect is what you can buy now days for the same amount of money as that $500 super sale combo back then. For not much more than 5 Benjamins, you can pick up a unit that has resolution as good as the paper graphs did (640 vertical pixels), and also comes equipped with both GPS mapping and navigation system, plus down imaging. We frequently like to talk about “the good old days” of bass fishing, but at least in electronics, what we can buy now far surpasses what we could ever buy back then for the same amount of money – and that’s not even taking into consideration the cost of inflation!


    let me say that a ton of “pro”s especially the “walleye pros” ..had lcd’s on their dashboards.. and as soon as they pulled away from the docks.. out came the paper graphs from the rod box.. and this went on for YEARS.. they promoted an inferior product, while using a superior product.. and to this day, every time I mention this, I am called a liar.. but you and I both know that this type of thing goes on to this day.. with using non sponsored lures or equipment..