Tom Mann – More than Jelly Worms

Tom Mann's Research Angler, Spring 1988 issue.

Tom Mann’s Research Angler, Spring 1988 issue.

I’ve always been a fan of Tom Mann and his contributions to the sport. He started what is considered one of the most revered tackle companies in the world and also played a role in the development of Humminbird Electronics (along with Blake Honeycutt). He was also one of the best anglers at the dawn of the competitive bass scene, winning a number of events and always challenging for the Angler of the Year award. He was, like few have been, an icon in the industry.

Mann had written, or had someone else write for him, a number of books on the subject – many of which I have in my collection. But recently I was at Greene’s Boat and Motor in Spindale, NC and got a big surprise as Andy Greene was showing me some of his literature collection.

Tom Mann's Junior Fisherman. Fall, 1983 issue.

Tom Mann’s Junior Fisherman. Fall, 1983 issue.

The surprise came when he pulled out two different magazines with Mann’s name on them. The first one was Tom Mann’s Junior Fisherman (Fall, 1983) and the second was Tom Mann’s Research Angler (Spring 1988). I’d never heard of these magazines.

I wasn’t able to thoroughly read each issue at the time but from what I was able to quickly glean from them was the Junior Fisherman magazine was geared towards kids, teaching them about the outdoors and angling, while the Research Angler was all about complex angling techniques and methods. Next time I’m at the shop I’m going to see if Andy will let me borrow the magazines in order to more thoroughly go through them.

It amazes me how much Mann did in the industry. From running one of the biggest bait companies at the time to starting an electronics company along with fishing for a living, you’d think Mann would have had enough to do. Then you discover that he also published two magazines. The contributions to the sport seem to never end.

After I take a deeper look into these magazines, I’ll give you all a better look into what all they offered.

So, have any of you heard of these two magazines?

  • Steve Quinn

    Tom Mann was indeed an amazing character who made tremendous contributions to many aspects of sportfishing. In 1982 I took a job as a Fishery Biologist with the Georgia DNR and one of the reservoirs we managed as Walter F. George (commonly known as Eufaula, particularly on the Alabama side of the Chattahoochee River).Georgians often called it simply “Fort Gaines.”
    We often sampled the fish population of Eufaula and many times stopped at Tom’s Fish World in Eufaula, where a big sign invited visitors to see his 90-pound gar. Along with the gar, he had tanks of massive bass and big bream from local ponds.
    At that time, Techsonics (Humminbird) was led by Larry Columbo who would demonstrate the latest units. Tom was very involved at that time in building large ponds, creating various structures like rockpiles, humps, and ditches, doing nearly all the work himself on a big backhoe. When these filled, he often hosted youth fishing events there. He was also eager to show off his collection of Indian artifacts collected from the local area.
    His book, written with Tom Carter, is a classic, revealing much more about this fascinating angler who was a link between “old time” and modern fishing.

  • Jeff Hahn

    Terry: I did a sabbatical in 1984 at Auburn University, doing research with Tom’s Research Angler Team. The Research Angler Magazine was the official publication for members. I wrote a number of stories for the magazine for several years. Somewhere in my basement is every issues of the magazine, along with every issue of Junior Fisherman. I had subscriptions for both my kids. Tom began this publication for kids a few years after Research Angler. Junior Fisherman was extremely well done. But, I don’t know how many subscriptions were sold. I do recall Suzanne Newsom (Toms’ right hand lady for many years at both the Bait Company and at Fish World) saying that Junior Fisherman was not as financially successful has they had hoped. If you want more detail and some good stories about Tom, you should contact Sone (pronounced Sony) Kornegay at Lake Point State Park, She worked for Tom at Fish World for several years and was deeply involved in both the Research Angler Team and Junior Fisherman from the very beginning.