We do Reels, Why not Frogs and Blades?

Zebco spinnerbait ad circa 1976.

Over the course of time, especially in the early 1900s, many companies not only made lures but rods, reels and assorted other fishing paraphernalia. Heddon is a good example of this, marketing not only their famous lures but also rods and reels. Pflueger and Shakespeare did the same. But as bass fishing came into its own, more companies began concentrating on their bread-and-butter.

This one here fits right in that niche of, “you should stick to your strengths.” Here we have two ads from two of the major rod and reel companies of all time. The problem is they’re not ads for rods or reels. Instead, they’re ads for bass lures they’re trying to get you to buy.

It’s easy to guess why the Zero-Hour Bomb Company is trying to sell you spinnerbaits at this time. By 1976 the lowly spinnerbait had won all but one Bassmaster Classic and you can bet your supply of Helicopter lures that Zebco was gonna try and profit from that.

Looking at the spinnerbait, it seems to be a decent bait and I wonder if Zebco tried to get into any of the other lure genres or if they found that the lure business wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

Garcia frog ad circa 1974.

On the other hand, take a look at that 1974 topwater frog by Garcia. We all know that 1974 wasn’t frog prime-time but frogs had been a mainstay by lure designers since the turn of the 19th century. The question I have is why would Garcia try to make a bait that, at the time, was seen more as a gimmick than a livewell filler? It really makes you wonder who in their R&D department had this idea. I mean, why not jump on the spinnerbait bandwagon or the alphabet-plug jamboree and make something that would possibly sell?

Today there are few manufacturers who are trying to cover the entire market and most of those are Japanese companies. Both Shimano and Daiwa are noted for their top-notch reels and rods. But they are also noted for their superb lures.

Do you remember any other examples like this from days past?

  • Bill M

    I fish Abu Garcia reels on St. Croix rods, but I ain’t leaving the ramp without a Daiwa DB Minnow on the deck somewhere.

  • Braden Maddox

    Pflueger is a company that produced several rods and reels in both casting, spinning, and for fly fishing while also producing lures back during the early 1900s.

  • fish_food

    I remember Fenwick was in the hardbait business for a while…

  • fish_food

    Forgot to mention that Winchester made firearms, rods, reels and lures.

  • Scott Jarvis

    Shakespere/Heddon/Southbend/TrueTemper covered all the bases.