Early “Slow Rolling” – Earlier Than You Thought?

A 1-oz. Go-Devil spinnerbait

A 1-oz. Go-Devil spinnerbait

Spinnerbaits have been one of the most popular lures among bass anglers ever since they first came out. Many noted anglers could claim to have made their professional reputations by using the lures, guys such as Jimmy Houston, Ricky Green, and Hank Parker. Many others have thrown them to win events throughout the history of tournament angling.

Beyond your typical average spinnerbait, one of the first big “revolutions” occurred in the 1980s with the sudden rise in popularity of the willow leaf blade. Previous to that, most spinnerbaits sold were equipped either with Colorado blades, or less commonly Indiana blades. Willow blades were touted for their effectiveness around grass, and it wasn’t too long before some companies figured out you could make a very heavy spinnerbait combined with the decreased lift of the willow-style blade, and the technique of “slow rolling” was soon winning tournaments across the country. However, all this happened more than 20 years after another small company had created and sold a line of spinnerbaits specifically for covering the depths. [Read more…]

Black Bass Fishing: Robert Page Lincoln – Part Two

Black Bass Fishing - Theory and Practice by Robert Page Lincoln. First printing April 1952 Stackpole Company.

Black Bass Fishing – Theory and Practice by Robert Page Lincoln. First printing April 1952 Stackpole Company.

[Editor’s Note – this is Part Two of a three-part series on the book, Black Bass Fishing by Robert Page Lincoln. To read Part One, click here.]

In the first part of this review of the book Black Bass Fishing by Robert Page Lincoln, we delved into a little bit of Lincoln’s life and covered the first eight chapters of the book. In this second part, we’ll continue on with chapters nine through seventeen in order to give you an idea of what he saw the state of bass fishing in the late 40s and early 50s, along with his methods for catching bass and the tackle he used. [Read more…]

Book Reviews: The ABC’s of Trolling With Spoonplugs

Carl Malz on the cover of his booklet, "The ABC's of Trolling With Spoonplugs."

Carl Malz on the cover of his booklet, “The ABC’s of Trolling With Spoonplugs.”

When you spend much time looking at and researching old bass fishing memorabilia and history, you quickly realize that there is just so much stuff out there, one couldn’t possibly collect it all. So in my case, I’ve decided to focus my collections largely on the period of time around the old Fishing Facts and In-Fisherman beginnings from the 60s and 70s, and the “revolution” that occurred in the Midwest.

Terry has been posting some information recently about the old Northwoods mail order company which was tied in with Fishing Facts magazine. This particular book was sold by Northwoods (Item No. SP-1, $1.95). There is no listed publishing date, but I’d have to put it around the mid 70s if I were to guess. It was written by Carl Malz, who was a managing editor for Fishing Facts back in the day. From what I’ve read, Carl (along with Spence Petros) was a member of the Lake Geneva Fishing Club, which was created around 1965. When Bill Binkelman started up his Fishing News magazine, he took an interest in Lake Geneva and started attending some of their club meetings. There he met Carl and Spence, and they became “reporters” for the magazine, and eventually editors. [Read more…]

Northwoods Finders of 1979

1979 Northwoods catalog from the people that brought you Fishing Facts magazine.

1979 Northwoods catalog from the people that brought you Fishing Facts magazine.

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. [Read more…]

Fishing Seminars – 1960s Style

May 12, 1965 Milwaukee Journal fishing show ad

May 12, 1965 Milwaukee Journal fishing show ad

With the coming onset of winter, anglers can expect to have numerous chances at catching some of their favorite anglers at boat dealer open houses, tackle shops, and fishing sport shows. Though the seminar and fishing show appearances aren’t quite as numerous as they used to be since the major tourney circuits started scheduling their seasons beginning much earlier in the year than in years past, it’s still a great opportunity to meet the pros and gather some sage advice at the same time. [Read more…]

Lunker Lore – A “How To” Manual

Lunker Lore, by Evinrude Motors

Lunker Lore, by Evinrude Motors

1967-1968 is a critical year in bass fishing history. In the Midwest, Fishing News magazine is espousing the discoveries of Buck Perry, and promoting the spoonplugging technique, a system of both trolling and casting used to map and eliminate water, and put you on biting fish faster. Lots of testimonials are coming in about how effective “the system” is. In the South, June 1967 marks the first organized bass tournament put on by Ray Scott, with the official structure and organization (B.A.S.S.) to follow in 1968. Two key rules that will get implemented in the tournaments that organization puts on will be no trolling, and no live bait, both directly in conflict with what is being practiced and promoted to the north. Right in the middle of all this, Evinrude Motors of Milwaukee, WI put out a 16 page manual on primarily trolling titled, “Lunker Lore – A Manual on How to Catch More Fish with Your Evinrude Outboard Motor.” [Read more…]

Lake St. Clair Fished Out!!!

Click for full size

Click for full size

As I’m sure you recall, B.A.S.S. held their most recent Elite Series event on Lake St. Clair, where winner Chris Lane brought in over 80 pounds of bass during the 4 day event. One of the many complaints in that event was the poor showing and condition of the fish from the Lake proper. Even Kevin VanDam, in an interview with BassFan this week stated, “What really blows me away was the fish were not in that condition right before the off-limits. I couldn’t imagine that things could change that much in a month, but they did.” Of course, the lake isn’t even close to being fished out, so why the headline? What does this have to do with bass fishing history? [Read more…]

The Writers: Paul Prorok

Writer (now photographer) Paul Prorok

Writer (now photographer) Paul Prorok

Do you recognize the man in the picture to your left? If I tell you that his name is Paul Prorok, does that mean anything to you? Chances are, while you might not recall the name right off the top of your head, you’ll certainly remember some of his work in the world of bass fishing. Here’s a quick history of writer Paul Prorok, past and present.

What started this topic for me was an article I just finished reading in the December 1967 issue of ‘Fishing News’ titled, “Chicago Fishermen Chose Warm Air and Plastic Worm to Catch More Than 30 Bass on a Weekend.” Now that’s a mouthful, but such was the way that Bill Binkelman structured his articles when he ran ‘Fishing News.’ [Read more…]

When Al and Ron Talk, EF Hutton Listens

Ron and Al Lindner's new reprint of their 1974 book Catching Fishing written with Bill Binkelman of Fishing Facts magazine.

Ron and Al Lindner’s new reprint of their 1974 book Catching Fishing written with Bill Binkelman of Fishing Facts magazine.

I don’t know about you but I have been a fan of the Lindners ever since I read my first In-Fisherman magazine sometime in the mid-70s. Their approach to fishing along with that of Bill Binkelman, Buck Perry, Jason Lucas and Homer Circle changed the face of fishing and put all of us on the path to a better understanding of fish, their environments and how to catch them.

In 1974 the Lindner brothers along with Bill Binkelman of Fishing Facts magazine put together a booklet entitled Catching Fish. Actually is was a book containing over 380 pages and a thousand photos, with a number of their works and findings from 1964 to 1974 that were coalesced into a tabular format. As you flipped the page over, the next page was read from the top down. It contained pictures from the era, hand-drawn diagrams and directions on how to master certain techniques and tactics. In all it was an encyclopedia of advanced angling that I must say was the best of its time – without a doubt. [Read more…]

F+L+P=S: Bass Fishing’s Most Recognizable ‘Formula’

In-Fisherman's well recognized founding 'Formula'

In-Fisherman’s well recognized founding ‘Formula’

While it might be possible that Albert Einstein’s formula for his theory of general relativity, E=mc2, might be the most recognized formula in the world, that probably isn’t the case in the bassin’ world. I’m guessing the IN-Fisherman formula, F (fish) +L (location) +P (presentation) = S (success), arguably the one concept that the entire organization was premised upon, might give the former a run for its money. But what readers might find interesting is that wasn’t the original formula. Call it Version 2.0. if you will. So what was before F+L+P=S? [Read more…]

The Story of Fishing Facts Magazine

Bill Binkelman, founder of Fishing Facts magazine

Bill Binkelman, founder of Fishing Facts magazine

Once upon a time in the world of fishing, there were pretty much just 3 magazines of note that everybody got their fishing information from; Sports Afield, Field & Stream, and Outdoor Life. As we’ve mentioned on these pages before, guys like Homer Circle and Jason Lucas pretty much ruled the fishing magazine world. That would all begin to change in the mid 60s, thanks to a guy by the name of Bill Binkelman. [Read more…]

Structure Fishing and Efficiency – Roland Martin

Roland Martin shows how he's attached a transducer to the trolling motor shaft to enable him to accurately track structure while fishing. Photo 1973 Bassmaster Fishing Annual.

Roland Martin shows how he’s attached a transducer to the trolling motor shaft to enable him to accurately track structure while fishing. Photo 1973 Bassmaster Fishing Annual.

In the last few weeks here on the Bass Fishing Archives we’ve talked a lot about Jason Lucas and his contributions to the sport of bass fishing. Lucas didn’t coin the phrase structure fishing – again that was Buck Perry – but he was one of, if not the, first anglers to preach fishing in deep water. Then came Perry in the mid-60s with his spoonplugging technique and the actual advent of the phrase, structure fishing.

Then in the early ‘70s a young blond kid joined the ranks of the Bassmaster tournament circuit and turned it on its ear. He touted fishing patterns and structure and won six of the first 10 Bassmaster Angler of the Year trophies. That angler was none other than Roland Martin. [Read more…]