Let’s Look Back – Tackle Industry Friends Part 3

As you can see in this picture, that Hula Popper I threw into a hole back in pad cover minutes ago is still fishin' all by itself.  If you've taken good care of its Hula Skirt your lure is going to do the same thing the one in this picture is doing.  Don't lay your rod aside no matter how long the lure has been out there.  You just never know when the water might explode.  Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

As you can see in this picture, that Hula Popper I threw into a hole back in pad cover minutes ago is still fishin’ all by itself. If you’ve taken good care of its Hula Skirt your lure is going to do the same thing the one in this picture is doing. Don’t lay your rod aside no matter how long the lure has been out there. You just never know when the water might explode. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

I doubt anybody knows quite as much about specific bass baits as the guys who come up with them in the first place.

In last month’s column I mentioned having had the chance down through the years of getting to know personally some of the nation’s leading lure makers. I’ve always felt pretty darn lucky to have had that opportunity.

I also mentioned that one of the guys I’d always wished I could have met, but didn’t, was Fred Arbogast. Fred, of course, was the guy who gave us lures ranging from the family of Hawaiian Wigglers to familiar surface baits like the wondrous old Jitterbugs and Hula Poppers.

I didn’t get to connect with Fred because he had almost come and gone before I wrote my first piece about bass. Now I’ve been around what sometimes seems almost since the fall of the Roman Empire. Actually, I entered the scene away back in 1923 but Fred, an expert bait caster besides heading up a terrific lure company, was already a national bait casting champion in 1922, 1923 and 1924. He passed away in 1947. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back – Tackle Industry Friends Part 2

When I found lures that would catch fish for me it was great to be able to share a boat with the guy who was bringing those baits to the tackle shelves.  The late Bill Norman was a friend of mine.  I learned a good bit about his baits on the fishing trips I made with him. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

When I found lures that would catch fish for me it was great to be able to share a boat with the guy who was bringing those baits to the tackle shelves. The late Bill Norman was a friend of mine. I learned a good bit about his baits on the fishing trips I made with him. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

I miss those days. If you’ve been around as long as I have, I expect you do too.

What days am I talking about? I miss those days when if you had a question about a specific item of fishing tackle you could usually go right to the guy who had his name on it to get the answers. Even if he didn’t actually have his name on it, it wasn’t hard to find out who he was.

I didn’t, of course, have a chance to meet all of them back there 69 years ago when I first started writing but by golly I did get to meet quite a few. I’m talking about guys like Bill Norman, Cotton Cordell, Dick Kotis, Jim Bagley, Gary Loomis, Tex Reeder, Phil Jensen and a number of others.

One of the lure manufacturers I’ve always wished I’d had opportunity to meet was Fred Arbogast. That didn’t happen because Fred was already producing the first of his famous to be line of bass lures about the time I came into the world away back in 1923. [Read more…]

Black Bass Fishing: Robert Page Lincoln – Part Three

Black Bass Fishing CoverBack in late 2014 I started the review of this book, Black Bass Fishing by Robert Page Lincoln and never finished the last part. I want to apologize for that upfront (especially to Bill Sonnett). But now that the book has been glaring at me for nearly six months, I can’t ignore it any longer and today we have Part Three of the review of this must-read book.

Over the course of Part One and Part Two we covered chapters one through 17 along with the Foreword and Introduction. Today we’ll finish with Chapters 18 through 24 and the Appendix. For those of you who missed the first two parts of this book and want to read them (and I highly suggest you do) you can find the posts at the links presented in the first sentence of this paragraph. [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…]

Wigglers and Dancers – Fred Arbogast

A 1946 Arbogast ad featuring the new Hula Dancer.

A 1946 Arbogast ad featuring the new Hula Dancer.

It isn’t well known, unless you’re a vintage tackle collector, that it was Fred Arbogast who invented the flat rubber skirt. If you read Part One of the book review, Black Bass Fishing by Robert Page Lincoln, Lincoln reports in Chapter Seven that he tied up a bass fly with rubber band legs that, when on a trip with the Arbogasts, Fred grew especially keen with the rubber leg idea. The year of this trip isn’t mentioned but Lincoln wrote that that winter Fred Arbogast took the idea back to Ohio and fashioned what we know today as the flat rubber skirt. [Read more…]

Black Bass Fishing: Robert Page Lincoln – Part 1

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.

A big part of the history of bass fishing is looking back at the old literature to see what the state of the sport was back in time. To date we’ve done a number of old book reviews and today, we continue on that path.

I received my copy of Black Bass Fishing – Theory and Practice from Bass Fishing Archives supporter and friend, Mr. William (Bill) Sonnett. Bill is not just a student of the sport’s history, he’s an authority when it comes to old bass tackle and literature and for years has written a column named Deconstructing Old Ads on Dr. Todd Larson’s website, Fishing for History. It’s nice to have Bill around when we have a question here with respect what happened in the old days. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back – Part 13

I always rigged my Al Foss Shimmy Wigglers with a 5-inch Uncle Josh pork rind strip.  The combination left me with some of my most treasured bass fishing memories. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

I always rigged my Al Foss Shimmy Wigglers with a 5-inch Uncle Josh pork rind strip. The combination left me with some of my most treasured bass fishing memories. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Writing about the ancient Al Foss Shimmy Wiggler, as I did in my last column brings some other thoughts to mind. I probably should have said more about these thoughts when I first started these Let’s Look Back columns.

If you got out on your local bass water at daylight last weekend it probably didn’t surprise you to find a swarm of other bass boats already there.  Some of them were undoubtedly right smack on that area of the lake you’d planned to fish first.

Now stop and ask yourself how you’d like to have been the only boat out there?  Chances are your heart will pick up its cadence a tad just pondering what that would have meant to you.

Well, my friends, that’s how it was when I first began hammering largemouth bass before the middle of the last century.  Now that Homer Circle is gone, I know I’m certainly one of if not the oldest of the outdoor writers who has devoted most of his columns and features as well as his fishing time to those hard-to-figure beauties we call largemouth bass. [Read more…]

Wiggle and Jitter 1940s Style

Arbogast Jitterbug ad circa 1940.

Arbogast Jitterbug ad circa 1940.

Here are a couple of cool ads from the June 1940 Hunting and Fishing magazine. Both are from the Fred Arbogast Company out of Akron, Ohio and one features a bait that is still manufactured by PRADCO, the Jitterbug, and another that hasn’t been made for going on 30 years, the Hawaiian Wiggler.

The Jitterbug ad is neat for a couple of reasons. First off, it lets you know that this bait has been around a long time. Also, back then the baits were all made out of wood. The bait also features the option of double or treble hooks – all for the cost of a Washington. The pictures of the anglers are also interesting. That’s a nice string of fish Mr. Webster is hanging on to but I really wonder if that fish Mr. Sutton is holding really weighs in at 10 pounds. I guess we’ll never know. [Read more…]

The Bass Aren’t the Only Ones That Eat Them

RebelThere are a couple of reasons we all buy bass lures. First because we want to catch fish and second, we have an addiction to buying them. I don’t know how many baits I’ve bought over the course of my life but I’m sure I don’t want to know that answer and I’m doubly sure that my insurance agent doesn’t either.

One thing that’s happened over my life is I’ve seen a lot of lure companies go by the wayside. Some of them just went out of business for whatever reason be it bad designs, not enough revenue to make the industry worth while or, as we’re going to talk about here, a bigger fish buys them out. [Read more…]