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…]

Let’s Look Back – Part 34

It didn't take Bobby Murray long to show the bass fishing world his talents.  He brought this beautiful stringer to weigh in one day at the first Bassmasters Classic held at Lake Mead in 1971.  Bobby won the event.  He also took the Classic crown again 10 years later. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

It didn’t take Bobby Murray long to show the bass fishing world his talents. He brought this beautiful stringer to weigh in one day at the first Bassmasters Classic held at Lake Mead in 1971. Bobby won the event. He also took the Classic crown again 10 years later. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

As I detailed in my previous column, the “Dog Walker” rod Gary Loomis was marketing for a time in the early days of his rod building business was designed especially for fishing a Zara Spook.

He named these rods “Dog Walker” because it’s a technique called “Walking the Dog” that has kept Zara Spooks on the market ever since they were introduced by the Heddon Lure Company way back in 1939.

Did these lures start getting results right off the bat? They must have. The records show that the Spook was the first of the Heddon lures to top one million in sales. I’d also be willing to bet that this wondrous old lure has probably had as much or more written about it than any other bass bait. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back Part 33

The Zara Spook has been one of my favorite surface baits for a long, long time. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

The Zara Spook has been one of my favorite surface baits for a long, long time. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

One of my best friends in the high country of Arizona is as big a bass fishing nut as I am.

There are differences, of course, and one of them is that like most of the other bass men I meet these days he’s a heck of a lot younger. I was reminded of that a couple of years ago when this good friend came to me with a request.

“Stan,” he said, “I’ve read some of the stuff you’ve written about fishing a Zara Spook. I’ve just never gotten around to throwing those things. Any chance I could get you to show me how you use one?”

I could, as the name of my column here at the Bass Fishing Archives indicates, look back over a whole lot years of personally getting these wondrous old baits to do their thing. Along with a handful of other old lures that came along decades ago, they’ve provided me with more than their share of spine tingling memories. [Read more…]

Graphite Rods: An Industry Perspective – 1978

Testing a graphite rod circa 1978.

Testing a graphite rod circa 1978.

Over the last few years, we’ve done a few articles on the history of graphite rods – mostly based on Fenwick, the first company to utilize the material in production fishing rods. Fenwick first introduced their rods at the AFTMA show in 1973 and by early 1974 they were being marketed to anglers. In that first year rod costs were high, about $150 per rod, but worse yet, breakage was higher.

It was obvious the new space-age material was a winner, the problem was figuring out how to lay the material on a mandrel so its properties could be best exploited without breakage. [Read more…]

Graphite Rods: From Aerospace to Bass Fishing

An early 1974 picture of a Fenwick HMG rod – possibly a prototype due to the handwritten model number on the rod. Photo Bass Master Magazine Mar/Apr 1974.

Most people in the fishing industry know Larry Hopper as one of the toughest anglers the west has ever produced. He’s won a number of western events over his 35-year career, including the U.S. Open on Lake Mead in 1987. What most people don’t realize is Hopper was instrumental in the development of the graphite rod. Because of this, I felt it was important to interview him on this advancement in fishing technology. Here’s the story.

Many of today’s anglers take for granted one of the most important pieces of equipment in their arsenal – the graphite rod. In fact, I’d be willing to bet a bag of Senkos that most anglers today don’t remember the days when your choices of rod materials were bamboo, fiberglass, beryllium and steel – with fiberglass being the number-one choice.

I even venture to say, and this might be going out on a limb here, that a lot of the younger anglers didn’t realize when fiberglass came back on the market in the early 2000s as a crank- and jerkbait-rod material that they thought it was a new concept in fishing. Like I said, maybe I’m stretching it here folks, but there are younger anglers I’ve talked to who had no idea. [Read more…]