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…]

The Arbogast Bug Eye

photo: Old Fishing Tackle Shop, Japan

photo: Old Fishing Tackle Shop, Japan

The Fred Arbogast Company has created some of the most popular, as well as collectable, fishing lures ever made. Think of baits such as the Jitterbug or the Mudbug. Going back even further, you have the Hawaiian Wiggler and such. However, this piece isn’t about any of those more “famous” lures, but instead is about a less familiar bait called the Bug Eye. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back – Part 15

Al Foss really started something when he came out with the Number 5 Shimmy Wiggler.  The bass went nuts over it the first time they got a look at it.. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Al Foss really started something when he came out with the Number 5 Shimmy Wiggler. The bass went nuts over it the first time they got a look at it.. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

It didn’t take long to realize just how much I didn’t know about putting bass in the boat.

I had just watched my companion hook a pair of dandy bass by racing his lure back through the lake’s pad cover in a fashion that should have scared any sensible bass to the other end of the lake.

But as I detailed in my previous column, just the opposite happened.

Within the next 15 minutes a couple of sizeable largemouth came busting through the pads to knock the hell out of the Hawaiian Wiggler my new friend Tex Reeder was using.

I had an Al Foss Shimmy Wiggler on my own line.  That lure had come on the bass fishing scene long before the Hawaiian Wiggler Tex was throwing.  I’d not, however, ever tried using it with the rapid, hell raising fashion old Tex had demonstrated. [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…]