Let’s Look Back: I’m Too Old To Forget – Part 2

This old girl is as beat up as I am---but she has provided me with some of my very best bass fishing memories. She is a Heddon Vamp Spook. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

This old girl is as beat up as I am—but she has provided me with some of my very best bass fishing memories. She is a Heddon Vamp Spook. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

If you read my previous Let’s Look Back column you know the subject dealt with a wonderful old bass bait called the Heddon Vamp Spook.

I also made some comments about not being in agreement with that hog crap we hear so often about the old guys like me not being capable of remembering their early day experiences.  It was, incidentally, the memories of the first time I ever saw the Heddon Vamp Spook actually being used for bass that’s the reason for this column. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back: Too Old To Forget – Part 1

This old Heddon Vamp Spook has almost as many scars as I do. Some of the scars she wears also brought some of my most loved bass fishing memories. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

This old Heddon Vamp Spook has almost as many scars as I do. Some of the scars she wears also brought some of my most loved bass fishing memories. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Hardly a day goes by these days it seems that we don’t hear, see or read something about advanced age and declining memory just waiting to kick you in the butt!

Don’t you believe it!  I maintain that there are often just as many things – sometimes more of them – that the old never forget. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back – Part 11

Stan Fagerstrom holds a hefty Silver Lake Largemouth. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Stan Fagerstrom holds a hefty Silver Lake Largemouth. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

I never will understand for sure why the Heddon Tackle Company quit selling a wonderfully effective lure called the Basser.

As I mentioned in the first column I did about the wonderful old lure, my friend Homer Circle was working with Heddon when that decision was made.  That Homer let it happen surprised me.  Homer was just as hooked on bass fishing himself as you and I are.

All this transpired, of course, long before the Heddon Tackle Company was purchased by a larger tackle company. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back – Part 10

Living right on the shore of one of Washington State's best bass lakes provided a wonderful opportunity to study the lake's largemouth.  Part of that study involved learning how to use the lures that provided the best chances for putting those bass in the boat.  The Heddon Basser was one such. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Living right on the shore of one of Washington State’s best bass lakes provided a wonderful opportunity to study the lake’s largemouth. Part of that study involved learning how to use the lures that provided the best chances for putting those bass in the boat. The Heddon Basser was one such. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

My early bass fishing experience with the old Heddon Basser lure I’ve been writing about recently eventually provided me with a bunch of bass fishing truths.

As I’ve mentioned, one of those truths is that you rarely go wrong using lures and lure colors that match the forage in the waters you’re fishing.   If you’ve been reading these columns you’ll recall the only Basser I had in the beginning was a rainbow colored job I had picked up at a second hand store.

I caught a few fish on that lure just casting it out there and reeling back in.  A truth that soon emerged was that a Basser in a yellow perch finish was by far more effective. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back – Part Nine

I didn't have white whiskers when I started catching bass with a Heddons Basser back out of Washington State's Silver Lake way back in the middle of the 1900s.  Largemouth loved that old lure then. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

I didn’t have white whiskers when I started catching bass with a Heddons Basser back out of Washington State’s Silver Lake way back in the middle of the 1900s. Largemouth loved that old lure then. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

That beautiful old bass lure I’ve been writing about in these columns lately was a hefty piece of hardware.

If you’re one of the old timers fortunate to have a Heddon Basser in your lure collection, you’re aware the Basser is made of wood and is four inches in length.  It weighs 5/8th-ounce.

The lure has a distinctive “V” shaped metal plate held to its face by a couple of small screws.  Some of the early models of the lure were beautifully made with realistic glass eyes and a great looking finish. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back – Part Eight

As you can see from the background in this picture, Washington's Silver Lake was filled with pad cover during the time I lived there.  It was also loaded with yellow perch.  The Heddon Basser was one of the best lures you could tie on to catch the lake's largemouth.  Provided, that is, you had it in the right finish and knew how it had to be handled.

As you can see from the background in this picture, Washington’s Silver Lake was filled with pad cover during the time I lived there. It was also loaded with yellow perch. The Heddon Basser was one of the best lures you could tie on to catch the lake’s largemouth. Provided, that is, you had it in the right finish and knew how it had to be handled. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

My love affair with one of the bass lures the Heddon Tackle Company used to market was undoubtedly impacted by the habitat and forage of the lake I lived on for more than 35 years.

When my family moved from North Dakota to Washington State in 1936 we settled in the city of Longview.  Longview is located in the southwest part of the Evergreen State 50 miles down the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon.

Longview sets right on the Columbia.  As I’ve pointed out in my recent Let’s Look Back columns, I cut my bass fishing molars fishing the Columbia River’s backwater sloughs.  These sloughs were often used for log storage for the city’s big lumber mills. [Read more…]

Bombs Away

Bomber Bait Company ad circa 1968.

Bomber Bait Company ad circa 1968.

We’ve talked here a lot lately about lures that were made and were successful but for some reason the manufacturer quit making them. Examples of this would be Stan Fagerstrom’s favorite Heddon lure called the Basser, Storm’s original Wiggle Wart or even the Rapala Fat Rap. But what I want to talk about today was the flagship lure of a company that’s still with us – although it was long-ago bought out by one of the biggest tackle conglomerates there is today.

That company is the Bomber Bait Company and the lure I’m talking about was their 200-, 300-, 400-, 500- and 600-series crankbaits. I can’t think of many other baits that have such a successful history as the old “backwards” Bomber, as my friends and I used to call them when we were kids. The Heddon River Runt may have been the first crankbait I ever caught a bass on but the Bomber 400-series in Christmas Tree was the crankbait I caught most of my early bass on at Lake Irvine, Lake Henshaw and Vail Lake. In fact, it was at Vail Lake that I remember first seeing the lure and its effectiveness – in Bayou Bay. [Read more…]