Let’s Look Back: Fly Rod Bass – Part 3

I tied my own bass bugs in a variety of sizes and colors.  The bugs I'm holding here were usually among my most effective.  Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

I tied my own bass bugs in a variety of sizes and colors. The bugs I’m holding here were usually among my most effective. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Finding an experienced guide when you’re on water you’ve never fished before is likely to save you both time and money.  This applies as well to the angler just getting started in fly rod bass fishing.

In last month’s column I talked about some of the gear I liked best for my own fly rod bass fishing.  Also, I should have mentioned just how darned important it is to have the right balance between your rod and line.  Get an experienced friend to help you in this regard or look for one of those hard-to-find sporting goods stores that has people with experience in fly rodding for bass.  You’ll never regret it. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back: Just Let it Sit

She's beat up a bit and some of her paint I gone but this old girl started catching bass for me a long, long time ago - and she still does. Note the sizeable double hook on the rear of the lure instead of the usual treble. One barb of the belly hook has also been clipped off. One of the workers at the Arbogast factory made these changes for me early on. I love it! Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

She’s beat up a bit and some of her paint I gone but this old girl started catching bass for me a long, long time ago – and she still does. Note the sizeable double hook on the rear of the lure instead of the usual treble. One barb of the belly hook has also been clipped off. One of the workers at the Arbogast factory made these changes for me early on. I love it! Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Some experiences just don’t fade away.

This applies every bit as much – maybe more – to fishing as it does to anything else. It’s certainly true where certain of my wondrous old lures are concerned.

If you read my last column you’ll recall I promised to tell about an experience that finally got me on the right track to get my Hula Poppers to do the job for me.

Goodness knows I’d had plenty of advice from experts regarding these old Arbogast baits. That advice was almost always much the same. It consisted of two words – slow down!

Maybe, like me and lots of other bassin’ men, you want to get your lure out there exactly where it needs to be but then you want to do something with it. What good is it gonna do just to let it set there? Why not start it dancing its way back to the boat and maybe get one of those bass you know is out there excited enough to smack it? [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…]

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…]