Electronic Fishing 1962

A 1962 Ad for Lowrance Electronic Manufacturing Company and their portable depthfinder, the Model 505.

A 1962 Ad for Lowrance Electronic Manufacturing Company and their portable depthfinder, the Model 505.

When I started bass fishing in the mid-‘70s most boats had two depth finders – one on the console and one of the bow. These units were predominantly flashers made by Humminbird, Lowrance or Vexilar. About that same time paper graphs also started to take hold in the industry so by the late ‘70s you’d see boats with a paper graph and flasher on the console and then a flasher on the bow.

Nowadays serious anglers are placing two widescreen GPS/Depthfinder units on their consoles and two on the bow with some anglers even going as far as using iPads for more mapping capability. How times change. [Read more…]

Tom Mann – More than Jelly Worms

Tom Mann's Research Angler, Spring 1988 issue.

Tom Mann’s Research Angler, Spring 1988 issue.

I’ve always been a fan of Tom Mann and his contributions to the sport. He started what is considered one of the most revered tackle companies in the world and also played a role in the development of Humminbird Electronics (along with Blake Honeycutt). He was also one of the best anglers at the dawn of the competitive bass scene, winning a number of events and always challenging for the Angler of the Year award. He was, like few have been, an icon in the industry.

Mann had written, or had someone else write for him, a number of books on the subject – many of which I have in my collection. But recently I was at Greene’s Boat and Motor in Spindale, NC and got a big surprise as Andy Greene was showing me some of his literature collection. [Read more…]

More Electronics – Garcia Corp

Garcia electronics ad from 1977

Garcia electronics ad from 1977

The year was 1977 and anyone in the fishing industry was looking to take advantage of the fast-growing population of bass anglers wanting to improve their ability to catch fish. As we’ve covered a number of times here at the Bass Fishing Archives, lure companies got in the business of making boats, boat companies got in the business of making rods and reel companies got in the business of making depthfinders. Seems logical when you think about it quickly but when you really ponder the thought, it seems ridiculous.

So far there’s really only been one company that capitalized and was successful on a crossover venture and that was Tom Mann and his crazy invention of the Humminbird depthfinder. Lord knows Lowrance had the market share at the time and why Mann would think he could build a better less-expensive mouse trap is beyond me. But the proof is in the pudding –Humminbird is one of two successful freshwater electronics manufacturers today and pretty much all other have gone by the wayside – except for those who still fish with Vexilar through the ice. [Read more…]

The End of an Era? Paper Graphs and Flashers

Buy them as a pair before they're obsolete!

Buy them as a pair before they’re obsolete!

We always have fun looking at some of the old ads for various fishing goodies. Here’s another that caught my eye recently. Considering that most of us in the early years of bassin’ grew up on paper graphs and flashers, this Bass Pro Shops ad sure hit home. A pretty catchy slogan, too, “How you can kill two birds with one stone.” [Read more…]

The Beginning of Packaged Boats

1980 Bass Tracker III 2-page ad, Field & Stream

1980 Bass Tracker III 2-page ad, Field & Stream

Once upon a time, if an angler wanted to buy a fishing boat, he had to pretty much select everything separately and piece together his own bassin’ rig. Take this hull, put that motor on it, and fit it on such and such trailer, then ad your own accesories. But in 1978, that all changed when Johnny Morris created and sold the BASS TRACKER® line of aluminum boats. Not only did he create the concept of a ready-to-fish boat package with this line, but he also advertised the package price for the boat in national ads found in major sporting magazines like this 1980 2-page ad found in an old Field & Stream magazine. It would only take 4 years before the idea caught on so well that TRACKER® Boats would open its first aluminum boat plant in Lebanon, MO. Such began the “packaged boat” concept. [Read more…]