Let’s Look Back – Tackle Industry Friends Part 1

I didn't have any white in my whiskers when I first started corresponding with Homer Circle way back in the middle of the last century.  Over the years he was to become one of my closest friends.  Homer was working for the Heddon Tackle Company when our friendship first developed. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

I didn’t have any white in my whiskers when I first started corresponding with Homer Circle way back in the middle of the last century. Over the years he was to become one of my closest friends. Homer was working for the Heddon Tackle Company when our friendship first developed. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

[Editor’s Note: Due to unforseen circumstances, we have not been able to post any stories for the better part of three months.  With this, we will be running two of Stan’s posts from August and September today and tomorrow in order to try and play catch-up with his column. We will also try and get back to posting on a more-regular basis.  We apologize for the lack of articles but the day job had severely hindered the time needed to provide meaningful pieces.]

There’s been a heap of change in this business of marketing baits designed to put bass in the boat since I did my first writing about it.

It was way back in the middle of the last century when I turned out my first fishing columns for a daily newspaper. The exact year was 1946. The way I went about getting details on new products I wanted to write about back in those early days provides one of glaring aspects of the changes I’m talking about.

And even more important, as far as I’m concerned, is how the tackle industry in those early days put me in touch with some lifetime friends. Some of those friends were instrumental in opening doors that led to me eventually having experiences I’d previously not even dreamed about having. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back – Abe Schiller Part 3

Abe Schiller checks out some of the lures he's going to show the bass at Lake Mead.  When I fished with him while aboard the big Flamingo Hotel's cruiser back in the 1950s we rarely ran into other bass boats. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Abe Schiller checks out some of the lures he’s going to show the bass at Lake Mead. When I fished with him while aboard the big Flamingo Hotel’s cruiser back in the 1950s we rarely ran into other bass boats. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Any time I take a look back at Las Vegas, Lake Mead and the earlier days of professional bass fishing it brings a mixture of memories – some good and some sad.

I expect many bass anglers will relate both Vegas and Lake Mead to the first Bassmasters Classic in 1971. I was there for that original Classic but my experience with both the city and the lake began well before that event took place. It’s also where some of that sadness I mentioned creeps into my memory.

I touched on some of that in my previous column. I told how I got my first look at Las Vegas in 1952. The beautiful Flamingo was then the only major hotel on what was to become the fabled Las Vegas Strip that we know today. [Read more…]

Black Bass Fishing: Robert Page Lincoln – Part Three

Black Bass Fishing CoverBack in late 2014 I started the review of this book, Black Bass Fishing by Robert Page Lincoln and never finished the last part. I want to apologize for that upfront (especially to Bill Sonnett). But now that the book has been glaring at me for nearly six months, I can’t ignore it any longer and today we have Part Three of the review of this must-read book.

Over the course of Part One and Part Two we covered chapters one through 17 along with the Foreword and Introduction. Today we’ll finish with Chapters 18 through 24 and the Appendix. For those of you who missed the first two parts of this book and want to read them (and I highly suggest you do) you can find the posts at the links presented in the first sentence of this paragraph. [Read more…]

Black Bass Fishing: Robert Page Lincoln – Part Two

Black Bass Fishing - Theory and Practice by Robert Page Lincoln. First printing April 1952 Stackpole Company.

Black Bass Fishing – Theory and Practice by Robert Page Lincoln. First printing April 1952 Stackpole Company.

[Editor’s Note – this is Part Two of a three-part series on the book, Black Bass Fishing by Robert Page Lincoln. To read Part One, click here.]

In the first part of this review of the book Black Bass Fishing by Robert Page Lincoln, we delved into a little bit of Lincoln’s life and covered the first eight chapters of the book. In this second part, we’ll continue on with chapters nine through seventeen in order to give you an idea of what he saw the state of bass fishing in the late 40s and early 50s, along with his methods for catching bass and the tackle he used. [Read more…]

Black Bass Fishing: Robert Page Lincoln – Part 1

Black Bass Fishing - Theory and Practice by Robert Page Lincoln. First printing April 1952 Stackpole Company.

Black Bass Fishing – Theory and Practice by Robert Page Lincoln. First printing April 1952 Stackpole Company.

A big part of the history of bass fishing is looking back at the old literature to see what the state of the sport was back in time. To date we’ve done a number of old book reviews and today, we continue on that path.

I received my copy of Black Bass Fishing – Theory and Practice from Bass Fishing Archives supporter and friend, Mr. William (Bill) Sonnett. Bill is not just a student of the sport’s history, he’s an authority when it comes to old bass tackle and literature and for years has written a column named Deconstructing Old Ads on Dr. Todd Larson’s website, Fishing for History. It’s nice to have Bill around when we have a question here with respect what happened in the old days. [Read more…]

Introducing Jason Lucas – Sports Afield March 1945

Sports Afield, March 1945. Reprinted with written permission.

Sports Afield, March 1945. Reprinted with written permission.

As we’ve written in the past, Jason Lucas is one of the early pioneers of the sport of bass fishing. His 24 years as the Fishing Editor for Sports Afield along with his book, Lucas on Bass Fishing, have cemented his name in the annals of the sport forever. Unfortunately, not many anglers younger than 40 know of him or his many contributions.

Because of this, there are a number of us bass historians who are dedicated to making sure his name isn’t forgotten and that hopefully someday his name will be as recognizable as Bill Dance, Roland Martin or Jimmy Houston. He’s that important to the history of bass fishing. [Read more…]

Advanced Bait Casting by Charles K. Fox – Part 1

Advanced Bait Casting, Charles K. Fox, 1950.

Advanced Bait Casting, Charles K. Fox, 1950.

We started the Bass Fishing Archives because we not only love the history of the sport – we feel its history needs to be told accurately and preserved for all to see. We’re proud to have the only site dedicated to the subject and for the great readers who visit the site.

When we conceived the idea for the Bass Fishing Archives, we knew we couldn’t tell the whole story. We just weren’t around in the early part of the 20th century. That’s where we knew readers would eventually jump on the bandwagon and correct us if we were wrong with respect to some part of the history or introduce us to something we missed.

This is where the today’s book review comes into play. [Read more…]

The Shannon – Another Look

Shannon Twin Spinner ad from 1919 provided by Bill Sonnett.

Shannon Twin Spinner ad from 1919 provided by Bill Sonnett.

When we posted the story about the Shannon Twin Spinner last week it wasn’t long before we received an email from long-time bass fishing historian Bill Sonnett. Sonnett has been collecting bass fishing tackle and memorabilia probably since before I was born. He’s a self-described cult member of the Jason Lucas fan club and when it comes to the complete history of the sport, there are few who are in his league. He also contributes to a number of historical clubs and websites to include Old Reel Collectors Association (Reel News), Fishing for History and The National Fishing Lure Collectors Club. When Bill Sonnett says something about the bass fishing past, I listen. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back – Part 19

Fishermen were hungry to learn more about bass fishing back in the middle of the last century. Jason Lucas, the fishing editor of Sports Afield magazine at the time, did a tremendous job with his book "Lucas on Bass."  The book had three printings.  The first was done in 1947, followed by others in 1949 and 1962.

Fishermen were hungry to learn more about bass fishing back in the middle of the last century. Jason Lucas, the fishing editor of Sports Afield magazine at the time, did a tremendous job with his book “Lucas on Bass.” The book had three printings. The first was done in 1947, followed by others in 1949 and 1962.

Anybody who has been involved in fishing and writing about it for the better part of a century, and I have, is well aware of the importance of having access to good pictures to illustrate your work.

I’ve been so blessed in that regard.  My wife has shot thousands of pictures for me.  So have fishing partners like Jim Ewing and Mike Pedersen, both of Longview, Washington.  Oftentimes in the different magazines, I’ve been credited with pictures they’ve actually shot.  I’ve provided the cameras and related equipment and explained exactly what I wanted – but they’ve actually taken the pictures.

Usually the higher you climb in the writing ranks the greater the need for quality photography.  How then are you going to get that done if you insist on always fishing by yourself and there’s no one there to help out when you put a whopper in the boat? [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back – Part 18

It was questions regarding the best way to fish cover like that shown here that brought about my relationship with Jason Lucas.  Lucas was the fishing editor of Sports Afield magazine at the time. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

It was questions regarding the best way to fish cover like that shown here that brought about my relationship with Jason Lucas. Lucas was the fishing editor of Sports Afield magazine at the time. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

I’m a lucky guy.

Why do I say that?  There’s a whole stringer full of reasons.  One most certainly is that I came into the world loving to fish for bass.  For the better part of a century I’ve probably had far more time and opportunity to do that than most. And that’s just for starters.  I say that because writing about the sport I love so much has also provided most of the bucks I’ve used to buy my beans.  How you gonna beat that kind of combo? [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back – Part 17

I treasure the opportunity I had to have Jason Lucas as a personal friend.  Evidence of that can be found in the many letters he sent me.  I'm holding some of them here.

I treasure the opportunity I had to have Jason Lucas as a personal friend. Evidence of that can be found in the many letters he sent me. I’m holding some of them here.

It didn’t surprise me all that much when I got a question about my comments regarding Jason Lucas that appeared in my last Let’s Look Back column.

I wasn’t surprised, I suppose, because it’s something I’ve heard several times before.  This time a reader’s comment went like this: “If Jason Lucas was a personal friend of yours you surely must have fished with him a few times.  Was he as good as his Sports Afield columns and articles made him out to be?”

Jason Lucas was indeed a personal friend.  What’s more and as I’ve already shared, I’ve got his letters to prove it.  Be that as it may, I never got to fish with him.

How come?  Because, you see, as far as I know Jason never fished with anybody.  He made that clear in his Sports Afield writing.  He had also made it clear to me before he and his wife ever joined my wife and me when he came to visit us when we were still living in Washington State. [Read more…]

UMCO – Minnesotan for “Need Forklift”

The 1975 UMCO Possum Belly Tackle Box.

The 1975 UMCO Possum Belly Tackle Box.

One of my dreams as a young aspiring angler was to obtain as much fishing tackle as I could. My other dream was to place all that tackle in the box shown here – the UMCO Possum Belly.

With 84 “plastic bait -proof” compartments spread over 10 trays, the UMCO Possum Belly not only had room for your tackle, it could accomodate your lunch and even keep a 6-pack of your favorite beverage cold in the 1,000 cubic-inch possum belly. Empty the box “weigh(ed) only 11 1/2 lbs!”

Boy am I glad I didn’t have the money back then. [Read more…]