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…]

Old Book Reviews: Fish Locators; Babe Winkelman

The cover; The Comprehensive Guide to Fish Locators

The cover; The Comprehensive Guide to Fish Locators

We’ve mentioned a few different books on this site before that dealt with electronics. This one is another, and falls under the heading of that ‘ONE’ book that helped me understand my electronics better. The full title was, “The Comprehensive Guide to Fish Locators” written by Babe Winkelman. Being from the Midwest, a lot of what we learned about bass fishing back in the early days came from those multi-species experts that seemed to be prevalent with the area, as opposed to the more ‘bass only’ culture that was developing south of the Mason-Dixon line . The book was published in 1985, contains 80 pages, and I’d swear came in a package that also included a cassette tape or two, though I can’t for the life of me verify that. I can tell you it was purchased from the sporting goods section of my local Sears store though. [Read more…]

Northwoods Finders of 1979

1979 Northwoods catalog from the people that brought you Fishing Facts magazine.

1979 Northwoods catalog from the people that brought you Fishing Facts magazine.

This weekend I was looking over a 1979 Northwoods catalog, printed and distributed by the folks at Fishing Facts, and a number of items caught my eye. First off, the entire from half of the catalog was devoted to clothing. Although I’m familiar with the winters of the north, this was there spring/summer issue and one would think they’d want to be selling tackle rather than cold-weather gear. I wondered what the fall issue would look like.

The second item that took me back in time was actually not just a single piece of equipment but an entire list of gear we had available to us that year – depthfinders. Although Northwoods offered a good selection, Lowrance, Humminbird and Fish Hawk, missing was Vexilar, Ray Jefferson and SITEX. [Read more…]

Old Books: The Facts of Electronic Fishing – I

The Facts of Electronic Fishing - 1961

The Facts of Electronic Fishing – 1961

As a continuing follow-up to some of the history behind Lowrance and their early electronic units, and since Terry has been on me to post about the old Lowrance books that were published in the 1960s, today we’ll take a quick book review through the first in what became a small series of published documents, “The Facts of Electronic Fishing.”

I have an original first edition copy of that book which was published in 1961 (opening pic). The company (in 1961) was operating under the name ‘Lowrance Electronics Manufacturing Company,’ or LEMCO for short. At the time, they were still located in Joplin, Missouri. The book is approximately 124 pages long, and broken down into 5 chapters. They are as follows: [Read more…]

Lunker Lore – A “How To” Manual

Lunker Lore, by Evinrude Motors

Lunker Lore, by Evinrude Motors

1967-1968 is a critical year in bass fishing history. In the Midwest, Fishing News magazine is espousing the discoveries of Buck Perry, and promoting the spoonplugging technique, a system of both trolling and casting used to map and eliminate water, and put you on biting fish faster. Lots of testimonials are coming in about how effective “the system” is. In the South, June 1967 marks the first organized bass tournament put on by Ray Scott, with the official structure and organization (B.A.S.S.) to follow in 1968. Two key rules that will get implemented in the tournaments that organization puts on will be no trolling, and no live bait, both directly in conflict with what is being practiced and promoted to the north. Right in the middle of all this, Evinrude Motors of Milwaukee, WI put out a 16 page manual on primarily trolling titled, “Lunker Lore – A Manual on How to Catch More Fish with Your Evinrude Outboard Motor.” [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…]

Past Technology – Lost Art

Topo Map CropI was at Walmart the other day to pick some stuff up and, as always, had to go by the fishing section to see if the Walmarts here in North Carolina are any better than the ones I used to frequent in Idaho. As I was looking at the Strike King KVD crankbaits and other paraphernalia I don’t need, I came across a couple pegs of topo maps – one of Shearon Harris and the other of Jordan, two lakes that are now only about 30 minutes from where I live.

As I was looking over them in the store, the thought occurred to me, “does anyone even buy these things anymore with all the electronics we have on our boats?” I bought the maps, went home and started looking at them in detail. [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…]

Side-Scan 1976 Style

Aquascan side-scanning sonar circa 1976. Photo February 1976 issue Bassmaster Magazine.

As with many of the articles we post here on the Bass Fishing Archives, here’s another example of something new that really isn’t new. When side-scanning sonar was “reintroduced” around 2005 by Hummingbird the angling community again was split down the middle. As with other technological advances, some anglers said it was too much and made the art of fishing too easy. The other half embraced the technology and ran with it.

Now, as with any other gadget used in the industry, anglers far and wide realize the utility of side-scanning sonar but more so, they realize that these units aren’t going to make the task of catching fish any easier. [Read more…]

Ban The Graph, Side Scan, Structure Scan ANYTHING THAT SCANS!

Photo Bassmaster Magazine February 1976.

Editor’s Note: A couple weeks ago in an article titled, “Can Someone Get Me a Roll of Paper,” I mentioned a movement started by a MN Rep to Ban the Graph. Well, because of that I felt it might be interesting to look deeper into that subject. Here’s the story from the ‘75/’76 time frame.

A few years ago Hummingbird rocked the fishing world with their Side Imaging® technology and people went nuts – in two completely different ways. In one camp, people were in awe of the fact you could ‘peer’ into the water from side-to-side – seeing fish, structure or even stolen cars you’d normally have missed with a contemporary unit. Although the cost of the units was on the high side of high, many anglers flocked to the new technology knowing it would bring more fish to their livewells. [Read more…]

Can Someone Get Me a Roll of Paper!

Hummingbird introduces the first LCR graph at the 1984 AFTMA Show. January 1985 Hummingbird Ad.

Around the 1975 time frame a number of the electronic companies were bringing their chart recorders, or paper graphs as they were also called, to the market. These pieces of equipment created a huge uproar, primarily with a particular Minnesota Rep, and there was actually a Ban the Graph campaign in that state.

Well, suffice it to say, the paper graph wasn’t banned. You see, once people realized there was more to catching fish than finding them on a chart recorder and casting any lure, all the hubbub associated with the “non-sportsman-like” electronics died off. [Read more…]

Technology in Overdrive – the GPS Revolution

Photo 1991 Bass Master Magazine – article by Matt Vincent

Next weekend, when you pull up on a brush pile on your favorite reservoir, or head out into the middle of the Great Lakes to relocate an isolated couple of rocks, remember that it wasn’t always this easy. The GPS that we take for granted today wasn’t available years ago – we’re not talking the 1950s and 1960s, but rather as recently as the early 1990s. Indeed, as a February 1991 Bassmaster article by Matt Vincent pointed out, “the long-awaited Global Positioning System (GPS)….(is) expected to become fully operational this year…”

If this new technology worked as advertised, there would be no more triangulating of landmarks to find offshore structure and cover, no guesswork or long hours of idling looking for irregularities. The console-mounted compass would become a thing of the past. GPS would be a game-changer. [Read more…]