Was This the First “Creature Bait”?

Cat Claw Bait Company's Super Tail ad from 1977.

Cat Claw Bait Company’s Super Tail ad from 1977.

[Editor’s note: We’re happy to have longtime writer/bass fishing expert Rich Zaleski pen this piece for us on the Cat Claw Super Tail. As many of you probably know, Rich has been writing about bass fishing since the 1970s and has been published in a multitude of magazines and Internet venues.]

Sometime in the early 1970s, New York City Reservoir bass guru Marty Friedman, was vacationing at the 1000 Islands area of the Saint Lawrence River. Back at his cottage after a particularly good day on the water, he was showing off a mixed, largemouth/smallmouth bag averaging over 3 pounds. After complimenting him on his catch, his neighbor in the vacation community showed Friedman his own limit — five largemouth averaging almost twice that much. That was when Friedman met Bob Sickafoose, and learned about the unique soft plastic lure the Ohio angler had developed. [Read more…]

Smallmouth Magazine – Volume 1 Issue 12

Marketed by Uncle Josh for a few years, the Spinrite was originally manufactured by the Pedigo Lure Company. Just two weeks ago, the Pedigo Lure Company was resurrected and now offers the original Spinrite. I bet Billy would be proud.

Marketed by Uncle Josh for a few years, the Spinrite was originally manufactured by the Pedigo Lure Company. Just two weeks ago, the Pedigo Lure Company was resurrected and now offers the original Spinrite. I bet Billy would be proud.

We’re back at Smallmouth Magazine, this time with the final issue of the inaugural year 1985. After this segment, we’re going to take a break from Smallmouth Magazine for a couple weeks in order to get some other things published and then we’ll pick right back up with Volume 2.

In this issue, from December, 1985, we have the usual cast of Smallmouth contributors, Tom Rodger, Billy Westmorland and Tom Zenanko. But there’s also another well-known writer/angling guru by the name of Rich Zaleski who made his Smallmouth debut in this issue. We’ll talk a little about that later.

The magazine starts off with Tom Rodgers, publisher and president of Smallmouth, talking about their first year and what a success it was. What kind of got me about the piece was on two different fronts. First off I was amazed the membership fee was $29.95 per year for 1985. That’s a lot of Hoss Flies for a predominantly four-page newsletter. It was nice that Rodgers got enough sponsor support that he could lower the membership fees for 1986 down to $19.95. [Read more…]

Smallmouth Magazine

Smallmouth Magazine published by Smallmouth Inc, began in 1987 and lasted five years. Photo cover of the March/April 1990 issue.

Smallmouth Magazine published by Smallmouth Inc, began in 1987 and lasted five years. Photo cover of the March/April 1990 issue.

When Ray Scott founded B.A.S.S. in 1967, the “B” stood for “Bass” – not specifically largemouth bass. It was meant to be inclusive, certainly with smallmouths and spotted bass under its umbrella. Later, long after he’d sold the organization, they expressly embraced bass diversity to include the so-called “B.A.S.S. Slam” of nine different species. Nevertheless, for a majority of bass anglers, in the early years the de facto meaning of the “B” was largemouth, since green bass were generally more readily available nationwide. There was certainly coverage of the other species of bass, but it was limited, and B.A.S.S. did not hold a major tournament on a traditional northern fishery until 1977 when Jim Rogers won the New York Invitational on the St. Lawrence River (Terry previously discussed Roger Lures and the associated tackle store here). [Read more…]

The Writers – Rich Zaleski

Zaleski hoisting a stout New England bass he caught in cold water. He was one, if not the first writer to talk about how bass bunch up in cold water. Photo courtesy of Rich Zaleski.

Editor’s Note: This series is dedicated to those people who penned the many articles we read in order to learn more about our sport and become better anglers. Sure it may have been the anglers who developed the techniques, lures and equipment we use today but it was the writers’ job to make sure these bits of information got to the masses. Without the writers to communicate this, the world of bass fishing would be very different today.

 

Over the course of time there have been a number of writers who have helped advance the sport of bass fishing not by just communicating what well-known anglers were doing but by applying the scientific approach to their own bass fishing and relating their observations to the masses. Names like Al and Ron Lindner, Doug Stange and Steve Quinn all come to mind when one thinks of the scientific approach to fishing. Another name that falls into this category is Rich Zaleski.

Rich has spent a lifetime studying and writing about the sport – in that order. During the interview for this article I asked him what he liked to write about most and his answer was, “I like to write about what I learn bass fishing. I don’t like to write someone else’s story, I want to write about my studies on the water and how they’ve made me a better angler.” [Read more…]