Let’s Look Back – Tackle Industry Friends Part 3

As you can see in this picture, that Hula Popper I threw into a hole back in pad cover minutes ago is still fishin' all by itself.  If you've taken good care of its Hula Skirt your lure is going to do the same thing the one in this picture is doing.  Don't lay your rod aside no matter how long the lure has been out there.  You just never know when the water might explode.  Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

As you can see in this picture, that Hula Popper I threw into a hole back in pad cover minutes ago is still fishin’ all by itself. If you’ve taken good care of its Hula Skirt your lure is going to do the same thing the one in this picture is doing. Don’t lay your rod aside no matter how long the lure has been out there. You just never know when the water might explode. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

I doubt anybody knows quite as much about specific bass baits as the guys who come up with them in the first place.

In last month’s column I mentioned having had the chance down through the years of getting to know personally some of the nation’s leading lure makers. I’ve always felt pretty darn lucky to have had that opportunity.

I also mentioned that one of the guys I’d always wished I could have met, but didn’t, was Fred Arbogast. Fred, of course, was the guy who gave us lures ranging from the family of Hawaiian Wigglers to familiar surface baits like the wondrous old Jitterbugs and Hula Poppers.

I didn’t get to connect with Fred because he had almost come and gone before I wrote my first piece about bass. Now I’ve been around what sometimes seems almost since the fall of the Roman Empire. Actually, I entered the scene away back in 1923 but Fred, an expert bait caster besides heading up a terrific lure company, was already a national bait casting champion in 1922, 1923 and 1924. He passed away in 1947. [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…]

Pork: The Forgotten Bait – Part Two

Al Foss was a major pork rind manufacturer amongst other lures of the day. In this ad from 1923, they're showcasing their lures made specifically for pork rind, not to mention their pork itself.

Al Foss was a major pork rind manufacturer amongst other lures of the day. In this ad from 1923, they’re showcasing their lures made specifically for pork rind, not to mention their pork itself.

In Part One of this series on pork rind, we talked a bit about the back-and-forth history of the bait and its importance in the annals of bass fishing. Today we’re going to take a look at more of its history and dive even deeper into some of the old articles, catalogs, books and even some more contemporary pieces on the bait.

The first piece of early literature I’d like to share is from a 1923 Al Foss ad. It’s hard to miss the kid holding the giant bass caught from Florida’s Kissimmee River. According to the ad, the fish weighed in at 15 1/2 pounds and was caught on an Al Foss Shimmy Wiggler tipped with a piece of Al Foss pork rind. The claim from the customer goes on to say they also had a 12 3/4-pound bass amongst others.

To the right of the text Al Foss has a display of Wigglers available at the time along with a bottle of pork rind (cost 45¢). Archaic by today’s standards in baits, the Wigglers emulate a contemporary in-line surface buzzer that would use pork as the body. I wonder how many years it’s been since a bass, any bass, has seen the likes of a bait such as these? [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…]

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…]

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…]