Frank E. Hauck – The Living Rubber Connection

Dee Thomas (L) and Frank Hauck (R) sipping a cold one after their win on Lake Nacimiento in 1974. Photo California Lunker Club Newsletter June 1974. Notice the "Lew's Hats on their heads.

Dee Thomas (L) and Frank Hauck (R) sipping a cold one after their win on Lake Nacimiento in 1974. Photo California Lunker Club Newsletter June 1974. Notice the “Lew’s Hats on their heads.

I’ve been waiting for some more information prior to posting this piece but with the passing of Charlie Reed last week, I felt I couldn’t wait any longer. This piece is a tribute to Frank Hauck – inventor and bass fisherman.

Readers of the Bass Fishing Archives may well remember the name Frank Hauck. He’s been written about here a few times before – namely with his early tournament partner Dee Thomas (here and here). Hauck was not only the guy who convinced Thomas to start competitive fishing, he was Thomas’ first sponsor. But what he is little known for outside his native northern California is his contribution to the tackle industry – namely jigs.

Hauck's ad from the July/August issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Hauck’s ad from the July/August issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Hauck was obviously an adamant jig fisherman. That would seem obvious since he was paired with one of the best jig anglers. Not happy with the standard skirt materials of the day – primarily marabou, vinyl and hair – Hauck set out to find a material that had more action. What he discovered was what he called “living rubber.”

1978 ad for Living Rubber. Ad from the spring 1978 issue of Western Bass Magazine.

1978 ad for Living Rubber. Ad from the spring 1978 issue of Western Bass Magazine.

As early as 1977 you could find ads for Hauck’s living rubber in Western Bass Magazines. It wasn’t until 1979, though, that bass anglers nationwide would find out exactly what Living Rubber was when it was written about in Bassmaster’s July/August 1979 issue. Prior to that, Hauck had placed a few ads within the magazine in 1978 but little interest was received outside of the West.

Living Rubber article from Bassmaster Magazine, July/August issue.

Living Rubber article from Bassmaster Magazine, July/August issue.

Shortly thereafter the living rubber craze took off in the U.S. and you were hard pressed to find a jig made of anything but living rubber. Although silicon skirt materials have taken the front seat in jig materials, there are still a few companies that use the material and many anglers who prefer it over anything else on the market because it still has better action than any other material available.

Back in the later part of April, 2013, I received an email from a reader regarding the first flipping article ever published that we posted here at the Bass Fishing Archives. The reader was Frank Hauck’s son. He wanted to let us know that his father had passed on April 17. He also said that those days fishing with Thomas were “the time of his dad’s life.”

Thanks Frank for developing arguably the best skirt material ever made and thanks for talking Dee into competitive fishing. I’d also like to thank Frank Jr. for letting us know of the passing of his father.

  • If it wasn’t for Frank Hauck, would we even be jig fishing today?

    • Elaborate on that Rich. I think I know what direction you’re going but want to hear what you have to say.

  • drumsticks

    When i was a kid, we would ride our bikes to his shop on Moorpark drive, next to the Manor Market that was there. He would have his bass boat parked right out front. We would ask him tons of questions. He was the few shops that would have pile worms for sale. My friend would always say. “We need to go to Hauck’s, he knows “.