Thursday, May 22, 2008

Texas Fishing Lure History Update #1

My little two part article on the fishing tackle companies of Corpus Christi, Texas was very well received, so I thought I'd occasionally add an update on new information when I find it. Just yesterday, I received a stack of vintage magazines in the mail, and to my surprise found a copy that contained not one but three vintage Nichols Bait Co. ads. As I'd searched fruitlessly for pre-1951 Nichols ads prior to this, it was a welcome find. While I'm sure these ads are no revelation to the legion of Lone Star collectors, I thought I'd share them with the rest of the fishing world in an effort to better inform them of the many gems that this great state has produced. These ads all ran in the October 1947 edition of Hunting & Fishing magazine.

This first one is for the Nichols Shrimp, and I think its interesting because it states that "it has recently been equipped with a metal lip." I had wondered when that happened and it appears that 1946-1947 is the likely date for the introduction of the metal lip variant.

The Nichols Flirt is one of the most overlooked of the Texas baits. What a wonderful bait, in essence a Texas take on the River Runt, Millsite Wig Wag, and Paw Paw 9100 Series lures. Notice also the Ab Saint step lip, which revolutionized the River Runt Spook Go-Deeper. Imagine getting a color collection of these in all 16 available colors!

Here is the classic Texas coast bait--made in variations by Pico, Hump, Bayou Boogie, etc. This is the "Piggy Perch" and it also came in 16 colors. Trying to differentiate between the various makers of this style of bait can be maddening, so pay close attention screw and hook placement, as well as the style of eye. Colors can be deceiving as many Texas firms painted lures to match what was popular at any given time. Its one of the most maddening and delightful things about Texas lures--the incredible color variations.

Hope this helps a few collectors out there get a better idea on the Nichols Bait Company offerings in the immediate post-war era.

-- Dr. Todd

ADDENDUM By Colby Sorrels

I thank Colby Sorrels, one of the truly knowledgeable gentleman on all aspects of Texas tackle history (and most other tackle too, I might add) for sending me the following note, which he graciously allowed me to tack on the end of this update as an addendum.

You are correct. Nichols had very few ads. Furthering the information from the last post it is really interesting that Nichols chose to advertise their three plastic lures but production of these same lures seems to have been so low. The Flirt/Peppy bodies were sent to the AB Saint location in Oklahoma for the lip to be inserted into the lure. Saint would not send the lips to the Texas factory. This further slowed production which may be one of the reasons the production numbers were so low.

There is one early Nichols color catalog. It shows the different lures and colors available. One interesting thing is it shows the Nichols production plastic shrimp with legs yet to date none have been found with the legs. This style of legs were used later on the FENCO (Fred E. Nichols Company) Shrimp. This was Fred Nichols second attempt at a lure company.

One interesting story about Nichols, he was a bait fisherman. According to his son Harold his father never fished with lures!

1 comment:

Dale Odom said...

How much is an average condition Nichols flirt worth?