Saturday, October 10, 2009

Deconstructing Old Ads with Bill Sonnett

Deconstructing Old Ads with Bill Sonnett
Hanson's Irresistible

Dixie Carroll was a tireless promoter of fishing, fishing tackle and Dixie Carroll. As Editor of the National Sportsman he promoted any product that paid to advertise in the magazine. He even used his own portrait as the cover of the April 1917 issue of the National Sportsman. His salesmanship efforts reached new heights however with the publication Fishing Tackle and Kits in 1919. Along with a little fishing advice, the book is 333 pages of lauding various products that (who would have guessed it) also advertised in his magazine.

Without knowing it, Dixie did a great service to future fishing tackle collectors . When lure collecting was in its infancy there were no reference books to help us identify old lures. My personal guide during those years was Dixie's book. It contained about ten full-page, beautifully photographed plates, illustrating many rods, reels and lures of the day. It also included informative write-ups on each.

One of the lures that intrigued me was "Hanson's Irresistible". It is the first lure on the plate shown here. I had no idea how rare this lure would prove to be. For a long time the example of this bait shown in Carl Luckeys early editions was the only example known to many collectors. Very few of these baits have shown up since that time. I should have surmised an item featured in Dixie's book, would have been advertised in National Sportsman. At the NFLCC National this year I was fortunate to pick up a copy of the June 1917 issue and there was the ad for this illusive bait.

By the way, never missing a promotional opportunity, the magazine's inside cover again featured the large, color portrait of Dixie--the same one that had been the cover of the previous month's issue. This time it was to promote his new book Lake and Stream Game Fishing for which the portrait would also serve as the dust cover.

-- Bill Sonnett

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