Saturday, January 16, 2010

Deconstructing Old Ads with Bill Sonnett

The South Bend Wobbler 1915

The July 1915 issue Outer's Book featured this ad which was widely published at the time. It is shown here along with an entry from the 1915 South Bend Catalogue. It illustrates the "South Bend Wobbler". South Bend was a small company at the time trying desperately to "make a go of it". The Anti Backlash reel made for them by Shakespeare was one of their few success storys. With the introduction of this new bait, I think they knew they were on to something that could compete with the many "Wobblers" that had supplanted the underwater minnow as the lure of choice over the preceding two years. I don't think that they suspected that it would become a candidate for the biggest selling lure of the 20th century and a lure that is still being produced 95 years later! With all that success came a new name in 1916. One that would be familiar to all bass fishermen of several generations: the BassOreno. It was the envy of other lure companies and they produced lures specifically meant to capitalize on the BassOreno's success. In a letter in the Heddon Museum, Charles Heddon waxed that fishermen were so fickled that the sale of any new lure faded after a few years and that what the Heddon Company needed was a lure like South Bend's BassOreno that had steady sales year after year.

-- Bill Sonnett

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