Saturday, February 20, 2010

Deconstructing Old Ads with Bill Sonnett

Schoonie's Skooter

Twenty five years ago there seemed to be much more interest on the part of most collectors in early, small miscellaneous lure manufactures. One bait that was considered fairly hard to find was Schoonie's Skooter which was made in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Kalamazoo lies in the heart of what the Kimball's called "Plug Alley" in their seminal book Early Fishing Plugs of the USA. “Plug Alley” is a band of natural lakes that lies across southern Michigan and part of northern Indiana, roughly between Detroit and Chicago. Heddon, South Bend, Shakespeare, Paw Paw and Creek Chub all lie in "Plug Alley" along with countless small early manufacturers. The reason is simple, in the early 1900's before automobile travel became common place, folks in Chicago and Detroit could jump on a train and within an hour or two be in an area that was blessed with thousands of small natural lakes teeming with bass and panfish. Locals saw an opportunity with the popularization of baitcasting to cash in on the tourist trade with the sale of their own "highly successful baits."

Todays ad for Schoonie's Skooter comes from the May 1919 issue of The National Sportsman. The writeup below on this bait by Dixie Carroll is from the same year.

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