Saturday, February 27, 2010

Deconstructing Old Ads with Bill Sonnett


 Recently my old collecting buddy and fishing apprentice Warren Platt asked me about this ad from the May 1912 issue of Outer's Book magazine.  I told him that I had seen the ad in many magazines of the period but had never seen the bait. Between the two of us we have been collecting for a long time with a combined NFLCC membership of over 50 years and are coming close to having attended 50 Nationals between the two of us. You would think that one of us would have seen an example of this bait at some time. When curiosity started me looking through my extensive library of reference books, I found that none illustrated the bait with an actual photo of a lure. In 1985 Kimball's (Early Fishing Plugs of the USA) stated that no example were known yet. In 1995, George Richey (Made in Michigan Fishing Lures) stated that only one example was known to exist. Hopefully this ad will bring other examples out of the woodwork. You just have to ask yourself how any lure could be advertised so extensively and be so rare?
I had no more than submitted this piece when what comes walking through the door at the NW Ohio Meet on 19 Feb than the only example of this lure anyone at the show had ever seen. I always assumed looking at the ad that the tail just flapped along behind the bait. Wrong! The spinner on the front is fixed to a shaft running through the length of the body. As the spinner and shaft spin so does the large aluminum tail fixed to the back end of the shaft. With the tail attached to the shaft at an angle, I'm sure it causes the bait to wiggle as it is draw though the water. I also think that it could turn out to be the consummate line twister. 

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