Saturday, April 10, 2010

Deconstructing Old Ads with Bill Sonnett

"Vampire" -- "Vamp" What's in a name?

This June 1921 advertisement from National Sportsman magazine ask us to consider the Heddon "Vampire" as an effective bass bait. Most of you know and refer to this bait as the "Vamp" as Heddon changed the name from "Vampire" to "Vamp" a short time later. This ad got me thinking about that change and possible reasons why it was made. I looked up the word "vamp" and "vampire" in several dictionaries of various ages. I was surprised to learn that the word "Vampire" at one time referred to a beguiling woman. About the time this bait was introduced in 1920 the word "vamp" came into common slang usage. I like the definition in my 50 year old Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary best::
(Vamp, n.  slang.  a. short for VAMPIRE, n.,  b. one who uses her charms and wiles to gain attention from the opposite sex.)
As far as the Vampire's fish catching abilities I would rate it as successful in my own experiments with it. I will never forget fishing with my youngest son 25 years ago. We were casting for bass from a small row boat and action had slowed. I reached into my tackle box and fastened a pike colored "Vamp" on. My son who was about 12 at the time took one look at the large lure and ask what I expected to catch on "THAT". He was not so outspoken when a nice bass took the bait and was landed on the first cast!

-- Bill Sonnett

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