Saturday, May 1, 2010

Deconstructing Old Ads with Bill Sonnett

Pepper Roman Redtail

Living in Michigan or Ohio most of my life, I have looked through a lot of early tackle boxes in the past 40 years. Seldom have I seen a Pepper bait. Larger companies like Pflueger, Shakespeare, Heddon, etc. liked to protect their home States from competition and would often tell dealers that if they expected to handle their products they would have to refrain from stocking the competition's. Growing up in Ohio in the 1940s and 1950s, the most common reels that I saw were always Pflueger. I was somewhat surprised when I started looking for old tackle in Michigan to find relatively few Pflueger reels. I asked an older local dealer about this at the time (he had been in business since 1939). He told me that Shakespeare had told him flat out that if he expected to sell Shakespeare reels in his Michigan store, there could not be any Pflueger reels on the same shelves. This is probably illegal today but it explains the disparity in tackle from one State to another. If I was going to find a mint Pepper bait, I always hoped it would be a Roman Redtail. I never did find one, but today's ad and additional write-up from the July 1911 National Sportsman Magazine are almost as good and certainly convey the beauty of this lure. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

-- Bill Sonnett

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