Saturday, June 19, 2010

Deconstructing Old Ads with Bill Sonnett

Deconstructing Old Ads with Bill Sonnett

$3 A Pound!

When I first saw this ad in the July 1937 issue of Sports Afield several thoughts came to mind.

1. Where was this 15 pound outboard motor 40 years ago when I was slogging with a canoe and 37 pound outboard over mosquito infested portage trails to reach isolated fishing lakes in northern Canada?
2. How come it is so hard to find a good small outboard motor that is produced today?
3. Anybody ever run into the “Fisherude Kit” as seen in the bottom right of this ad?
4. How did we get to the point where most young fishermen think that bass fishing means you have to have 200 hp motor on the back of a large boat that is equipped with enough electronics to outfit a World War II submarine?

The small natural lakes where I fish make today's “Bass Boat” seem out-of-place and small outboards are at a premium around here. There is a brisk market for the used, 3 to 10 horse power outboard motor as very few are being produced these days. The older motors are not without their problems however. First it was no-lead gasoline that did not have the octane to keep these older engines from “knocking.” Now it is the ever increasing amount of ethanol in our gasoline that is giving them fits with accumulated water due to its hygroscopic qualities. Also, the ethanol tends to dissolve the varnish on the outside of those old cork carburetor floats clogging up the works.

On the positive side, if most anything goes wrong with one of those 800 pound outboards one sees today, it means a trip to a trained repair technician and a hefty bill. While camped on a wilderness lake years ago with a friend, his 1956 3hp Evinrude fall into 10 feet of water and spent a couple of hours there. With nothing but a screwdriver, a pair of pliers and a role of toilet paper we disassembled the entire motor, dried things out with toilet paper, and when reassembled it started on the third pull and is still running today!

-- Bill Sonnett