Saturday, March 26, 2011

Deconstructing Old Ads: Moonlight Trout Bob (1911)

The Moonlight Trout Bob

From the pages of the July 1911 issue of Sporting Goods Dealer comes this beautiful ad from the Moonlight Bait Company featuring their offerings for 1911.

Most noticeable in the ad is the new “Trout Bob.” Almost any lure collecting reference book will mention that this is a fairly scarce bait. In more than thirty years of searching in the field,I have been lucky enough to find one . Reading the ad, it is obvious that the Moonlight Bait Company expected more success from this bait than it eventually achieved. In retrospect, I think it is somewhat easy to guess why it did not have huge sales.

Today we would put it on a spinning rod and possibly catch Smallmouth Bass on it, if they were biting on top. In 1911 there were only three choices on how one would use a bait this small: a cane pole, a baitcasting outfit, or a flyrod. By 1911, the period when folks were using cane poles for surface lures was waining. The lure was too small to be effectively cast on a baitcasting outfit and as the name indicates, Moonlight was trying to sell this thing to trout fishermen, who then as today, preferred the flyrod. The “Trout Bob" is a fairly heavy chunk to be slinging around on the end of a flyrod. I can only imagine the “wake up call” received when the fisherman was smacked in the back of the head with this bait, as any flyrod bait will do on occasion. I have never read an actual account of anyone catching a fish on a Trout Bob, but it does have great appeal for lure collectors today.

-- Bill Sonnett

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