Saturday, April 2, 2011

Deconstructing Old Ads: Bass Fisherman Will Say I'm Crazy (1958)


Bass Fishermen will Say I'm Crazy..........

Few ads in the 1950's are as ubiquitous as today's selection from the March 1958 issue of The Fisherman magazine. It appeared again and again in the many outdoor magazines that I was privy to in the 1950's and early 1960's. As this ad has been discussed on Joe's board several times, it has become obvious that a lot of young teenage boys (including myself) were mesmerized by Mr. Eric Fare's polished sales job and assurances that we would be hauling in the big ones from any available water as soon as we learned his “secret method”. We were assured in the ad that “there is no charge for this information.” I guess we skipped over the part about the “money back guarantee.” In any case, I (and apparently a lot of others) sent off for this “free” information only to find out that the cost was $15. (Apparently someone took umbrage at this slight of hand as Eric Fare, aka Eric McNair, got into trouble with the U. S. Post Office and agreed to stop making certain claims in his ad).


I agonized for weeks and finally decided that by using my only method of raising capital (mowing lawns at 50 cents a piece) it would take me a long time to come up with $15. After a while I received a second letter from Eric explaining that some folks had returned his “information and lure” and that these slightly used packages could be had for $7.50. Still too much for my budget.
 
Not too long ago on the Internet, someone found and put up for sale a complete Eric Fare kit in its original mailing tube. Curiosity got the best of me and I bought it. Now, only 53 years later, I was going to find out the "secrets" that had eluded me as a 14 year old. I must admit that the 24 page document was interesting, but it simply described (in almost tedious detail) the old time method of “skittering” for bass with a 15 ft cane pole rigged with 12 inches of line and using the “arrowhead" type spinner that was included in the kit. My immediate thought upon reading all of this was, "how much fun can it be landing a lunker bass in a 15 foot cane pole with 12 inched of line between the end of the pole and the lure?" My friend Clyde Drury in his lifetime work Books of the Black Bass has some interesting comments on Eric Fare and his "secret" method, but the one I like best is, “A good friend of mine once said that this method is as effective as a stick of dynamite, but it is also just as sporting.”

The following photos, courtesy of Jerry Cheek, show the Eric Fare kit in its complete form -- a mimeograph booklet and a pair of skittering spoons.





-- Bill Sonnett

6 comments:

AnglersDen said...

is there any value to this Eric Fare kit. I have and original as seen in your photos above. the set and paperwork are in mint condition.
Thanks!

john mckean said...

Is it possible for anyone to make available a copy of Fare's text? I,too, was a penniless youngster of the 60s who loved that ad,but couldn't afford the method.If a copy is available (for pennies,now that I finally have some!), I'm at memck487@aol.com Thanks,JOHN

Richard Collins said...

I just cleaned out grandads barn and found this kit minus the skitter spoons in origional and very good condition. ..he did have quite a pitch, and a lot of anglers are using a form of his SECRET to catch bass today...buzz baits and high powered motors with super quiet trooling motors replacing thw wood boat and quiet approach, got to hand it to the guy even tho he got hit on the false advertisment...at 15 $ in 1960 and slick enough to sell them..that was a load of money then....but cool to own one..maybe ill have to try the cane polw thing...or not...but true history

Richard Collins said...

I just cleaned out grandads barn and found this kit minus the skitter spoons in origional and very good condition. ..he did have quite a pitch, and a lot of anglers are using a form of his SECRET to catch bass today...buzz baits and high powered motors with super quiet trooling motors replacing thw wood boat and quiet approach, got to hand it to the guy even tho he got hit on the false advertisment...at 15 $ in 1960 and slick enough to sell them..that was a load of money then....but cool to own one..maybe ill have to try the cane polw thing...or not...but true history

Geoff Glapa said...

how much is it worth I have one with paper work

DeadMensFingers said...

I remember those ads, from Eric M/R/S/? Fare --- I wondered why the middle initial kept changing. They were really great at teasing the reader, and filling him with curiosity.
IIRC, the "free information" mentioned that the only additional equipment you might need is some green shutter paint. Curiouser and curiouser.
I sent a letter to the editor of the magazine, and got a reply to the effect that he knew nothing at all about the "secret method", but since there was a money back guarantee, I would not be at risk.
Glad to learn that I wisely did not respond to the "free information" by shelling out my savings.