Saturday, August 27, 2011

Deconstructing Old Ads: The Better Bass-Oreno (1934)

The Better Bass-Oreno
From the pages of the 1934 “Fishing Annual” comes this full page advertisement for the “Better Bass-Oreno”. This “Fishing Annual” is the first Fishing Annual from the publishers of Sports Afield. Many more were to follow up through the 1980s.

With this ad we once again fine ourselves in the depths of the 'Great Depression' and it seems that tackle companies were working overtime trying to come up with new ideas that would kick start sales during those toughest of times. Many “new” lures and reels made there way onto the market during this period. There were a few winners, such as Heddon's River Runt Spook, but there were many more lures and reels that are among the rarest to be found today. Money being extremely tight, the average person was far more concerned with feeding their family than taking a flyer on new fishing tackle

With the Bass-Oreno, South Bend already had one of the all time “winners” in their line of products. The idea was to take a “winner” and make it even better. The ad does a good job of explaining the make up of the Better Bass-Oreno with the aluminum plate in the middle. The selling points were stronger hook attachment and more uniform action from one bait to the next. This problem of uniform action always plagued wooden baits. Jason Lucas discussed it briefly in the second edition of Lucas on Bass. No two pieces of wood are exactly the same and consequently, two wooden lures of the same model are seldom identical in the water. As a result of my experiments with older lures, I can say the the Bass-Oreno and its smaller brother the Babe-Oreno suffer badly in this department. A problem that arises with these “Better” Orenos is that it is nearly impossible to replace a broken hook. The Better Bass-Oreno and Better Babe-Oreno were around until all South Bend tackle production stopped in 1942. Like Most tackle companies, South Bend turned to war production for the duration of World War Two. The Better Bass-Oreno and the Better Babe-Oreno were not revived after the War.

-- Bill Sonnett

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