Saturday, March 31, 2012

Deconstructing Old Ads: Jason Lucas' Tackle Box (1948)

Jason Lucas' Tackle Box

Back in 1956 when I first started to receive Sports Afield Magazine I was immediately so impressed by the writings of angling editor Jason Lucas that I soon became part of what Clyde Drury has described as “…a following that bordered on being a cult and I was one of that group….”. Clyde, myself and countless others were not only impressed with his opinionated writings but also the much-published photo of Jason surveying his huge, open tackle box attempting to decide what plug to use. For some reason this photo stuck in the minds of many who saw it. As a fishing-crazy teenager I lusted to have a similar gargantuan tackle box filled to capacity. At that time I did not know who made Jason's tackle box or that the photo had been taken on Lake Mead in 1948.

In the April 1947 issue of Sports Afield Magazine I recently ran across the following ad for the very box that Jason used. The Dickson-Clawson “Fisherman's Chest Deluxe”. It was priced at $29.50, a substantial sum in 1947. The ones I see today on eBay and occasionally at antique tackle shows are usually priced in the hundreds of dollars.

The first tackle box I purchased in 1955 was a shoe-box sized “My Buddy” which was followed in 1957 by a 4-tray “Grip-Loc” that I used for 40 years. I still think it is one of the greatest metal tackle boxes ever made as it is nearly impossible for it to open accidentally while being carried, a common fault of many early metal offerings. A few years ago I purchased a large, 8-tray Umco that held a lot more and seemed really light until filled to capacity. The key word here is “capacity” as most fishermen know there has never been a tackle box that held quite enough to meet every imagined situation. I always feel the need for just a couple more empty lure compartments. At age 68, I have noticed that though it is only a 100 ft walk to the boat, my Umco seems to be getting heavier each season.
 In a weak moment a couple of years ago at the NFLCC National, I purchased the largest Umco I am aware of with ten enormous cantilevered trays with a hundred individual compartments and a cavernous bottom section large enough to hide a case of oranges. Here at last was a box that would satisfy all my imagined needs since that day long ago when I first laid my eyes on Jason Lucas' tackle box. As I began to fill it for the first time, it started to sink in that it may have taken too long in my life to arrive at this point. A few test lifts of the partially filled box brought home the sad truth. The thing was so heavy that it would take much of joy out of heading for the lake. Back to the 8-tray Umco.  Darn!

-- Bill Sonnett

1 comment:


Bill, what fishermen like us need is a large UMCO style tackle box with wheels and a lift up handle, not unlike the luggage most of us use nowadays.

I wonder why Plano or some other current tackle box maker doesn't make something like this for the older fishermen. I have bid on numerous occasions on UMCO "possum belly" tackle boxes, but soon have been outbid, and have always thought that I could fill that huge box with so much tackle that, as you say, it would be difficult to transport around.

Maybe some tackle box maker will read this and decide that a wheeled, collapseable handled tackle box has a market out there.

Regards from Texas,

El Fisho