Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Voices from the Past: Charles A. Singler (1914)

Bill Sonnett sent this in to me and thought it was delightful. It comes from Outer's Book March, 1914.

Boast of the Black Bass

by Charles A. Singler

I am the Bass, the big black bass!
The king of swamp and cool morass!
The city sends it hordes of men
To drag me from the reed-swept den.

With silken line and weedless hook
They strive to lure me from my nook.
A chunk of pork with crimson flag,
Or hook transfixed through scented bag.

Perhaps a dummy fish they take,
And then proceed to drag the lake.
Why needs this "fish" of hooks a mass
To capture but a single bass?

A rubber nipple some will use
And some a baby frog abuse,
While others yet will use a worm
Methinks 'tis but to see it squirm

With chicken-down and fluted spoon
Some chumps will troll; some like the moon
To woo me from my lilied lair,
While others swear by badger hair.

Of foolish men from city streets,
Who haunt the reedy bogs in fleets.
Though other species, biting, pass
To death, you cannot fool the bass.

Monday, January 30, 2012

News of the Week: 30 January 2012

Don't have time to read 50+ fishing and tackle collecting blogs and web sites? Well, let us do it for you! Follow all of the latest news, articles, and stories on our Whitefishpress Twitter account! Hint: You don't need to be a member...just bookmark the Twitter Feed Page or click on latest links to the right!

Jeremy Wade is profiled…a new record Yellowfin Tuna…another week, another 'Bama rig…lead debate reaches Iowa house floor next week…how to unhook a pelican…fixing Lake Winnipeg's fisheries…fishing tackle parties are the latest rage…the Virgin Mermaid…man creates exotic fish sculptures…fly fishing for musky…burglary forces closure of tackle shop…the Bachelor TV show goes fly fishing…it must be THE NEWS OF THE WEEK!

The Big Lead: Jeremy Wade of River Monsters fame recounts his search for the Wolf Fish.

Yellowfin Tuna may break the world record.

Another week, another Alabama Rig article…

Lead debate may reach floor of Iowa house or senate this week.

How to unhook a Pelican.

Minnesota, North Dakota work to fix Lake Winnipeg's fisheries.

Fishing tackle parties are the new rage!

Your Field & Stream Vintage Fishing Tackle of the Week winner is the Stream-Eze Virgin Mermaid.

Man creates exotic fish sculptures.

John Merwin on fly fishing for musky: what's new?

The Big Snake of bass rods.

Sad news from across the pond: burglary forces closure of tackle shop.

Finishing with a Flourish: The Bachelor TV show goes fly fishing. Really.

-- Dr. Todd

Sunday, January 29, 2012

1000 Words

1000 Words

One of the great classic actresses from Hollywood's Golden Era was Ava Gardner. Acclaimed as one of the most beautiful women in the world, she was also very talented, nominated for an Academy Award in 1953. Here she is in a 1940s publicity still with a saltwater casting rig.

-- Dr. Todd

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Deconstructing Old Ads: The Heddon River Runt Spook Part II (1936)

The River Runt Spook is a BIG Success! Part 2

After a very subdued start in 1933 --- it was not mentioned in the "New Products for 1933" notice to dealers and only obscurley mentioned (with no illustration) in the 1933 catalog as "perfected as we went to press". It was obvious that the type of success that this bait was about to receive was wholly unexpected by the folks at Heddon. By 1934 it received some mention in the catalog and appeared in a few magazine ads. By 1935 It made the front cover of the catalog and building upon this success a new floating model as well as a jointed model were added.
The full page black & white ad presented here appeared in July of 1936 in Hunting & Fishing Magazine and illustrates that the River Runt was now considered to be the number one bait in the Heddon line.

 In 1939 full page color ads appeared such as this one on the back of the July 1939 issue of Sports Afield. Only one thing can account for this sudden and unexpected rise in popularity -- the darn thing caught fish like crazy.

 As a boy in 1957 I was about to go with my father and an adult friend on my first Canadian fishing trip when my next door neighbor  (a man that seemed old to me at the time but who in fact was 44) called me aside and told me he was going to lend me his best fishing lure for the trip. If I lost it to a big fish that was OK, but otherwise I was expected to return it to him when we returned home. It was a  Floating River Runt Spook in Yellow Shore Minnow pattern. I was assured that it was deadly on all fish. To make a long story short, I caught more fish on the trip with this bait than my father and his friend put together. After returning the bait to my neighbor, I could not wait to go down to the hardware store and buy one exactly like it. I was a "dyed in the wool" River Runt man for several years thereafter. I seldom use it today, as I prefer to fish "top water" but when asked what I caught my largest bass ever on, I still have to confess it was a Midget Digit River Runt in an Ohio farm pond in 1976.

-- Bill Sonnett

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Friday Funhouse

The Video of the Week

A stunning video about catch-and-release fly fishing…in Morocco?

11 Things I Would Buy And One I Would SMASH WITH A HAMMER

All Super Strike shrimp are very cool!

Instant Collection Alert: Snake skin lures by Dave Hodges and Sam Griffin.

A Leonard Bi-Metal is always a nifty find.

We haven't had a nice Bronson Invader on eBay in some time.

I like this Victory A54 Swedish free spool casting reel.

Wow. WOW. WOW!!!!! Heddon 700--the Big One.

This Chippewa is a great find.

Presented without comment.

Love this Tarpalunge!

A Thoren Minnow Chaser in the box is a great find.

This Shakespeare Punkinseed is a fine lure.

This H.J. Frost Senate Wooden Minnow is just superb.

As always, have a great and a safe weekend -- and be good to each other, and yourself.

-- Dr. Todd

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thursday Review: The Mystique of Ambassadeur: It's Unexplained Stories

This week in our Thursday Review we feature a book that was brought to my attention by Ambassadeur guru Fred Ribb--Simon Shimomura's The Mystique of Ambassadeur: It's Unexplained Stories. It's the third in a series of detailed works from this Ambassadeur expert.

Like all of Simon's books, this one is for the real Ambassadeur nut. It is very technical in places and sometimes delved into things of which I was fairly lost. But there are more than enough engaging stories to tide over the Ambassadeur novice like myself. I particularly enjoyed the little tidbits like learning the Ambassaduer 4500 (which I had when I was younger) came in two different spool sizes.

The book is a series of essays brought together between the covers of a book, and as this my favorite kind of tackle book, I was able to delve into it over the course of several weeks. I talked with Simon at the recent Milwaukee show and discovered him to be as open and engaging as his books are.

Shimomura is a very good writer and researcher and his newest book belongs on the shelf of anyone who considers themselves even a slight Ambassadeur fan.

It is available directly from the author. More information can be find by Clicking Here.

-- Dr. Todd

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

52 Trade Houses Part 43: Eckerd Drug Stores

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

Over the course of the next year, we'll be detailing the history of 52 companies that sold branded fishing tackle. 52 trade houses in 52 weeks -- some obscure, some famous, and all available exclusively here on the Fishing for History Blog! If you have any items from the week's entry you'd like to share with us, please send it my way and I'll make sure it makes it on the blog.

For a discussion of what exactly trade tackle is, Click Here. Enjoy the 52 for 52!

o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o - o

Trade House Tackle, Part 43:

Eckerd Drug Stores

The Fishing Tackle of Eckerd Drug Company

Today in 52 for 52 we feature a company that sold a ton of fishing tackle that I've never seen a marked piece of tackle from--even though I know they sold them. The company comes from one of my favorite categories of trade house tackle: drug stores.

The firm in question is the Eckerd Drug Store chain. It was founded in 1898 by J. Milton Eckerd and Z. Tatom in Erie, Pennsylvania. Like many apothecary shops, it was a one-stop shop for its customers, selling everything from aspirin to fish hooks.

Eckerd's Drugs expanded to Delaware in 1912. In the 1930s, under the leadership of son Jack Eckerd, the company expanded greatly, and after World War II they began to open shops all across Florida and later the South as a whole. At its height, Eckerd Drugs had 2800 stores in 20 states and did $13.1 billion in business. Yes--that's billion with a "B."

Jack Eckerd, the man behind the drug store.

Jack Eckerd's first new chain store in Jamestown, NY in 1937.

Typical 1950s Eckerd Drug in Columbia, SC.

If Eckerd always carried a little fishing tackle, it shocked the entire industry in 1973 when the firm went "all-in" in the tackle market. With 165 stores in just Florida alone, the company launched what it called the "Eckerd Tackle Center" in every store--a full 21-foot display chock full of tackle from top to bottom. It vaulted overnight Eckerd into one of the major players in the tackle field. In just a year, tackle sales were making up 2.5% of total revenue in Florida stores--which doesn't seem like much until you realize just how many kinds of items a store like this carried.

Eckerd's Tackle Center

They even offered a free booklet by the "Eckerd Angling Advisory Staff" to prospective buyers. Using the huge marketing machine behind the company, they advertised on tv, radio, and in newspapers and magazines. They also pushed tackle, particularly to tourists looking to buy a rig for saltwater fishing. One could argue by the mid-1970s no national chain was moving more saltwater tackle than Eckerd's Drugs.

Many Tackle Centers were near the coffee shop.

Their private label was the "Super" brand of tackle. As a 1973 article in The Fishing Tackle Trade News reported, "Eckerd's own private brand Super Rods, built to rigid specifications, are heavily advertised and guaranteed, 'If it breaks, Jack Eckerd Drugs will give you a new one.' So states the ad commercials. A Super Reel is now in the works."

Eckerd President Harry Roberts (right) inspect an Eckerd's Super Rod.

The company continued selling fishing tackle throughout the 1990s. In 1996, the chain merged with J.C. Penney, and all the Penney's brands (Thrift, Kerr, Fay's, and Rite Aid) were rebranded as Eckerd's Drug Stores. This gave the firm 2800 stores nationwide, making it the second largest drug store chain. In 2004, after losing a great deal of money, Penney's sold all East Coast Eckerd's to Jean Coutu Groups, while the remaining 1200 stores were sold to CVS Pharmacy and their name changed. in 2006, Rite Aid purchased Jean Coutu and rebranded all Eckerd stores, bringing an end to the 109-year old brand.

Although in the tackle business as a force for only about 25 years, Eckerd's sold a ton of fishing tackle and are worth remembering for their efforts to serve the American angler.

-- Dr. Todd

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ed Brown, the Rebel Collector

Ed emailed me yesterday about this article I somehow missed, and wanted to give it a separate post when I saw it. It is exemplary of how you can build and display a world-class collection and document a piece of our tackle history at the same time!

Check out Ed's collection which coincides with the 50th anniversary of Rebel lures by Clicking Here!

-- Dr. Todd

Monday, January 23, 2012

News of the Week: 23 January 2012

Don't have time to read 50+ fishing and tackle collecting blogs and web sites? Well, let us do it for you! Follow all of the latest news, articles, and stories on our Whitefishpress Twitter account! Hint: You don't need to be a member...just bookmark the Twitter Feed Page or click on latest links to the right!

The 'bama rig is still wreaking havoc…rodmaker Michael C. Daniels has passed away…a panel of pro anglers…four inductees into California Outdoors Hall-of-Fame include tackle rep…Kiwi man's catch is official world record…tackle makes antique collecting column…experimental film maker and avid angler Robert Nelson has passed away…build a rod this winter!…Horrocks-Ibbotson makes national news…the most offensive fish of all time?…it must be THE NEWS OF THE WEEK!

The Big Lead: The Alabama Rig is still causing controversy.

The Fish & Feather Expo is on!

Rodmaker and teacher Michael C. Daniels has passed away.

A panel of pro anglers offers life lessons and advice.

Four inductees into California Outdoors Hall of Fame.

Kiwi man's catch officially a World Record.

Tackle makes the antique collector column.

Experimental film maker and avid angler Robert Nelson, who's movie "The Awful Backlash" depicted 14-minutes of him untangling an awful backlash, has passed away at 81.

Build a rod this winter!

A little history of the Humpy Lure .

Field & Stream's vintage tackle winner this year is a Horrocks-Ibbotson!

Finishing With a Flourish: Is this the most http://media.egotvonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/fish.jpg?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

1000 Words

1000 Words

This week in 1000 Words we feature a two-for-one, with beautiful actress Irene Dunne and actor Melvyn Douglas. Dunne was the Meryl Streep of her day (or better put, Meryl Streep is the Irene Dunne of today), nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress no less than five times in an era loaded with great actresses. Although she never won, she is clearly in the pantheon of great Hollywood actresses.

Melvyn Douglas was a two-time Academy Award winning actor, and one of the screen's leading men for four decades. His award-winning performance as Ben Rand in the classic 1979 movie Being There is just one of his amazing performances.

Here the two of them pose for a publicity still for the 1936 movie Theodora Goes Wild, which was Dunne's first foray into comedy.

-- Dr. Todd

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Deconstructing Old Ads: The Heddon River Runt Spook Part I (1933)

The River Runt Spook (part 1)
The following advertisement is from the April 1933 issue of Outdoor Life. It is a small ad for the new family of "Fish Flesh" baits. As we have mentioned before in this column, the term "Fish Flesh" was dropped a couple of years later in favor of the name "Spook" (seen here in smaller print) for Heddon's transparent plastic line of baits.

 What is remarkable about this ad is that one has to look very carefully for any mention of the River Runt Spook. It is obvious that this was not the bait that they expected to become the best selling bait in their line. The "New Products for 1933" brochure that was sent out to dealers in the fall of 1932 makes no mention of the River Runt Spook among their line of new plastic lures. One must search hard in the 1933 Heddon catalog to find mention of the River Runt Spook and you will find no illustration of the lure there. There is a notice that the bait was "perfected as we went to press" but it is not given any sort of a promotional build up. Only the standard sinking model is available. 
One sees this occasionally in older ads where a company expected great things from a "new" lure and little success followed, but they were taken completely by surprise by the success of a lure they felt would be an "also ran." Seldom has any company been as wrong as in this case. The River Runt Spook was slow to catch on but as we will see next week when success did come it was beyond all expectations! 

-- Bill Sonnett

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Friday Funhouse

Video of the Week

This is a nifty collage of vintage Au Sable trout fishing.

12 Things I Would Buy If Only I Could Afford Them

Holy rare CCBC Beetles, Batman!

Even spelled incorrectly, this Arthur Kovalovsky reel is amazing.

LOVE this Musky Vamp in the box!

Liking this Horton Blue Grass #10 in the box!

Holy Moly this Bingo Bass is incredible.

This Fenwick FC 60 is super popular.

Walter Dingley was a true genius.

This is a great Expert Minnow .

Who wouldn't want a 1905 Vom Hofe catalog?

Robinson Darters are as rare as they are beautiful.

This is a very rare Doperr reel.

This Penn Spinfisher is from the estate of Otto Henze, the owner of Penn.

Have a wonderful weekend and be good to each other and yourself.

-- Dr. Todd