Whistling Down Memory Lane
I was looking through a April 1948 issue of Field and Stream the other day looking for an ad for a fellow researcher when I saw this advertisement for the Jamison Whistling Bobber.
I've seen these at shows but never owned one or understood how they worked. When I mentioned this ad to my “Long-Time Fishing Apprentice” Warren Platt, he immediately told me that he had one as a boy. I could tell by his tone that he had a lot of fun with it. While telling me about it, he mentioned that as the bobber is pulled under, rising water moves up the main shaft forcing air through a whistle at the top. Rather than try to retell Warren's story, I asked him to write it up for us and it is presented here for your enjoyment.
“In 1949 as a young lad of 10 years I was in recovery from a broken home. My Mother, younger sister and I had just moved from our family farm outside of Ash Flat , Arkansas. We left behind, my Father and my older brother. We were going to live with my Grandmother near Kansas City, Missouri.
Being without my brother made happy times hard to come by, but luckily there was a small fishing creek nearby that within a mile emptied into the Missouri River. When the Missouri was at high water levels many bullheads, carp, and some kind of shad that grew to nearly a foot in length were easy pickings for a lad with a can full of worms and pie crust dough balls made by Granny.
With a telescopic tubular metal fishing rod and an Ocean City Bakelite reel, I was pretty well equipped. Also, I had somehow talked Granny into buying me a fishing bobber that I’d been eying for some time at the Firestone store. It was called the “Jamison Whistling Bobber”, and what a beauty it was, bright red and white, with hole, whistle, air chamber, and no telling what else on it. After bathtub testing it was judged to be at the cutting edge of modern scientific fishing technology!
The first test for the bobber proved to be a great success. From the first cast (pulling line off the reel and hand throwing it into the creek) great fun was achieved. At first just hearing the faint whistle as the bobber started sinking when the bullhead headed down with the fat worm in his mouth was quite a thrill. Then I’d close my eyes and set the hook as the whistle begin singing. Later I would turn my back until alerted by the whistle of the wonderful “Jamison Whistling Bobber”, then turn to do battle with the foolish fish that would dare try making off with my bait.
That simple fishing trip has always been saved in this lads memory.”
Wild Bill Sonnett