A while back (June 17, 2014) in Dr. Todd’s "Voices from The Past” column he commented about how in the early days of bait casting lures were considered a “novelty”. The following item illustrates that point in spades. I especially love the “done things to the bass” remark, as though there were some sort of witchcraft involved.
An article from the July 3rd, 1903 (Traverse City, Michigan) Evening Record, is very revealing of the fever that gripped the local fishing fraternity. The headline read, “CRAZE OVER BAIT CASTING – WAS INTRODUCED IN THE CITY BY F. W. CARVER. Now Everybody is After a Short Rod, an Easy Running Reel and a ‘Spinnerino.’ Traverse City fishermen have certainly got the bait casting craze, and F. W. Carver, more than any other is to blame for it. The thing that did it more than anything else was the first real killing that Mr. Carver made after his arrival here. He had been up during the summer before this year, and had ‘done things’ to the bass, but there were not so many people who knew it. But one day he did a little trick that set the people crazy. He went to a certain lake where once in a long while a black bass is caught. But the generally accepted idea has been that there were no bass in that lake, or at any rate but very few. Early in the week, shortly after the opening of the season for bass, F. W. Carver and brother, O. P., went to this lake. O. P. caught a few bass. But most of the time he was taking them off the hook for the Hoosier from Angola. They put back the little ones. In fact, they kept nothing under 12 inches long. But just the same, they brought back 30 fine black bass, and had the fish to show for it when they got to town. Then Bert Winnie heard about it. And Bert had to learn bait casting. Of course it did not take him long. And now Bert goes everywhere, up and down stream, pulling out from under the bush on the opposite side of the stream a big pickeral, and from underneath the log in the center of the stream a fine bass. It’s lots of fun for Bert, and amusement for the people who see how he does it, but cannot do it themselves. Even the little boys are taking it up. It is no rare thing now to see a boy trying the fancy shoots, and getting his line tangled just as nicely as the grown-ups. Meanwhile the sale of reels and short rods and long lines and phantom and North Channel minnows, Shakespeares, ‘spinnerinos’ of every description, in fact, goes merrily on. The dealers in fishing tackle are enjoying it, and the bass and pike do not seem to mind it much.”
— Gary L. Miller