I was looking through a bunch of old magazines this past weekend and a number of pictures caught my attention for future pieces. But the picture you see here really garnered my attention, so much so that I had to sit down at the computer and write a quick piece on the subject.
The subject of this article is old bass boats. But there’s also a spinoff subject by the name of Jason Lucas. For those of you that don’t know, Lucas is credited first with modernizing, advancing and promoting bass fishing, the first person to really do it since Dr. James Henshall wrote his book, Book of the Black Bass in 1881. Lucas wrote his book, Lucas on Bass Fishing in 1947 and it was reprinted twice after that in 1949 and 1962. He was also the fishing editor for Sports Afield magazine from 1945 to 1969.
Of course there were other writers who wrote about bass fishing, either in book form or in periodicals, but none had the following, respect or credibility Lucas had.
Now that I’ve laid the scene, let’s take a look at Lucas’ bass boat, circa 1956.
The boat itself appears to be a wooden skiff, maybe 14-feet long with three seats that gunwale to gunwale. His trolling motor is a pair of oars and main power is a tiller steer outboard, unknown horsepower. Not much different than skiff of today other than the fact it’s not aluminum.
On the floor between the aft and middle seat there looks to be a door mat, I assume to keep the noise down. The rear seat has a seat cushion, life vest, net and four rod tubes that extend to the middle seat. The starboard side of the boat, between the aft and middle seats you can see an anchor winch.
On the middle seat there’s a casting rod and reel, fly rod and reel, spinning rod and reel and a spincast reel without a rod. Also on the seat is a flash light and a couple things I can’t make out.
Between the middle and forward seats is what we’re all probably most interested in, though. It’s Lucas’ tacklebox. A wooden box of hip-roof design with ten foldout trays filled with his lures. I wish the picture was in color so we could see better and maybe identify exactly what he was fishing with. In any event, to the collector, what ever was in the box would be worth a mint, just because it was Lucas’ box.
On the front seat we see what is unmistakably a Zebco DeLiar scale, or maybe it predecessor, a pair of hemostats and a couple other things I can’t make out again.
Overall the boat is neat, the tackle is within grasp and other than having to sit all day, looks like it would be too bad to fish out of, unless the wind was blowing. It’s a really cool look back at how the top angler of 1956 outfitted his boat.
I have a ton more on Jason Lucas that we’ll be covering in the near future. Until then, we can sit and admire how he put bass on the radar back in the 40s and 50s using this rig.