Back in March we posted a 1953 catalog of Bomber Baits, the oldest I’ve ever seen. That catalog was eight pages in length and filled with Bomber’s offerings for that year. These baits included the Original Bomber in sizes 300, 400, 500, and 600, as well as the Baby Bomber in size 200. Other designs included the Bomberette and Midget Bomberette, Top Bomber, Knot Head, and Gimmick. Today we’re presenting another look into Bomber’s history with Bomber Baits 1971 Catalog.
The 1971 catalog itself is the same as the 1953 catalog in format. Printed on 17-inch by 11-inch paper, the catalog was folded down the middle of the 17-inch length to produce an 8-1/2-inch by 11-inch document. For mailing, the catalog was then folded once more on the 11-inch side to produce the 5-1/2-inch by 8-1/2-inch mailer.
By 1971, Bomber had stopped producing their baits out of wood and this was the first year their entire lineup was manufactured from plastic. They had also increased their inventory of baits from five styles to 12.
The catalog starts off with the same introduction as the 1953 catalog. On the second and third pages they presented the original Bomber in sizes 200 through 600. Not much had changed here except for the addition of the Bomber 600 Heavy Duty, which sported heavier hooks and hardware. There were also several new colors compared to the 1953 catalog, 15 to be exact. Of those 15, three new Silver Flash colors were added to the lineup for 1971.
The next two pages presented the Bomber Speed Shad. I’m not too certain when this bait was first introduced, but I have a feeling it was produced to compete with Storm’s Thin Fin, which was selling at a brisk pace. The Speed Shad came in 20 colors and was produced through the 80s before it was discontinued after the acquisition by PRADCO. This upset a lot of anglers on the east coast, specifically those anglers who fished Kerr Lake on the North Carolina/Virginia boarder. To this day, anglers fishing Kerr seek out the original Speed Shad and only pull them out for this lake.
Page five of the catalog features the Bomber Water Dog, Bomber’s direct competition with fellow Texas bait manufacturer Whopper Stopper and their Hellbender. The Water Dog was introduced sometime in the mid- to late-1950s and by 1971 came in 18 different colors and three sizes, 1/4-, 1/2-, and 5/8-ounce.
Another bait that had been added since the 1953 catalog was presented on page 6, the Bomber Bushwhacker. By the early 1970s, the spinnerbait had finally matured and companies worth their salt were producing the safety-pin-style bait. The Bushwhacker was offered in three styles; a Single Spin, Tandem Spin as well as a Twin Spin. Sizes for the Twin Spin and the Tandem Spin were 1/4-, and 1/2-ounce, where the Single Spin was also offered in a 3/4-ounce size.
The Bushwhacker was offered in nine head colors as well as two skirt options – vinyl and hand tied feathers. The vinyl skirts were added to the head in a straight fashion, not the reversed manner which would take hold a few years later. The hand tied spinnerbaits combined hackles wound around the color of the head with more hackles trailing off the hook.
Page seven of the catalog featured two different baits, the Gimmick and the Midget Bomberette. Both of these baits were present in the 1953 catalog but there was a glaring omission regarding the Bomberette. In the 1953 catalog, the Bomberette was offered in three sizes, 1/4-, 3/8-, and 1/2-ounce. By 1971, the heavier Bomberettes were no longer in the catalog and only the Midget version appeared.
The next two pages didn’t offer baits but a new color variation for a number of the bait styles Bomber offered. This new color was their Metascale finish. Other than the fact it appears the finish was a metal plating of some sort, Bomber didn’t go into any detail of how the finish was applied. The new Metascale finish added 10 new colors to the Original Bomber, Spinstick and Stick, as well as the Water Dog. The Slab Spoon received 11 new colors.
Next in the lineup is the Bomber Gumpy Jig, which was offered in two styles – tied with bucktail or nylon. The hair or nylon was molded into the head somehow which makes me wonder if the head was made out of a plastic as lead would melt the materials if poured in the conventional way. The jig came in four sizes and seven colors as well as a double rig called the Gumpy Jig Rig.
Page 11 featured Bomber’s 1971 lineup of topwater baits. Gone was the Top Bomber of the 1953 catalog. Instead, Bomber was now touting the Spinstick and Stick. An interesting offering on this page was the 7200-series Spinstick. This bait was a slow-sinking double-spinning bait, much like today’s Spybaits. The 7200 is a slimmed-down version of the Heddon 100 and 150 produced in the early 20th Century, was 2-1/2-inches in length and weighed 1/4-ounce.
The 7300 series was a floating dual spin topwater bait, much like the Smithwick Devils Horse and was most likely designed to compete with that bait. The 7400 series was built off the 7300 series body but was absent of props. This bait also featured two small beads on the tail to provide weight in the rear. It resembled the Smithwick Devils Warhorse in many ways.
The next page in the catalog featured two baits, the Bomber Jerk Bait and the famous Bomber Jig. The Jerk Bait is interesting in that Bomber describes the bait as being made from wood with a durable plastic finish. Since it’s been stated that Bomber had gone to all plastic in 1971, I wonder if this was a typo or they actually did have wood in this bait.
The Bomber Jig seen below the Jerk Bait was a huge seller for the company. The bait targeted the saltwater angler and came in four sizes from 1/2- to 1-ounce and a dozen colors. At the tackle shop I grew up in we’d go through cases of these baits every season – sold to anglers fishing the bays and offshore. It came with a heavy cadmium plated hooks and its own case to keep the nylon clean and tangle free.
The last lure in the catalog was the ever-famous Bomber Slab Spoon. Offered in three sizes; 5/8-, 7/8-, and 1-1/4-ounce, many a bass and saltwater fish has succumbed to this chunk of lead over the years. The finish on these lures was unbelievably durable and as plain as they were, they produced.
The final pages in the catalog featured some pictures of catches made with Bomber lures as well as a page-and-a-half dedicated to their Bomber Sports Lube. That was a new one on me.
Coming in the next few months we’re going to do a deep dive into Bomber History with one of the leading Bomber experts, Blake Taylor. Blake saw our post of the 1953 Catalog and contacted us. After a few conversations, Blake offered to scan his full collection of Bomber catalogs and allow us to post them here for all to see. Blake also offered to give us a thorough historical background of the company and the many changes it went through over time.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look back into Bomber history and will stick around for more. For a look at the full catalog, please click on the first pictures below to open the gallery.