Today’s historical photo, and Friday Finale, is a brief story about where one of the most familiar and popular bassin’ knots of all time came from, and the person who developed it. As such, you likely won’t recognize the person in this 1971 picture, but the name might ring a bell: Chester J. “Chet” Palomar.
A little about Chet. He was married in 1929, active with the Boy Scouts of America via the John P. Evans store in Pomona, CA, “Official Scout Headquarters” (1939-1941). He became a juvenile officer in 1941 and served with the police department 3 years. He joined the local fire department full time beginning in 1944, where he ascended through the ranks until his retirement in 1963.
But how does all that relate to a fishing knot?
Back in the sport show days, you might recall seeing reps from the big line companies, Berkley (Trilene) and DuPont (Stren), who would often have booths set up challenging you to try and tie your best knot and beat their tried and proven ones head-to-head on a line testing machine. As it turns out, at a Fred Hall Show back in 1971, Mr. Palomar did just that, and probably surprised the line rep at the same time.
DuPont quickly adopted the “Palomar Knot” as one of its best knots, and you can find lots of newspaper stories and releases dating back to 1971 touting the knot and its inventor. It made the sports section of newspapers nationwide.
In a 1976 Minnesota Star Tribune story, Fred Greenwood, master knot tyer for DuPont, had his job described as, “flits about the country trying to improve our knot-tying skills and knowledge about the idiosyncrasies of monofilament.” He stated, “Palomar never got any money for his invention, but then he never has to buy fishing line anymore. We keep him supplied.”
The lead-in image was taken from the Pomona Progress Bulletin, March 11, 1971, right after the Fred Hall Show and all of the hype of the new knot. The sidebar image came from the 1972 Garcia Fishing Annual, which was mentioned in the article above. I just happened to have that issue of the Garcia Fishing Annual and scanned it for all to see.