A compilation of the work of Elwood "Buck" Perry, father of structure fishing.  Photo Terry Battisti.

If you haven’t heard of Buck Perry, you’re either very new to the sport or you just don’t read – to which you’re probably not reading this and therefore, that comment won’t offend you. For those of you who have heard of him, though, you know he is credited with being one of the forefathers of modern bass fishing and especially credited with the way we all approach deep-water structure fishing. In today’s video post, Elwood “Buck” Perry 1974, we’re going to look at some of Perry’s ads and media from 1965 through the ‘70s and discuss some of his early work.

It’s not my intent to start an argument in regards to who it was that first began to venture away from the shoreline and probe the depths for bass. What is certain is Perry was one of the first pioneers of structure fishing – he actually coined the phrase. Stories of him wrecking bass on fished-out waters throughout the United States can easily be found by doing a simple search of his name in whatever Internet search engine you prefer.

A few days ago, I was going through an old set of Fishing Facts magazines and ran into this ad featuring Buck Perry and his book, “Spoonplugging – Your Guide to Lunker Catches.” What I found intriguing about the ad is its headline, “The Great Majority of Fishermen are not interested in this ad… BUT If you believe that fishing should be something more than a lifetime of frustration and a lack of success, this may interest you.”

This ad is from 1974 and was placed in Fishing Facts magazine. That’s six years after Ray Scott started the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society and Bassmaster Magazine. It was also 11 years after the start of Fishing News – the precursor to Fishing Facts – both of which published numerous articles instructing anglers to venture away from the shoreline cover and fish deeper structure. Perry was also a frequent contributor as well as a topic constantly covered in both publications.

In the ad, it talks about Perry’s original booklet, “Spoonplugging For Freshwater Bass And All Gamefish.” The author of the ad introduces Perry as, “the greatest living fisherman.”

The author continues on to talk about how much it costs to hire a guide for a day and to compare that to the price of the book, which was $9.90, plus 40¢ for wrapping and shipping. WI residents must add another 40¢ for state sales tax, no ups no downs no extras. Does it seem like a hard sell? Maybe.

Elwood "Buck" Perry, the father of structure fishing, holds a sting of big bass in this ad about his book, Spoonplugging - Your Guide to Lunker Catches. Image from 1974 Fishing Facts magazine.

What grabs me the most is why they would have had to push people that hard to sell the book. In my eyes, even back in 1974, I wanted to read anything that had to do with learning more about bass, their habits and where to catch them. You don’t need to make me feel incapable or inept – I already feel that way most of the time – to buy something that’s going to elevate my knowledge and hopefully increase the odds of catching more bass.

A few pages past the ad is another ad for Northwoods Tackle, Fishing Facts tackle store, featuring all of Perry’s Spoonplugs and several colors. These ads prompted me to get out my Spoonplugging books and pamphlets and take a look at the, I’d hadn’t read them for some time and glancing through the pages really brought back some memories.

It also sparked the thought of a recent conversation I had with Rhodney Honeycutt about Buck and his methods It was always my thought and understanding that Perry only trolled. I asked Honeycutt about this when we met a few weeks ago and he straightened me out on that. Evidently if Perry found a concentration of fish, by catching more than one on the same path over a point, for example, he’d anchor on the point and begin throwing his spoonplugs to the area. But, Honeycutt said, “he’d only use spoonplugs. He wouldn’t use other baits like plastic worms, spoons or jigs.”

In the next few months, we’ll bring you a review of Perry’s books, many of which are still available for purchase at his website, and shed some light on just how forward thinking he was. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the video and the look back on Buck Perry, the father of structure fishing.