Fred Arbogast Ad 1 May 1949 Sports Afield

By 1949, Fred Arbogast had been making fishing lures for 26 years, starting out with the Spin-Tail-Kicker and the Tin Liz in 1923 and 1928 respectively.  Today in Fred Arbogast 1949, we’re going to look at two different Fred Arbogast ads from 1949, one featuring one of his most popular baits of all time.

About a week ago we posted a piece titled Bass Lures 1945 that featured an amazing ad covering a Jitterbug.  That ad was in black and white but the bait itself was in color, and no less the color was the famous frog pattern Arbogast made.

That post garnered a lot of attention on the Internet, which has prompted me to write this second piece featuring another famous Fred Arbogast creation, the Hula Popper.  There are no two baits more important in bass fishing history than the Jitterbug and the Hula Popper.  These two baits were the gateway drugs to bass fishing for many youth.

As a young kid, I remember seeing them in magazines and at tackle stores.  They appeared comical in design, but I knew from reading articles in the magazines that they caught fish, which led me to want them even more.

In my dreams I could see myself on the shore of one of the golf course ponds I frequented.  I’d cast either a Jitterbug or a Hula Popper to the edge of the lily pads and begin a gurgling retrieve.  Without warning, the water would erupt, and I’d set the hook into a 3-pound golf course bass.

I’m positive that many kids my age had the same dreams, all because of these two prolific baits made by Fred Arbogast.

In the lead-in ad, we have the Hula Popper, in all its glory.  What makes this Hula Popper ad important is it’s one of the first ads featuring the 5/8-ounce bait.  There are earlier ads, for example, in Kevin Viden’s book, Fred Arbogast – A Biography of Akron’s Greatest Angler, he has two ads from 1948.

The original Hula Popper was released in 1940, but only in the 1/16th-ounce fly rod version.  It wasn’t until 1947 that the casting version was designed by Fred Arbogast and Brooke Ortell (Virden 2017).  Unfortunately, Fred Arbogast died in November of 1947 and the company didn’t release the new bait until 1948.

Reading the ad, you’ll see that the angler, Toby Shopper, caught this string of seven bass in December 1948, the year of release.  The ad also shows the price, $1.21 each and lists the available colors as Red Head, Frog, Black, Yellow, Pearl, and Luminous.  Extra skirts were also available for 17¢ each.  The company also remind the reader that the 1/16-ounce Hula Popper was also available at 75¢ each.

The next ad came from the October 1949 issue of Sports Afield.  It featured the No. 2 Hawaiian Wiggler and with it, an 8 3/4-pound bass taken by Walter Loyd of Arkansas.  Mr. Loyd writes that a lot of big bass have been taken that year at Storm Creek Lake and most of them had succumbed to the No. 2 Wiggler due to its weedless characteristics.

Fred Arbogast Ad October 1949 Sports Afield

The Wiggler was sold for $1.21 and for 28¢ each you could get extra skirts.  In today’s money what equates to $15.29 for the Wiggler (and Hula Popper), and $3.54 for the skirt!  When I worked at the tackle shop from 1978 to 1988 we sold the exact same skirt for 25¢ each.  Today they still cost about the same.

Thank you for taking some time out of your day to read this posts about one of the greatest anglers, casters, and bait designers of all time.  If you’re interested in reading more about Fred Arbogast and his baits, click on this link.