1968 Daiwa ad featuring their 7250RL and 7500H spinning reels.

Today’s post, Hot Lures for 1968, we’re taking a look back 54 years in order to get an idea of some of the products that manufacturers were offering anglers at the time.  Looking back at these old ads gives insight on a couple of fronts.  First, it’ll give you an idea of how far bass tackle has advanced in half a century, and other times it’ll show you how we haven’t advanced.

Another thing these old ads reveal, is just how many baits these companies used to produce before being bought out by the mega conglomerates we have today.  For example, Creek Chub has nearly their entire line of baits in the ad below.  But go to Lurenet (PRADCO) today and all you’ll find is the Jointed Pike Minnow.

Daiwa – Daiwa came out with one of the first skirted spool spinning reels in the early 70s, and that engineering breakthrough was a game changer in spinning reel technology. Before that, all spinning reels, like the Daiwa reels shown in this ad, had spools that fit inside the spool housing. If you’re too young to remember reels like these, you’re lucky.

Line control on the spool was an absolute must due to the fact any loops and/or loose line on the spool would invariably make its way between the pipe-cleaner on the spool and the spool housing. Once this happened, the line would wrap around the spool shaft and you’d soon find yourself in a mess.

In any event, Daiwa’s ultralight freshwater 7250RL reel shown in the ad was featured with many state-of-the-art functions for the time. A quick release spool allowed the angler to change line fast or move to a different pound test with the push of a button. The reel also allowed the angler to switch from left- to right-hand retrieve with a coin. It also came with an aluminum spool, something that many manufacturers of the day did not offer.  This was a major change in reel design as many manufacturers (such as ABU and Mitchell) of the time made their spools of hard plastic, which had a tendency to break if the line was packed too tight or dropped. Even with these features, Daiwa wouldn’t become a major entity in the U.S. market until they came out with the first skirted spool.

Burke – We’ve written a lot about Burke here at the Bass Fishing Archives over the last year.  We even posted their 1968 full-color catalog a few months back.

Burke was known for their off-the-wall designs and soft hardbaits, and they wouldn’t let anglers in 1968 down with at least one more crazy idea. That design was put forth in a worm called the chain worm. Constructed of the standard PVC plastic that all worm manufacturers were using, which tears, Burke decided to design an indestructible plastic worm by stringing a chain through the bait, complete with rigged hooks. I’ve seen these worms and have had a chance to play with them and can understand why they didn’t become the next sensation in worm fishing.

1968 Burke ad featuring the Chain Worm and Top Dog surface lure.

The chain created a bait that had the action of a 2×4. You needed no weight with this gem as the chain and other metal paraphernalia made sure it got to the bottom fast. Once on lake floor, the entire worm laid there with exposed hooks to snag anything within the length of a hook gap. The worm was better suited as a plug knocker or even a snag to retrieve an overboard rod and reel.

By the looks of the Top Dog flexible topwater, I’d bet a good amount of money that the designers at Burke stole this concept from the old casting plugs you’d see. To me, it looks like a painted casting plug with hooks, great for popping that kiddie pool you used to practice in or for snagging cats.


Creek Chub – You have baits that make you scratch your head and then you have baits that are proven fish catchers. Creek Chub was one of those companies that made lures that caught fish. One of the original U.S. plug manufacturers, their ad here from 1968 revealed a good number of their lineup. Of course, there was the Pikie Minnow in two sizes and the injured minnow prop bait. The other bait I’ve always had an infatuation with was the Ding Bat, probably because I was an All In The Family fan.

Another thing that gets my attention with the ad, though, isn’t the baits but where they were manufactured – Garrett, Indiana. This has always intrigued me because most of the lure manufacturers of the time – Heddon, Creme, Hildebrandt, etc – were manufactured in the Midwest. I’ve always wondered why the bulk of the manufacturers weren’t based out of the south, where anglers could catch bass year round. Maybe it was because the anglers of the north had cabin fever and in order to do something with respect to fishing, they designed lures? It’s just a guess.

1968 Creek Chub Bait Company ad featuring a number of their hardbait offerings.


DeLong Lures – Last week we posted a 1960 DeLong Lures catalog.  Well, here’s an ad from 1968.  DeLong, like Creek Chub above, was another northern lure manufacturer – of Cleveland, OH. From my research, DeLong was the second contemporary plastic worm manufacturer, second to Creme.  There’s a long running argument that DeLong was first, 1946 compared to Creme’s 1949, but until I can find some proof of this, I’m sticking with Nick and Cosma.

What I like about this ad is they’re touting their new “smaller” 6-inch Junior Witch. It’s amazing to compare this small bait to what we call small these days.  Like the Burke Chain Worm above, the Witch came pre-rigged with two hooks. At least the DeLong Lures Company put weedless hooks on the bait in order to help prevent snags. Also, instead of using anchor chain as the connecting mechanism, they used 30-pound test Dacron line.

12968 DeLong Lures ad featuring the 8-inch Witch and the 6-inch Jr. Witch.

DeLong also incorporated the standard mud-tire tread design of the day. I can’t make too much fun of DeLong, as I know of many fish caught on the bait and it was also a favorite of “Lunker” Bill Murphy. If they were good enough for him, that holds a lot of weight in my book.


FlipTail – Of the three worm ads picked from 1968, this one, FlipTail, is probably still the most recognized of them all. Produced by Stembridge Products Inc., they are the lone U.S. manufacture in this string of ads that was not from the north. FlipTail’s ads can be seen from the early 60s and by the late 60s and early 70s they weren’t just placing ads in magazines, writers were writing about the exploits of tournament anglers in the same magazines.  Sales volume wise, FlipTail was as big as Creme.

In this ad, FlipTail was advertising the fact that they offered both unrigged and rigged worms along with four different sizes from 6-inches up to 9 1/4-inches in length.  Standard worm sizes for the day.  After being closed for some 20-plus years, FlipTail reopened their doors and started reproducing their famous worms and lizards about 5 years ago.  Go check out their website for a good dose of nostalgia.  If you’re like me, you’ll buy some just to relive your childhood.

1968 FlipTail Lures ad.


Heddon – Here’s one, if not the first, major manufacturer of bass lures, James Heddon’s Sons of Dowagiac, MI. Everyone knows of the Heddons and the impact they had on the bass world but how many know of this bait, the Tiger? I have to admit, I knew of the Cobra minnow lures, but I’d never heard of Tiger, but with good cause. The lures were originally made from 1967 through 1971 and then again in 1980.  If you’d like to read more about the bait, click here and here for a pretty thorough history of the lure.


1968 James Heddon's Son ad featuring the Tiger minnow lure.