I wanted to follow-up more on the earliest In-Fisherman magazines, as I’ve become a bit obsessed lately with this period in bass fishing history. In Monday’s piece about the first In-Fisherman magazine ever published, I mentioned their initial trumpeting of being a magazine not beholden to advertisers, as there were none in those early issues. That initial concept lasted less than a year though. In the May 1976 edition, In-Fisherman’s first ads appeared in the magazine. However, Al didn’t refer to them as such in his opening editorial.
Here’s a quote to set the stage from that piece:
“But we’re not content to publish known material. The staff and I have countless questions about fish and fishing that are begging to be answered – questions which if answered even in part, would have a tremendous impact on fishing tomorrow.”
This mindset is what set the stage for In-Fisherman becoming the leading angling magazine in all matters of cutting-edge technology, techniques, and research. Even today, when I browse through my IF magazines from as recent as the 1990s, it is amazing to me the content and concepts they were still breaking ground with on a variety of subject matter.
Anyway, they didn’t call them “ads”, so what was the deal? Here’s Al again.
“Unfortunately, the extra 2,000 to 3,000 new members which we hoped would join – above and beyond the normal inflow – didn’t materialize. So what do we do now? Forget about the research? NO!
“I feel that these research projects are much too important, so I chose a different route. The first thing I did was take myself off salary – I did this some months ago and I’m eating off my endorsements, seminars and outside writings. Next, I was convinced that there were some firms whose track records indicated that they would be interested in helping fund a type of service program – companies who would finance these projects as “Friends of Sportfishing Research.”
These friendly companies were referred to as “co-op patrons” as opposed to advertisers, and there were 5 of them. Can you guess who they might have been? It’s a pretty varied group including two tackle manufacturers, one early pioneer in the graphite rod business, one of the best known (yet little known) trolling motor companies on the B.A.S.S. circuit at the time, and an electronics manufacturer who was years ahead of the multi-probe devices to follow.
There are more posts to come related to offshoots of In-Fisherman from this time period, but for now, here are the 5 companies and their respective “ads” in In-Fisherman magazine.