When was the last time you referred to JC Penney as your “fishing headquarters?” You have to have been around the game an awfully long time to remember back when then major retail power houses like Sears and Penney’s had large sporting goods departments. This 1974 ad in The Anniston Star out of Anniston, Alabama, is a good example of what you could find at your local department store in the 60s and 70s.
The ad shown in the image above shows how serious the department stores took to selling fishing tackle. So much so they would even hire top anglers to put on seminars at their stores. In this particular ad, Penney’s featured a seminar appearance by Bass Fishing Hall of Fame inductee John Powell. The included bio is interesting, too, referring to John as “the champion of the John-boat crowd, hero of the bank pluggers and the leader of the ‘keep it simple’ fishing school.”
The ad features rods and reels from Zebco, Garcia and Mitchell, a trolling motor from Jetco known as the “electra pal,” and mentions lure companies Creme, Stren, Rebel, Mann’s, Cordell and Heddon.
Another department store that was big in the fishing arena back in the day was the Boston Store. It was here in December 1963 a tackle salesman, Bill Binkelman, started a publication called Fishing News. In five years that humble newspaper would grow into Fishing Facts and by 1970 the newspaper would become a full blown magazine, one of the best ever in print.