Jason Lucas displays a string of bass he caught one day before ice up at Lake Minnetonka for this series of articles. The editors didn't think it was possible. June 1945 issue of Sports Afield.

Today we continue with Lucas The Series 4 and Jason’s first foray into Sports Afield’s as an angling writer.  In this edition, Lucas takes a deep dive into rods and reels anglers should be using to target bass using the lures of the day.  This is the most in-depth article Lucas has written to this point and it’s obvious he feels the word count mattered.

The interesting thing about the article, and you’ll see this in his book as well as future articles, is Lucas doesn’t recommend any brand of gear.  He was adamant that angling writers, the experts of the day, were bought by the tackle companies.  They pushed gear that didn’t work or was substandard, only for them to get a kickback from the industry.  Therefore, he didn’t push gear, he only made suggestions of the quality, color, weight, or action of equipment he used.

Lucas starts off the article with compassion for the angler.  Something he was not noted for.  His compassion lies in the amount of inferior tackle being sold and how is any angler, even an expert at times, supposed to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Starting with rods, Lucas goes into depth on the three rod materials available at the time.  Bamboo, tubular steel, and solid steel.  With bamboo, he goes into the lengthy discussion of the difficulty of making a quality bamboo rod.

Lucas describes that not all bamboo is quality and out of the metric tons of material shipped from China to the U.S. each year only a small fraction made it into high-end rods.  Once the bamboo was selected, it was then methodically split, shaped, tempered or annealed, and then glued together to form the rod.  It was no wonder high-end rods of the day ranged from $35 to $50, and Lucas wanted his audience to know why.

The story of how Jason Lucas caught the string of bass right before ice up. June 1945 issue Sports Illustrated.

Lucas fished bamboo rods and therefore this section was the longest.  He relates all further actions of tubular and solid steel to bamboo.  His first tip is to buy the most expensive rod one can afford.  Next, he tells the reader to consider the weight of the plug they’d be tossing and to fit the rod to that.  Underloading or overloading a rod had the biggest impact on an angler being able to make a long or accurate cast.  This is solid information still today.

The next material Lucas discussed was tubular steel.  He mentions that this material has increased in quality over recent years and that it wasn’t difficult finding a rod that had the action of a fine bamboo rod.

The pros to owning a quality tubular steel rod were that the rod wouldn’t take a set and essentially didn’t need to be coddled.  In fact, Lucas recommended tubular steel for most anglers over bamboo due to this reason.  Steel rods still needed care, just not the amount a bamboo rod required.

He then delved into solid steel rods but only for a moment, calling them the slowest action of all rods produced.

Speaking of action, Lucas goes in depth on this rod terminology.  He said that heat treated bamboo produced the fastest action rods, while bamboo that hadn’t been heat treated was not quite as fast.  I wonder what he would have said if he had ever seen the first graphite rods from 1974.

He then goes into what he prefers in rod action.  To do this, Lucas again shows some reserve with respect to an angler who had a different opinion than his own.

Lucas preferred fast action rods.  Rods that bent only at the tip.  Whereas the angler Lucas was describing said he preferred his rods to bend all the way down into the butt.  Without calling the guy a nut, Jason said it turned out to be self-preference.

The discussion then turns to reel seats.  This I found fascinating in that he refers to pistol grips, he calls them “depressed reel seats,” as new on the market.  The straight reel seat had been standard on rods since their introduction.

Another aspect that Lucas talked about was that nearly all advances in the rod market had been due to tournament casting.  Remember, there weren’t any bass tournaments at the time, the only tournaments in angling being distance and accuracy casting.  Competition drove technology even if it was a fishing competition.

Company catalogs are how Lucas recommended the angler buy his rods.  Avoid the shop clerk, your friends, and the waitress at the corner diner.  Reputable companies included in their catalog’s descriptions of their rods and their lengths, actions, and prices.  Stay in the moderate or higher price range, pick a rod length and lure weight range you plan to use and that’s all that was required to acquire a good rod.

Reels were the next subject at hand.  I also found this section fascinating.  Lucas says that in 1945, a quality reel would only cost the angler $6 – $7, where only a few years prior it would require $40.  Of course, by this time handmade reels were becoming a thing of the past and the assembly line was taking over.

Next on the list of suggestions was to make sure the reel had a light aluminum spool, not steel.  The higher-end reels of the day mostly came with aluminum spools, but you still had to watch out.

That’s it regarding the state-of-the-art in rods and reels of the day.  But there was something else I wanted to cover that was in this part of the series.  That being the stringer of bass Jason Lucas is holding on the first page.

Lucas was asked to provide fish pictures for the series but was unable to do that because his house had burned down the year prior.  What he told the editors of Sports Afield was he’d go out the next day and catch some bass and they could meet him at the lake for a photo opportunity.  The editors didn’t believe he could do it since the lake would soon be covered in ice.

Still, the editors and photographers went to the lake and Lucas was there waiting with the fish you see in the lead-in image.  The full story about that event can be read in the sidebar placed above.

See below for the entire article as printed in the June 1945 issue of Sports Afield.  And, if you missed any of the prior parts, please click on the following links.  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

No. 4 - New Angling Techniques: Tackle and Trash by Jason Lucas. June 1945 issue Sports Afield page 1.
No. 4 - New Angling Techniques: Tackle and Trash by Jason Lucas. June 1945 issue Sports Afield page 2.
No. 4 - New Angling Techniques: Tackle and Trash by Jason Lucas. June 1945 issue Sports Afield page 3.
No. 4 - New Angling Techniques: Tackle and Trash by Jason Lucas. June 1945 issue Sports Afield page 4.
No. 4 - New Angling Techniques: Tackle and Trash by Jason Lucas. June 1945 issue Sports Afield page 5.
No. 4 - New Angling Techniques: Tackle and Trash by Jason Lucas. June 1945 issue Sports Afield page 6.
No. 4 - New Angling Techniques: Tackle and Trash by Jason Lucas. June 1945 issue Sports Afield page 7.
No. 4 - New Angling Techniques: Tackle and Trash by Jason Lucas. June 1945 issue Sports Afield page 8.