Here's a 1975 Daiwa ad that was placed in Field & Stream introducing their new line of reels to the U.S. market. Or was it something else they were selling?

As we’ve shown over the last few months, ’70s bass fishing ad executives were not afraid to ride the line.  If sex could sell cars or watches, it would also sell bass tackle.  But this ad is more than that.  It’s more sex and misunderstanding. So what do I address; the sex or the major misunderstanding.  I chose both.

The Sex – One thing that has really surprised me as I search through old bass fishing magazine ads from the 70s has been the amount of sexual innuendo in them. Yes, nowadays we have that a bit with things like the Reaction Innovations product names and colors, and I even read some complaints from ICAST 2012 this year on the skimpy attire worn by some company support personnel, but it seems to have been much more rampant back in the 70s. Perhaps it’s partly because of all the smoking and alcohol ads that all have a macho man/good looking girl in every piece, but even the wording went along for the ride back then. Rod/reel ads, motor ads, you name it – hot girl. The Daiwa ad in this piece from a 1975 Field & Stream Magazine is no exception. Look close and you’ll find a Daiwa reel advertisement in there somewhere.

The Misunderstanding – Without a doubt, and based upon all the fishing friends and fans I’ve spoken to over the years, the two most mispronounced words in the bass fishing world are ‘Gamakatsu’ (Gah-mah-kaht-sue) and ‘Yamamoto’ (Yah-Mah-Mow-Toe). However, I might have to add a new one to the list. Back in 1975, Daiwa seems to have emerged on the shores of California as witnessed by this ad in Field & Stream. I also did a patent search, and the earliest U.S. patent I have found attributed to Daiwa Seiko, Inc. was filed Dec. 8, 1976 and issued Oct. 11, 1977. Perhaps someone knows of an earlier appearance they can cite?

Anyway, the part that really caught my eye, and lends credence to that date as being near the ‘arrival time’, is the last sentence in the ad: “That’s DAIWA – pronounced Dye-Wah — at your dealers now.” You don’t usually see such wording in an ad unless you’re trying to introduce yourself to a new buying public.

Perhaps it’s a Midwest thing, but it would appear that for the past 25 years or so, I’ve been pronouncing the company name wrong, using 3 syllables (Die’ – ah – wuh) instead of two (Dye – Wah). I’m guessing a good many readers are guilty as well. Regardless, they have been at the cutting edge of the bass tackle game for quite a long time, and still are. Their low profile reels, magnetic braking systems, and prominent pro staff personalities back in the 80s drove Daiwa to being one of the leaders in bass catching equipment – even if I did botch the pronunciation.