First off, you see one of the first glimpses of the Original Scrounger – the bait that Aaron Martens brought back to life in the early 2000s. These jigs proved their mettle instantly when they were introduced and became staples in every local bay angler’s boxes. But the freshwater guys didn’t take too keen a liking to them, although they did catch bass. The main problem with them back then, and it was a big problem, was the hooks really stunk for freshwater applications. Heavy-wire, cadmium-plated hooks that were short-shanked and narrow gapped – not the best quality in a bass hook, even back in the day.
The second piece of equipment I found interesting was ABU Garcia is touting their new 5600C baitcasting reel. As the review reads, “This new Ambassadeur 5600C features a new concept called the ThumBar free spool control. Let’s the angler put the reel into free spool while his thumb is in the most natural position, as it lies on the line at the back of the reel.” Fast-forward to today and you can’t find a freshwater casting reel without a thumb bar. I remember very well when this “new” feature came out and it doesn’t seem like it was 45 years ago but I guess that’s what happens when you get old.
Then there are two spinnerbaits that were introduced, the Rogers Spring Rat and the Paducah Nasty. The Spring Rat may have been the first spinnerbait made with a spring in the upper arm of the bait, but don’t hold me to that, and was to provide more vibration. The Nasty, on the other hand, was fitted with a soft-plastic skirt and trailer. Invented by Doc Morehead (former FLW pro, Dan Morehead’s father) the bait didn’t last too long in production due a lawsuit filed by Mister Twister at the time. I talked with Dan about this at the 2013 Classic and according to him, his father’s version of the preceded Mister Twisters. It wasn’t long after that you couldn’t find either bait on the shelf unless it was covered in dust.
Another goody is the Adventurer 2277 7-drawer tackle box – Adventurer’s response to the Plano 777 no doubt. These boxes, be it Adventurer’s or Plano’s, were neat in concept but were a bear to keep dry. The drawers also had a penchant for jamming from hooks or too many plastics. I had Plano’s 737S at the time and it seemed like after each trip had to empty it to make sure everything was in order.
Also in the tackle box category was the introduction of the double-sided Plano Magnum. This would end up being one of Plano’s best-selling boxes of all time. It was small, light weight and had ample room for a lot of gear. It could even accommodate pork jars.
Then there are two rod entries – Berkley’s foray into the graphite rod market and Shakespeare’s ever-famous Ugly Stick. I wish the priced of the Berkley graphite rods had been mentioned so we could see if the price had gone down in two years since the introduction of graphite.
The last item that caught my eye is a western-esque worm used primarily in the southwestern desert lakes of Arizona. The Double Trouble was a lead headed two-hook floating worm (probably a Sportsman’s Super Floater) made by Fred Ward. Today’s equivalent would be the Westy Worm, still manufactured in Arizona. Talk to any angler in Arizona and they’ll tell you this style worm is a must-have for fishing the desert. Why it’s never taken hold outside that area is a mystery to me – although I really don’t like throwing them because of the two exposed hooks.