Back a few months ago we posted a piece on an early 1970s vintage Norman Lures catalog we estimated came from the 1973/74 time period. Today in Norman Lures 1970/71 Catalog, we’re posting another one of these rare catalogs but this time we know the date of publication.
First, though, I would like to thank Andy Kinslow for kindly scanning the catalog and sending us the file. It’s so important we publish items such as these old catalogs due to the vast amount of information they provide to people who collect old lures as well as documenting the history of the sport. Our intent here at the Bass Fishing Archives is to provide the most complete gallery of manufacturer’s catalogs for the sole purpose of cataloging the history while providing a place for collectors to come and verify baits and colors.
On to the 1970/71catalog.
First off, this catalog appears to come from a jobber binder based on the holes present on the left-hand side of the cover. Although there is no date on the front cover, within the catalog itself are two references to the year.
The cover features Bill Norman fishing out of a non-descript tri-hull boat with a pedestal seat, stick steering and a foot-controlled trolling motor. The caption states that Norman is field testing a new addition to the Norman lineup.
Another neat aspect of the cover is the two trophies placed in the lower right-hand corner. These are the same two trophies that were shown on the previous catalog we shared, and at that time I tried to zoom into the image to see if I could find any dates to help date that catalog.
Turning the page we’re presented with full color images of the Norman Jointed Minnow along with the Quarter-Back and Half-Back shallow diving crankbaits. The use of color far outweighs the black and white images of the later catalog we posted earlier in the year. They give an angler the ability to see what each color pattern looks like on each bait.
The other nice thing about the images in this catalog is that they are all shown in the actual size of the lure, which gives a better perspective to a would-be customer.
The Jointed-Minnows came in sizes ranging from 2-1/2-inches in length and 1/8-ounce (500J) to 5-1/2-inches in length and 5/8-ounce (3000J). The Quarter-Back and Half-Back are pretty self-explanatory in their weights, being 1/4-ounce and 1/2-ounce respectively.
The next page provides full-size, color images of the Deep-Runner as well as the Deep-Runner versions of the Quarter-Back and Half-Back. The Deep-Runner Minnows came in two sizes, a 5-1/2-inch bait that weighed 1-ounce (3000-DR) and a 4-1/2-inch bait that weighed 1/2-ounce (2000-DR).
The Deep-Runner versions of the Quarter-Back and the Half-Back are a little misleading in my mind. They’re built off the same body as the shallow runners on the previous page but have a metal lip attached instead of the small Lexan lip. Because of the additional weight of the lip, I would expect them to be listed with heavier weights, but Norman lists them as 1/4-ounce and 1/2-ounce.
Page 4 of the catalog had a surprise for me. In the previous catalog, we reported that Norman had changed the name of their Reb1 and Reb2 minnow lure to the Linebacker series. In this catalog, which predates the other, we see that the Reb1 and Reb2 minnows had a name prior to being called the Linebacker, simply the Shiner-Minnow.
For those of you who don’t know, Bill Norman initially worked for Rebel and it’s said that Norman is the man who designed all of Rebel’s baits. Norman and George Perrin had a falling out and Bill Norman left and started his own lure company down the street. The problem was, Norman got into a little trouble in court for naming his baits similar names to what Rebel called their baits. Hence the name change of the Reb1 and Reb2 to Shiner-Minnow and eventually the Linebacker.
The next lure in the lineup was the discontinued Spot-Tail Minnow topwater bait. My guess here is that the catalog was printed in 1970 and by 1971 the bait had been discontinued, which is why it’s still in this catalog. It’d be nice to know how long this bait was produced.
The full Bill Norman color chart is presented on the following page along with their packaging and available banners, stickers and patches. Again, the patch pirate in me is looking at that rectangular Field Staff patch and I do not recognize it. Something else for me to put on my search list.
Page 7 is the page where you first get to see what year this catalog was from. Here Bill Norman is presenting his “New for 1970/71” baits, the Woundedflash and the Chuggerflash topwater lures.
The Woundedflash was a twin prop bait that came in two sizes, 1/4-ounce and 2-1/2-inches long (110) and a 1/2-ounce bait that was 3-1/2-inches long (115). The Chuggerflash only came in one size, 3/8-ounce and 3-1/2-inches in length (120).
Three more baits are presented on page 8, the Flashshad, Flasher, and the Mino-Flash. It’s my understanding that the Flashshad was designed in response to Storms Thinfin. The interesting thing about the Flashshad shown in this catalog is the patent number attached to it. The bait is designed and constructed quite differently than the Storm bait, in which the lip was molded into the body. So, this patent couldn’t have been to keep Storm off Norman’s back. Instead, I believe Norman did this to keep his old boss George Perrin from designing something similar, which as you know didn’t work. The Flashshad came in three different sizes 1/4-, 3/8-, and 1/2-ounce and I’m sure it cast like a potato chip, just like the Thinfin did.
The next bait on the page is the Flasher, Norman’s version of the Bayou Boogie. We talked about the Bayou Boogie in yesterday’s post on the Whopper Stopper Bait Company. The person given credit with its overall design is Anthony D’Anna of Louisiana, who sold AD MFG in the late 1950s. It’s a design that was a proven winner and one of the first vibration baits to be developed. Norman’s version, designed with the unforgettable cross-hatching, only came in one size, 1/4-ounce, compared to the Bayou Boogie’s four sizes.
The last lure on this page was the Mino-Flash, a small 1/4-ounce vibration bait that featured an anatomically correct dorsal fin, tail and gill plate.
Next in the lineup, and what appears to be a black and white insert, are Norman’s spinnerbaits, the Spino-Flash and the Spino-Spider. Both baits appear to be built off the same frame, a ball head with a short-arm spinnerbait frame but differ in the skirt that adorns each. The Flash was built with a nylon skirt rigged backwards where the Spider was an obvious knockoff of the Bass Buster Tarantula. But Norman wasn’t the only company to knock off Virgil Ward’s bait. Rogers’ Bait Company and Cordell had versions they also called the Spider. Nothing is sacred in lure design, or copying for that matter.
The final page or insert features Norman’s Little Scooper built off the same platform at the Quarterback. Here you can really see the resemblance of this bait to the Rebel Humpy. This 1/4-ounce, 2-1/2-inch bait was fashioned with a clear plastic lip and I feel was the next iteration in getting rid of the metal lip of the 250DR. But reading further, you’ll see that the Little Scooper also has the feature of being a suspending bait – in 1970. This makes me wonder if this was the first commercially available suspending crankbait offered as it took George Perrin and Rebel another 7 or so years to come out with their Suspend R crankbait.
The difference between this catalog and the 1973/74 catalog went beyond the nearly full-color presentation in this year. Between 1971 and 1973/74, Norman had come out with three new baits, namely the Big N, Little N, and the Cut-Throat.
Of course, the N-series crankbaits were fashioned after the Big-O and were part of the alphabet craze sweeping the nation at the time. Eventually, the Deep Little N would become one of the winningest crankbaits of all time and if there was such a thing as a Crankbait Hall of Fame, it would be one of the first entries.
The Cut-Throat, on the other hand, was a topwater bait that used the same mold as the Quarterback and Little Scooper, two baits that Norman had a lot of success with. So, why not make a tiny double prop topwater bait out of the body? Makes sense to me.
The final page presented is the 1971 Consumer Price List from Norman. This is a good cross-check reference for collectors as the price lists generally had every bait offered even if they were left out of the catalog.
Today the Norman Bait lineup through PRADCO is a ghost of what it once was. Essentially all that remains are the N-series baits and the DD22. Progress is not always good.
Well, I hope you enjoyed looking through this 1970/71 Norman Baits catalog. Again, I’d like to thank Andy Kinslow for scanning the document and sending us the files.
If you have any old manufacturer’s catalogs you’d like to share with us, please leave a comment below and we’ll be sure to get back with you. Until then, enjoy the full gallery below. Open the first image and use the arrows to click through the entire catalog.
Absolutely love the background color, shadow box effect that the lure photos use. That is truly old school photo style.