Today’s historical photo is of Jack A. Smithwick, one of the famous Smithwick’s (the “& Son” of the Smithwick clan), with a nice stringer of topwater bass. Smithwick made a lot of early lures, but they’re most famous for their Devil’s Horse (originally the Devil’s Warhorse) topwater bait. This picture appeared in a 1969 issue of Fishing Facts and Secrets, along with a great Wiley Miller graphic showing the recommended way to fish these baits. Fishing News/Facts was actually the early northern distributor for the baits, and stories appeared in several early issues.
You can learn a little more by checking out a post from our archives which also features some video links on Smithwick baits.
I remember Wiley Miller’s art work in the pages of Fishing Facts magazine. I always thought his pieces had a charming, folk-art-like appeal. Even to the way he signed his name, with the two little circles above the “i” letters. To my mind, his renderings are what made Fishing Facts the magazine it was…back when it seemed as though it was published for the common man, the weekend angler with a limited budget. His art was “low brow” at its most glorious.
David, I agree with you 100% on all of what you said. It’s fun to go back into those old issues and admire his skills.