Spatting Party at Painter Lake near Edwardsburg Michigan July 22 1899.

Some time ago, NFLCC member Dan Basore was kind enough to send me a photocopy of the box papers for the Shakespeare Wooden Revolution, a bait advertised and sold for a short time only in 1900.  It mentioned that the bait could be used for trolling, casting, or “spatting”.  I had not heard the term “spatting” before but assumed it referred to using it with a cane pole.

Later I was fortunate enough to acquire a 1902 catalog from the Worden Bucktail Bait Company, predecessor of the South Bend Bait Company.  As one would expect, it does not contain any wooden baits as Worden did not introduce any until 1905.  Along with reels and lines in the catalog (made by other manufacturers) was a short baitcasting rod with oversized line guides.  It also contained many forms of “Bucktail Baits” suitable for trolling or “spatting” as well as large pictures dating from 1899 to 1901 of local Bass fishermen and their catches.

In addition, there was an entire page describing the method called “Spatting” which it explained, “is very popular among fisherman in Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan, especially in grassy waters; some phenomenal catches having been made.”

It goes on to explain that a limber 20 ft cane pole is rigged with 30 to as much as 50 feet of line and a Bucktail Bait is cast as one would with a giant fly rod, flipping the Bucktail Bait into pockets in the rushes.  It cautions that “The timing on casting such an outfit, requires skill and may properly be called ‘Lake Fly Casting’.”

When a fish is hooked, one is advised to pull back very hard with the pole until the line is grasped then lay the pole down and haul the fish in hand over hand to the boat.  One of the baits suggested for use in this method is the Worden Bucktail Gang shown here.

Worden 3-inch Gang recommended for “Spatting.”

Another “Spatting” bait patented in 1896 is the Gaide Bait from Ft. Wayne Indiana.

The Gaide Bait from Ft Wayne Indiana was patented in 1896 and sold by several large sporting goods suppliers. It was advertised as ideal for “spatting”. This great example is from the collection of NFLCC member Jack Leslie.

The lead-in image and the two below are dated photographs from the catalog showing the results of “spatting” with a cane pole.”

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"A few Hours Spatting" at Simmon's Lake near Paw Paw Michigan on August 10, 1900.
Spatting in the rushes in 1898.