Ans. B. Decker's Bass Bait (L) and William J. Jamison's Coaxer were the source of the first formal fishing contest held on Congress Lake in Ohio. Photo Bill Sonnett.

It has been 114 years since Ans B. Decker and William Jamison conducted what many believe to be the first, formal bass fishing contest in June of 1910. It was billed as the “World’s Championship Bass Fishing Contest”. The story of the events leading up to this contest, as well as the advertising wars leading up to it and following it, are legendary. The two ads presented here give a good taste of the conflicting results in which both men claimed victory. It was great stuff for the sporting magazines of the day who were able to sell many ads to both parties countering the advertisements of the other. These two full page ads were laid out facing each other in the August 1910 issue of Field & Stream.

Ans. B. Decker's Bass Bait ad claiming his win over W. J. Jamison on Congress Lake, Ohio, even though he lost the contest. Photo August 1910 issue of Field & Stream.
William J. Jamison's Coaxer ad claiming his win over Ans. B. Decker on Congress Lake, Ohio. y the rules, Jamison handily won the contest. Photo August 1910 issue of Field & Stream.

The lead-in photo shows the two lures in question. The Decker rotary head lure on the left and the Jamison Coaxer on the right. Both were well known and successful surface lures a century ago.

Tight Lines, Bill Sonnett