Uncle Josh Catalog 1974 Front Cover

Back last year David Smith posted a piece on the 1977 Uncle Josh catalog.  That catalog was printed a year before the resurgence of pork rind into the industry when the Jig-n-Pig became the bait preferred by all anglers.  Today in Uncle Josh 1974, we’re going to look at their catalog a couple years earlier and talk about some of those baits offered.

By 1974, pork rind as a bait had pretty much been forgotten.  I remember walking into a tackle store at that time and asking a tackle salesman if it was any good and he replied, “it catches fish but it’s a mess to deal with and it dries out.”

That sealed the deal for me.  By the end of 1979, though, I had cases of pork in my tackle box and garage.

Let’s get back to the catalog, which is quite sparse, even compared to the 1977 catalog David wrote about a while ago.

The cover has a nice design but it doesn’t scream bass fishing at all.  In fact it’s catering to inshore or saltwater anglers.  Yes, I’ve caught lots of fish on pork in the saltwater but looking at the salmon eggs, blood bait, and other baits on the cover, the background is out of place.

Uncle Josh Catalog 1974 Pages 2 and 3

Pages 2 and 3 get into the meat, pun intended, of the products.  Here they open with the venerable Pork Frog and a variety of other baits targeted to bass fishing.  Of the baits on this page I used and sold while working at the tackle shop, I’d say we sold more Pork Frogs than anything followed by the U3 and U4 Twin-Tail.  These baits worked wonders behind an Arkie or Klein Weapon jig.  My favorite frog size was always the #1 Jumbo Frog with the #11 a close second.

The U3 and U4 Twin-Tails were interesting in they worked great as a jig trailer, but my boss had a rigging technique that flat caught fish.

He’d take primarily the U4 and punch two holes in the body like you can see on the “strip” baits on page 5.  He’d then take a Charlie Brewer Slider head, push the point of the hook through the middle hole on the flesh side (not the skin side) of the bait, and then run the hook point back through the third hole on the skin side.  Then he’d take the eye of the jighead and run it through the standard hook hole provided in the bait.

You fish the rig as you would a Slider Worm but on heavier line, like 10- and 12-pound test.  Cast the bait out, let it sink to the bottom and then just slowly wind it back.  One other tip, you had to “condition” the pork before using this technique by running it through a rock polisher so it became very soft.

Another bait on these pages is the Spring Lizard.  This bait came in two sizes, #800 and #900, and was a great flipping bait when the fish were aggressive.

I can’t leave these pages without mentioning Stan Fagerstrom’s favorite bait, the Pork Chunk.  Talking to Stan over the years he swore it was the best bass bait ever made.  He fished it on a bare weedless hook and said it would catch fish when nothing else would.  The Pork Chunk was discontinued sometime in the late 1980s and that drove him nuts.

Uncle Josh Catalog 1974 Pages 4 and 5

Next, we have pages 4 and 5.  I have zero experience with the baits presented on these pages.  They were designed without any flesh on them and essentially to be fished as is on a hook, jighead or used as a trailer.

By 1977, Uncle Josh did add another bait to this series, the Ripple Rind, that I did use as a spinnerbait trailer with good success.

Uncle Josh Catalog 1974 Pages 6 and 7

Pages 6 and 7 feature several tips on how and when to use Uncle Josh pork.  They mainly concentrated on the bass-centric baits, which was probably the smart thing to do.

Looking at their tips, you’ll notice they don say anything about a jig-n-frog.  Hard to believe since that would become their number one product in a couple years.  Shows how fast things can change.

The Black Widow Eel, on the other hand, is fully recommended for the use behind a jig.  In fact, if you read material from the 1940s through the 1960s, the Jig and Eel combination is always talked about as one of the best big fish combinations there is.

Next Uncle Josh touts the U3 and U4 Twin-Tails.  They say they were introduced into the lineup in 1972 and since had found a following as deepwater single-spin trailers.

Uncle Josh Catalog 1974 Pages 8 and 9
Uncle Josh Catalog 1974 Pages 10 and 11

The last four pages of the catalog feature Uncle Josh’s other prepared baits such as stink bait, salmon eggs, and cheese bait.  Nothing to do with bass fishing but it shows Uncle Josh wasn’t just a one-trick pony.

The back cover of the catalog features one of Uncle Josh’s hardbaits, the Kicker.  This was essentially a spoon designed to be used with their pork.  I never threw this bait so I can’t compare it to the Johnson Silver Minnow, but I assume it worked.

Uncle Josh Catalog 1974 Front Cover

That’s about it for this 1974 Uncle Josh catalog.  We thank you for checking it out.