Recently I was scanning through Don Fuelsch’s 1962 Southern Angler’s and Hunter’s Guide when I saw a piece on how to fish the plastic worm. The worm having been the first lure I caught a bass on I decided I better read it. It’s fun to go back in time and see what was en vogue back in the early days of bass fishing and this article was no different. At the time, the plastic worm as we know it today, had only been around for a little more than a decade and its uses were still new to those who utilized them.
First thing I noticed after reading the entire piece was there was no mention of the “slip-sinker method” of rigging. This method, believed to have been developed by Dave Hawk of Texas, wouldn’t be written about until roughly five years later when a young Bill Dance would make it famous. For those of you not familiar with the “slip-sinker method,” it’s aptly named the Texas Rig for where it was invented – although Hawk was originally from Arkansas.
Back to the article.
The article, aptly named How To Use Plastic Worms, was a pretty decent piece for the time. Fuelsch talks about working a worm slowly for the best results and discusses various rigging and retrieve techniques depending on the rig. The full article is posted below and is a must-read for you plastic worm historians.
What caught my eye more, though were the ads and rigging tips placed in this volume of Fuelsch’s guide. I’ll go through them one at a time here. I’m sure some of the ads will leave you scratching your head the same way they did me.
The first eye-opening ad was from Jeff and Son Product Company out of Birmingham, AL you see in the opening image. The claim to fame of their rig is “It Actually Crawls.” A couple years ago this ad would have you screaming gimmick all day long. Today, though, you see it and instantly you think Inurig, Japan’s “newest” hot worm rig. It makes you wonder if the Japanese had seen this article and reinvented it.
Another interesting topic in the guide is the talk of soft plastic bills that were recently added to leadhead jigs to increase the action of the worm. Burke Flexo Products was the company Fuelsch was referring to and the ad accompanying the article shows just that. Labeled the “Actionizer Scoop,” the scoop would impart a “life-like action” to any bait placed on the jighead.
We’ve talked about this before when we published the 1968 Burke catalog, but here again, looking at pictures in the Burke ad that accompanied this article, reveal what looks to be the start of the Scrounger-type head. In 1962.
The second bait in Burke’s ad was the pre-rigged, triple hooked Siamese Crawlers, complete with beads and propeller. This bait was 8-1/2 inches long and featured three size-2 gold forged hooks.
On the third page of the article is another curious tip for fishing a floating plastic worm. Tie a worm hook on the line and then put a floating worm, like a Sportsman’s Products Super Floater at the time, on the hook. Then take a casting weight or Dipsy sinker, put a loop in the line about a foot from the hook, run the loop through the eye in the casting sicker and then run the sinker through the loop. Looks like the beginnings of the Korean Free Rig, doesn’t it? The only difference is the Free Rig allows the casting weight to slide freely on the line above the hook.
On the same page is an old DeLong Kilr worm ad. These pre-rigged worms had three small hooks held together with 8-pound braided nylon line that were molded in the worm. The baits came in two sizes, 6 inch and 4.5 inch, and the cost was $1 for a card of three. Also in the ad was their offer of the DeLong Bait-Mate Chart, free if you wrote into the company. I need to find one of these.
One of their claims in the ad was something that really dates the time. It read:
“Amazingly limber, lifelike in looks action and feel! Ideal for fishing with the wife and children! No mess – no time wasted baiting up.”
Next is an ad that has me a bit stumped. The name of the worm is Lucky Strike and at first, I thought it may have been the beginnings of the Luck-E-Strike Lure company we know today. Then I read a little farther and saw the baits were manufactured by Jamison Tackle MFGR. I did a check to see if the address was the same as the famed Jamison Tackle Corp. – the makers of the fame Shannon spinners – and realized this was not the same company. The other thing that struck me, and sorry but my inner chemist is talking here, was their use of the term “Hydromelized.” For one, is that even a word and two, hydro refers to water, not oil. Yeah, I’m being picky.
Next are two cool ads from two different companies selling, what looks to be the same bait. First we have the Flutter Bug Tackle Company out of Independence IA. Their Flutter Worm is a spoon with a hook long enough to thread a worm on. The ad states, “the slower you fish these lures, the faster the fishing.” Looks to me like the start of the Chatterbait craze.
Then, you go further in the guide and come across the second ad, this time from Outdoor Productions, presenting the El Tango Worm. Between the El Tango and the Flutter Bug, I can’t tell the difference.
To read the full article please click on the first picture in the gallery of images below and use the arrows to scroll through. I hope you enjoy.