I love vintage outdoor magazines. Everything from feature stories to advertisements are fun to read, and the wording is unique compared to today’s verbiage. Here are some interesting ads from a variety of 1946 outdoor publications:
Arbogast Lures must have spent a lot of money on advertising and it paid off. They, used catchy titles, for example:
“All Fishermen Are Not Liars,” E.T. Bales in the Chattanooga Free Press wrote: “Many fishermen are called liars when they tell about the one that got away. Thanks to E.S. Dyer, of Lupton City, a lot of them have been vindicated. An eight-pounder bass? No such thing, I have heard old timers remark, but friends there is such a thing and Dyer has the proof, caught on a Jitterbug after a 20-minute battle.”
You, too, could buy your choice of six Jitterbug colors for $1.21 with no mail orders. My dad bought his in 1949 from a hardware store. Arbogast, too, advertised Hawaiian Wigglers for $1.10, and Hula Dancers for $1.21.
Tired of rowing your boat? The Nip-N-Tuck Company advertised twin trolling motors for $98 a pair, including a foot operating control switch. “The motors mounted on both sides of the boat, powered by an automobile storage battery. Push your foot and the motors run forward, pull and it runs in reverse. One motor propels the boat in a circle while both propel it straight. No sissies, Nip-A-Tuck motors are built with quality workmanship.”
However, The Gamble Brothers advertised that you won’t be up a creek with a broken paddle if you take laminated paddles and 250,000 were used in the war. You could get a pair for $7.70.
Fly fishermen were certainly not left out in 1946. Pachner & Koller, Inc. advertised “Finger Tip Control,” the first real improvement in fly rod reels. “Fly fishing is now made simple and a real pleasure. Your rod is always in position to set the hook on a strike. Bugging of surface lures can be done with short flicks of reel levers, keeping one hand free for cigarettes, netting of fish, etc. Not automatic, finger tip control when a simple flick of your finger activates reel, winding up surplus line. No chance of tangled or looped line while netting fish. Aluminum allows reel holds 60 yards of “G” line. The reel comes with a lifetime guarantee of material defects and costs $13.50.”
The Bubble Bait Company had an advertisement that seemed a bit confusing of what the product was: “The Amazing Bubble bait is ideal for trout and bass. Simply run hook through bait. Water starts bubbling effect…bubbles attract fish. Works where other baits fail.” A box of 50 cost $1.
The Jumping Jo topwater lure was billed as “Topwater thrills everywhere.” The ad said, “Developed under actual fishing conditions after painstaking research. Primarily for bass but try it on other fish and you’ll find they won’t leave it alone. Easy and interesting to cast and retrieve. Jumps completely out of the water.” The Jumping Jo sold for $1.25.
For many years Zebco had a De-Lair fish scale to weigh and measure your catch. A 1946 copy of Sports Afield advertised this same scale from the Langley Corporation for $2 and said to “fit in your watch pocket.” I wonder if Zebco was ever part of this corporation?
Heddon advertised a popular lure in 1946: “Even the old granddads fish cannot resist taking a swipe at a Heddon River Runt Spook. The wiggling action and Shore Minnow color is just too much for ‘em. Made in sinkers, floaters and go-deepers – for all game fish – panfish to muskies. Your dealer should have a few by now.”
The Sportsmaster Products Company advertised their electric Trolmotor that weighed 20 pounds and operated on a 6- or 12-volt automobile battery. “You can’t splash oars, or clank oar locks, or putt-putt-putt around making a racket and expect to catch fish….to get ‘em, you’ve got to slip up on them quietly. Go after them with a Trolmotor. Attach it to the boat, alongside your gas motor if you wish, hook up the battery, set the control at whatever trolling speed you want and start fishing. No rowing, no fussing around with a sputtering motor; both hands are free – you’ve nothing to do but fish.”
The W.C. Lincoln Company decided to make fishing more comfortable with their Sportsman’s Swivel Seat. “Relieve the long-suffering seat of your pants with the soft cushion of a Lincoln Swivel Seat. Soothe your aching back by lulling at your ease. Swivel lets you twist and turn without disturbing the balance of the crankiest boat. Fits any boat seat and costs $19.95.”
The W.C. Lincoln Company came up with an amazing fishing scaler. Their ad read, “Scale fishing in your Sunday suit. No more smelly, messy scales everywhere. Transparent plastic guard prevents the scales from flying around, and at the same time you see your work.” You could buy a Lincoln scaler in 1946 for $1.50 from a hardware store or mail order.
Finally, the Ked-Mar Distributing Company advertised their Ked-Mar all-steel fishing rod, shipped directly to you. “Staffed by men with wartime experience in expediting critical materials. Get your genuine ‘[Sou-Wester’ bait casting rod, a durable steel fish getter with steel line guides. Positive reel lock, operated by easy to thumb knurled nut. Specify 4 ½ or five-foot rods for $15.00.”
Someone find me a time machine!
– Kenneth Kieser, a veteran outdoors writer and member of the Waterfowlers Hall of Fame and National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, writes a weekly outdoors column for The Examiner. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.