Tuesday, April 20, 2010
If you are like me, when you were a kid you watched this commercial daily.... The Ronco ( Ron Popeil) Pocket Fisherman.
This brought a smile to my face while surfing the net and coming across an ad for one of them.
I was surprised to find that The Pocket Fisherman is still sold today!
I thought it would be funny to connect with a piece of my childhood, so I found a vintage outfit still in the box with its instructions and side holster bag... after all, I collect vintage tackle and lures.
Attached is my breakdown of this piece of fishing history, as well as some other "not so successful" attempts to reproduce a similar product (to be discussed later)
I'll start with the box:
Draw like a cowboy, Hide behind the PF, and thirdly, get a kid to hold the net.
If you actually take a moment to mess with the pocket fisherman you realize that it is actually made pretty well. These are durable although the rod portion always made me nervous with its click in place rod backing. The pocket fisherman casts pretty easy and goes far for a itty-bitty rod. From shore it is a little clumsy and stupid, but from a boat it can be wonderful.
Mechanically, the PF is of average or better quality than most things you buy today. The reel crank is metal and the storage "clip" on the handle is a witty engineering feat! I took a long look at the clip and found it to be a solid engineering solution for flipping out and locking a handle in place. In fact, I do not think today's companies would take the expense of making such a good metal crank.
Bottom line is that although laughable, the Pocket Fisherman is functional and part of our fishing history.
For those of us raised in the 70's, it is like connecting with an dopey old friend.
Speaking of dopey... let see some of the the other so-called fishing novelties that followed the Pocket Fisherman. While I have not seen these others and I do not have a relationship with these others, It seems that simply reading about others experiences will suffice.
How about this abortion: The Coleman "Fish Pen"
It brags about "Reel in looks of amazement from your fellow fishermen and friends! " They will be amazed that you even bought one!
Now, not to be cynical, but some of the fine print mentions that "product narratives are for entertainment purposes" aside from catching pan-fish, sunfish, or blue gill, I believe this to be something to goof on and play with...not something to fish with.
Positive note: This product does contain metal.... not entirely plastic like this next novelty fishing set up that I am going to SLAM!
This next one was actually endorsed by Roland Martin, who apparently will lend his name to anything as long as it has the possibility of sending a check his way. I am talking about the Rocket Fishing Rod.
Really? Plastic abortion of a fishing rod for fat kids who cant even muster the energy to cast a lure!
One review I read from a disgruntled father says that he bought one and opened it and the whole contraptions fell apart in his hands.... Be brought it back and opened the new one in the store and it "seemed" ok.... He took his kid fishing and on the first Faux-cast the springs and everything shot out of the thing. A complete piece of crap with Roland's name attached to it.
Personally, I would be embarrassed if I were Roland and distance myself as far as I could from this junk.
In short, I do not believe anyone has been able to repeat the success of the Pocket Fisherman.
Although dumb and laughable it is a decent item and a piece of our fishing history.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Stan Gibbs Lures are made right here in New England
The Gibbs Story...
His hand crafted fishing plugs that worked so well for him became the foundation products of this new enterprise. Names like Polaris Popper, Casting Swimmer, Pencil Popper, Needlefish, and Darter are still common names along the beach. Many others have been added along the way as new designs were developed and proven. Each plug had its own distinct characteristics but common throughout was the ability to cast considerable distances into the wind. Stan knew how important it was to reach breaking fish that were out of the reach of other lures.
The manufacturing operation is now located in Cumberland, Rhode Island and owned by Dennis Ryan and Dan Smalley who continue to manufacture quality fishing lures the old fashioned way - by hand in the good old USA. The company has grown steadily since the earliest days when plugs produced numbered in the hundreds. Materials and methods of manufacture have also continually improved and yet still today each plug is hand carried through 50 or more manufacturing steps before shipping to our dealer's stores!
Of utmost important to us, is our direct relationship with tackle shop dealers. In excess of 90% of these are also family owned, and maintaining this direct tie has been a vital element in our method of operation. We do not use distributors nor are we found in discount stores or mass marketing chains.
Friday, April 9, 2010
Incredible "Oscar Peterson's Decoys" Tin SignThis tin-sign is an incredible piece and one that I suspect could complete a Peterson decoy collection. Raised-relief and most-likely dating to around the late 1930's to early 40's I simply cannot put into words how neat this sign is. Absolutely nothing wrong with this sign, no dents, not pits, no rust. Posted here for your enjoyment. - Chuck
Brief history on Oscar Peterson as well as some examples of his work. Here.