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Fishing Innovations from the Past


 Fishing Innovations from the Past
« on: August 23, 2015, 11:27:10 pm »



 Nick Crème hand-poured lures in homemade molds on his kitchen stove, the first soft, lifelike plastic worms available to anglers. (Courtesy of Crème Lure Company)

Demand for the lures soared, and Crème had to move his fledgling company from its small Ohio quarters to a larger plant in Tyler, Texas, where he endeared himself and his products to Southern anglers. He was among the first manufacturers to sponsor pro anglers, signing Bill Dance and John Powell as spokesmen for his worms. And he was the first to offer slip sinkers in the late 1960s.

Crème died in 1984, but the company bearing his name continues doing business from Tyler, Texas.

Darrell Lowrance

In the 1950s, fishing was largely a hit-and-miss proposition. Advances in tackle technology had improved anglers’ chances, but “the one that got away” continued to be a popular refrain until Darrell Lowrance and his father Carl introduced portable sonar to the sport.

Darrell Lowrance helped revolutionize fishing with his work on the Fish-Lo-K-Tor, or “Little Green Box,” the first portable sonar available to anglers. (Photos courtesy of Navico)

Carl Lowrance learned about sonar in the Navy. Using newly developed transistor technology, he reduced the size of once-bulky units so they could be mounted in small boats. The next step was reducing the length of the ultrasonic signal sent and received by the transducer—the pulse length—so the sonar could detect not just large objects like submarines, but fish as well. Darrell Lowrance, then a freshman at the University of Arkansas studying math and physics, managed to reduce the pulse length to one foot, small enough to identify larger fish. And by 1956, the Lowrances were ready with their first unit, dubbed the Fish Lo-K-Tor.

The family incorporated their business as Lowrance Electronics in 1958, and soon began marketing the “Little Green Box” sonar that revolutionized bass fishing. Darrell became company president in 1961. During his tenure, he received numerous patents while guiding Lowrance to several breakthroughs in marine electronics technology, including the first computerized paper graph fishfinder in 1982, the first high-resolution liquid-crystal display in 1985, and the first marine electronics with memory card utility in 2000. The company he helped found is now part of Navico, the world’s largest marine electronics manufacturer.

G.H. Harris

Many fishermen take for granted the everyday use of the foot-controlled trolling motor. But “hands-free” fishing was still a dream until the early 1960s when a Jackson, Mississippi, building contractor named Garrett H. Harris made it a reality.

Mississippi angler G.H. Harris developed the first foot-controlled trolling motor, seen here being tested by one of Harris’ friends. His work on motors was the beginning of a company that later became known as MotorGuide. (Photo courtesy of MotorGuide)

In 1961, Harris, tired of sculling his fishing boat, began wondering if he could develop a better electric motor than the SilverTrol he owned, which had been invented some 30 years earlier. The SilverTrol was awkward to use because it required turning and steering by hand. Harris wanted something he could operate with his foot so it didn’t distract from his fishing.

Harris’ tinkering led to the development of a spring-loaded, foot-operated direction control he could use to steer his boat. When he would take his foot off the pedal, the spring returned the motor to its straight-ahead position. Local fishermen liked what they saw and began buying the hand-made trolling motors.

When Harris became friends with Dick Herschede, owner of a Mississippi grandfather clock company, his invention finally reached the masses. Herschede struck a deal with Harris to build and sell the motors, which they called the “Guide-Rite.” Improvements came rapidly, including rack-and-pinion steering in the mid-1960s that made the directional control more sensitive and reliable. Thrust was a whopping 10 pounds.

Eventually, the product’s name was changed to the moniker now known by anglers everywhere: MotorGuide. And the rest, as they say, is history.

« Last Edit: June 28, 2020, 02:02:23 pm by nomdeplume57 »


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