70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

A lot has changed since the first issue of Salt Water Sportsman rolled off the press in June of 1939. When we sat down to compile this list, we realized what a daunting task lay ahead of us. Finding 70 items to write about wasn't the problem at all - limiting ourselves to only 70 was. Many milestones have occurred in the past seven decades, and we're sure to have missed some of your favorites. After polling the SWS staff and all of our many contributors, here's the list we came up with. Enjoy! Part II: Boat Stuff
Part III: Electronics
70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

ARTIFICIAL TROLLING LURES In the late 1950s, Southern California angler Cliff Brignall returned from Hawaii with the Kona Head and the rights to manufacture it. It was the first troller to use artificial skirting (the same material used on folding chairs in the '50s) rather than feathers.
70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

ANTI-REVERSE FLY REELS About 1950, Bob McChristian of Miami, Florida, was fed up with destroying his tackle on tarpon in Government Cut. To remedy his problem, he developed the Seamaster - the first anti-reverse fly reel.
70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

BALL BEARING SWIVELS In 1948, Oney Johnson in Daly City, California, patented the first ball bearing swivel and founded Sampo.
70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

BRAIDED "SUPERLINES" It wasn't until the '80s that Spectra was developed and introduced as fishing line by Allied-Signal Corp., now Honeywell. Another gel-spun polymer, marketed as Dyneema by the Dutch company DVM, appeared at about the same time.
70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

CERAMIC ROD GUIDES In 1970, Fuji eliminated concerns about the pitting that plagued metal rod guides and the cracking and chipping problems of agate by using tough, synthetic ceramic.
70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

CIRCLE HOOKS The origins of the circle hook lie in antiquity. Modern circle hooks, long used in commercial fishing, gained popularity among recreational anglers in the 1990s. This shift was concurrent with the groundswell of release practices and conservation ethics that was growing among saltwater anglers.
70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

COMPOSITE DRAG MATERIAL A company called Kinetic Chemicals (later acquired by DuPont) patented the fluorocarbon now known as Teflon in 1941, but it was used in fishing tackle mostly as a lubricant. Teflon drag washers for Penn Internationals appeared in the late 1980s, but in 1985, Penn introduced the HT100 drag, a graphite composite and the first of its kind.
70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

DACRON LINE Dacron, a polyester developed by DuPont, was offered as braided fishing line in Gudebrod's product catalog for 1953-54.
70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

DREDGES AND SPREADER BARS Captain Bob Mayo of Provincetown, Massachusetts, reportedly built the first spreader bar teasers in the 1960s, rigged with multiple natural baits to imitate a school of bait fish and attract tuna.
70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

FIBERGLASS FISHING RODS Shakespeare introduced the newest innovation in fishing rods during 1946. This innovation was the glass-fiber Wonderod, which revolutionized the fishing rod market and made bamboo and steel virtually obsolete in salt water.
70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

MODERN FLY LINES Scientific Anglers developed the first plastic-coated, tapered fly line, which unlike braided silk lines, did not have to be constantly cleaned and dried in order to float. The Cortland 333 floating lines appeared on the market in 1953, and Scientific Anglers introduced the floating Air Cel in 1954.
70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

NYLON MONOFILAMENT When DuPont, which invented nylon a couple of years earlier, began marketing monofilament fishing lines, they weren't widely accepted. The early material was stiff and difficult to handle and cast, though it had great knot strength and was harder for fish to see. In 1939 DuPont introduced Stren, which was softer and easier to handle on all tackle.
70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

OPEN-FACE SPINNING REELS In 1948, the Mitchell Reel Company of Cluses, France, introduced the Mitchell 300. The big brother of the 300 was the Mitchell 302, used by wide-ranging saltwater anglers fishing everything from yellowtail in the Pacific's rock piles and kelp beds to stripers and blues in the East Coast's suds.
70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

RIGGING CRIMPS Crimps were adaptations of cable sleeves for leader material and followed the development of heavy monofilament, which is difficult to tie in knots. They first became widespread in the 1950s and were probably first sold commercially by Sevenstrand.
70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

PENN INTERNATIONAL In 1966, Penn introduced the International series, specifically built for big-game tournament fishermen, with the world's first preset drag control, as well as a built-in strike stop and trademark anodized gold finish.
70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

FLUOROCARBON In 1971, the Japanese company Seaguar developed fluorocarbon, which it's been manufacturing and selling ever since.
70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

GRAPHITE FISHING RODS Graphite burst on the scene in the early 1970s, when Fenwick introduced its HMG rods, and other manufacturers followed swiftly.
70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

ROLLER GUIDES The first roller guides appeared on big-game rods in the '30s and were produced by Tycoon Tackle in Miami, Florida.
70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

SOFT PLASTIC BAITS Nick Creme of Akron, Ohio, cooked up the first recipe of vinyl, oils and pigment in 1949 and produced a molded worm that stayed soft and pliable - the original soft plastic bait. Following World War II, forerunners of the plastic genre came over the Atlantic from France, with the importation of the Toad, a French Vivif lure. On the West Coast, early members of the plastics family included the Scrounger and the Scampi.
70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

WIND-ON LEADERS Pioneering anglers fishing in Venezuela in the 1960s and '70s reported using wind-on leaders there for the first time.
70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

STAND-UP HARNESSES In the late 1980s, West Coast anglers fishing the long-range, multi-day charters out of San Diego developed this system of short-stroke rods, kidney harness and fighting belt to handle big tuna from the rail of the partyboats that carried them to the fishing grounds in Mexican waters.
70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

70 Years, 70 Innovations I: Tackle

TWO-SPEED REELS Two gear ranges were first incorporated into big-game reels during the '30s and were manufactured by Fin-Nor in South Florida. Part II: Boat Stuff
Part III: Electronics