Vintage ads of all types are fun to look at. You’re instantly transported to a different time, with different norms, and different expectations. As you might guess, we especially love vintage fishing ads. For better or worse, we’re going to share some of favorites with you over the next few weeks. Some of them are great, some miss the mark, and some are downright weird.
This first series is from the Western Fishing Line Company (now TUF-Line) and features mermaids. For the full effect you have to read the accompanying story:
ONCE there was a man named Gus, who was bait-casting in a lake and foul-hooked a mermaid. When he reeled in and saw what was on his plug, he was furious. “Beat it, sister,” he hollered. “G’wan, scram! Can’t a guy fish in peace without some dizzy fish-tail dame butting in? Take off!”
I can’t, stupid,” said the mermaid, “I’m hooked right in the – well, see for yourself.” “Gosh,” said Gus, blushing, “you sure are! Here, take my pliers.” While the mermaid was unhooking herself, Gus said, “Don’t you know no better than to fall for a bass plug, dopey?” “Sure I know better,” said the mermaid, “but this one what chugging along without a line on it! When I swam over to investigate, I accidentally got hooked. How can you fish a plug without a line?”
“I got a line, blondie,” said Gus, “but it’s one of them ‘W-40’ Bait Casting Lines, with the new scientific camouflage color that makes it practically invisible to fish. Also, ‘W-40’ Bait Casting Lines are smaller-diameter than other lines of the same test, so they’re less visible on that score, too. It’s on account of Western’s exclusive ‘Hot Stretch’ process that removes surpl – hey, come back with them pliers, toots!” “In a minute, mac,” said the mermaid, and sure enough she was back in a minute with an armload of bass. “Here,” she said, throwing a couple of dozen big bass into the boat, “this will make up for spoiling your fishing. So long!”
As the mermaid was disappearing into the depths of the lake a warden came buy, found the big mess of bass in Gus’s boat and hauled him off to a magistrate, who fined him fifty dollars for exceeding the creel limit. When Gus explained about the mermaid the judge fined him another ten bucks for being drunk.
We kind of like the whole caught a mermaid because you’re hi-tech fishing line was invisible to her thing. We’re not so sure about the part where he seems to be getting romantically involved. It seems like it would be hard to make it work. Of course, it all turned out fine in the end of Splash, right? Anyway, check out these great old ads. We tried to arrange them in what might be chronological order.