UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Back Story: Karl White’s history of fishing display

Karl White in his workshop, packing up for Shreveport. Note the red and green Lowrance Fish Lo-K-Tor fishfinders in the foreground.

Karl White hasn't set up a display booth at the Forrest Wood Cup for a couple of years, but he'll be back this year when the FLW Expo opens its doors in the Shreveport Convention Center Aug. 16-18. White, whose vast collection of fishing tackle and equipment is unequalled, is bringing a few old friends with him - Ole Evinrude, the founder of Evinrude; Carl Kiekhaefer, who started Mercury Marine; Lauri Rapala, whose name says it all; and Carl Lowrance, whose "little green box" transformed the fishing world. Of course, White never actually knew most of the pioneers of fishing tackle and equipment, but in a real sense he became a friend and fan of all of them through the products that they introduced. After visitors to the FWC Expo walk through his display booth and view "A History of Fishing," they, too, will know a lot more about the innovators who helped grow the sport. The Oklahoma collector and his wife Beverly will have plenty of rare and unusual articles of fishing history on display at the Expo - everything from ancient Egyptian fish hooks and pre-Columbian fishing tools, to Chinese fishing poles and early American reels worth big bucks. White will also conduct a tackle-collecting seminar at 11 a.m. on Saturday in the Expo, and answer questions that visitors might have about their collectibles. As varied as White's display is, it represents only a small portion of his collection. If he took his entire assemblage of fishing tackle, boats, motors and everything else associated with the sport of fishing to the Expo, it would fill up most of the Shreveport Convention Center - or a museum. Among the rarities that await Expo visitors are products associated with: Mercury outboards originally were made in Cedarburg, Wis., by Kiekhaefer Corporation, which later became Mercury Marine.• Mercury. Mercury Marine started as a company that made outboard motors for others. In 1938, Chicago mail-order retail Montgomery Ward offered an inline 3-cylinder outboard called the Thor. The company that made the motor in Cedarburg, Wis., fell on hard times and was sold to a 33-year-old engineer named Carl Kiekhaefer. His company continued to make outboards for Montgomery Ward under the Thor and Sea King lines, but in 1939 Kiekhaefer also began to produce a 3-horsepower version that he named for the mythological messenger of the gods known for his speed: Mercury. Kiekhaefer won a contract with Western Auto to produce the Wizard line of outboards in 1940. If that wasn't enough, by the end of World War II Keikhaefer Corporation also had become the largest manufacturer of chainsaws in the world. It was in the post-war years that Keikhaefer decided the company needed more room to grow. He bought a dairy farm in Fond Du Lac, Wis., and converted it into the production facility for the Mercury line, which became the company's focus. • Minn Kota. Though electric boat motors predate gas-powered motors, it wasn't until 1934 that O.G. Schmidt of Fargo, N.D., combined a starter motor from a Ford Model A, a flexible shaft and a propeller to fashion an electric motor that clamped to a boat's transom or gunnel. Other fishermen convinced Schmidt that he was on to something, and he formed a company to manufacture the motors. Because his plant was so close to the Minnesota state line, Schmidt decided to call the company Minn Kota. Early Rapala minnow lures and the LIFE magazine in which Rapala was introduced to American fishermen.• Rapala. The Swedish company's balsa minnows date back to 1936, but weren't introduced to the United States until the 50s. The original jerkbaits were covered with candy wrap foil and a malleable film that protected the finish. No other lure before or since made such an impact when it was first brought to the American public's attention via an article in Life Magazine. Plano's first tacklebox was the product of contemporary design and new plastic injection molding processes.• Plano. An Illinois company that perfected injection molding, Plano opened its doors in 1932. The company made plastic boxes, covers and components for various uses, and in 1952 it added tackleboxes. No doubt company founder and avid angler Warren Henning foresaw the demand for lighter and more durable boxes to replace the heavy wooden or metal boxes of the day. That first Plano tacklebox out of the molding shop was mottled green and white, similar to the one White will display in Shreveport. Founded just after the turn of the 20th century, Evinrude was a hit with fishermen right out of the gate.• Evinrude. Ole Evinrude's first outboard motor, which didn't have a skeg and generated about 2 horsepower, was produced beginning in 1907 when Evinrude was 30 years old. Evinrude's design was an instant hit and the mechanical configuration of his patented "marine propulsion mechanism" became the model for all motors built since. Evinrude Motor Company was founded in Milwaukee in 1909 to accommodate the burgeoning demand. The hand-built Evinrude weighed 62 pounds and cost $62. A 1910 newspaper advertisement advised: "Don't Row...use the Evinrude Detachable Row Boat Motor...Clamped on any square stern boat in 2 minutes..." • Lowrance. Though the "little green box" is often referred to as the first Lowrance sonar, it's predated by the red box flasher manufactured for founder Carl Lowrance when the company was located in Joplin, Mo. Dissatisfied with the quality of the red-box units delivered in 1958, Lowrance decided to take over manufacturing in 1959. It made all the difference. Owing to the growing popularity of its Fish Lo-K-Tor fishfinders and the need to expand, the Lowrance company relocated to Tulsa in 1964. • Motorguide. Before Mississippi entrepreneur G.H. Harris came along, anglers who wanted to move along a shoreline slowly either had to scull the boat with a paddle or use an electric trolling motor with tiller steering. In 1947 Harris designed a foot-control model and a patent was granted for it in March 1951. Harris and a partner started making and selling the trolling motor, but in 1961 Harris granted manufacturing rights to Herschede Hall Clock Company of Starkville, Miss., in return for royalties. The company that started life as Guide-Rite, later became MotorGuide. • Folgers. How does the Folgers coffee can, circa 1947, in White's display figure in fishing tackle history? In a big way, as it turns out. In 1947, Texas inventor R.D. Hull used the top from a Folgers can to make the prototype of a new type of reel. According to Hull, his reel would not backlash. Hull successfully pitched the idea to officials of Tulsa's Zero Hour Bomb Company, which made electric time bombs used in fracturing deposits of oil to make it more accessible to drilling. The company's first reel, offered for sale in 1949, was called the Standard. A Model 22 and a Model 33 followed, with the latter proving to be wildly popular with fishermen who were making the switch to "spinning line," as monofilament was known at the time. That first Folgers prototype reel is now encased in the lobby of the company's Tulsa headquarters. In 1956, the Zero Hour Bomb Company's name was shortened to Zebco. As a proud sponsor of FLW, Walmart offers one of the most comprehensive selections of fishing tackle and equipment in the industry. To find great deals on Walmart's entire collection of rods, reels, baits and electronics, click here.

Tags: blog  colin-moore 


Fishing Through the Stress

For some of us, the Forrest Woods Cup’s memories are still fresh. They come back again and again to give us moments of satisfaction and joy as we’re reminded of the great times we had during those hot summer days at Hot Springs. READ MORE »


True Sportsmanship

In recent years it seems I’ve read an increasing number of stories about bass anglers and their lack of common courtesy: hole-jumping, waypoint-stealing, cutting off other anglers – you get the picture. With that in mind, I want to relate an incident that happened to me during the 2015 BFL Regional on the Potomac River. READ MORE »


6 Rules for Fishing Safely in a Kayak

There will never be a replacement for the almighty bass boat. It has secured its place as the tool for the trade on so many types of waters. But there are also places where the fishing kayak reigns supreme, and many of the “who’s who” of bass fishing are discovering that a kayak is a great addition to their fishing and fun tools. READ MORE »


Pink Power Takes the Stage

The reds and golds of autumn have been superseded by pink these days as anglers participating in FLW events have been showing their support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which runs through October. READ MORE »


Mom’s Fishing Lessons

I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of great fishing friends and mentors who helped me become a better angler. However, the best inspiration for my fishing career was my mother, Cheryl, and she also gave me the best advice regarding it. She was a mother who only fished a handful of times in her life, and who was always sure she was going to fly out of my bass boat anytime I got it over 35 mph. But, boy, did she help guide me. READ MORE »


An Unexpected Gift

What a year it has been! As I begin my very first blog post, I am thankful, humbled and extremely proud to call myself a breast cancer survivor. Not necessarily the club one expects or wants to be part of, but I am here to tell you that it has been a gift in so many ways. I know, many of you are thinking a "gift" to be diagnosed with cancer? The answer is yes. READ MORE »


Inaugural FLW Canada Tournament

It’s official: FLW Canada is the first organization to hold a tournament under the auspices of the new FLW international partnership. FLW Canada held its inaugural event, which also was its championship tournament, Sept. 18-20 on Big Rideau Lake near Smith Falls, Ontario. READ MORE »


McDonald Family Battles Breast Cancer

Candy and Billy, the Walmart FLW Tour pro, found out Candy had breast cancer in July, between the final Tour event on the Potomac and the day they left for the ICAST fishing tackle show in Orlando. READ MORE »


How to Catch Big Fall Smallmouths

What's the best time of year to catch lots of big smallmouth bass in the northern United States? Well, get ready, because it's going to happen in the next couple of weeks and continue until the lakes freeze solid. And the best part about it is that often times you will have entire lakes to yourself since most anglers switch gears and start their hunting seasons, leaving the lakes almost completely void of pressure. READ MORE »


First B.A.S.S. TD Passes

Tournament fishing pioneer Harold Sharp is dead at the age of 88. Sharp died peacefully Thursday morning, surrounded by his family at home in Hixson, Tenn., near Chattanooga. READ MORE »


Weekend Angler: Off the Water Practice

Of all the excuses I hear fisherman use when it comes to fishing tournaments, the one that intrigues me the most is, "I haven't been out that much, so I couldn't practice." There is no substitute for time on the water – that is not debatable – but there are things that can be done to assist you in your weekend efforts if you can’t spend every free moment on the water. Below you’ll find just a few tips to hopefully help you become a more efficient angler. READ MORE »


The Good Ol' Days

It’s hard to believe that the dog days of summer will soon be coming to an end, seen in the shortening of days and frigid mornings. For some, fall means hanging up the rods and picking up the bow or shotgun in preparation for the upcoming hunting seasons – for others, falling water temps signify hungry bass stocking up for the descending metabolism of winter. READ MORE »


Strader and Smith Win NoogaStrong

Even Lake Chickamauga seemed to be in a giving Saturday as it served up its late-summer best for anglers in the NoogaStrong Memorial Bass Tournament out of Dayton. Though fishing on the Tennessee River chain typically enters the doldrums in early September, the winning stringer of 21 pounds, 1 ounce brought in by Walmart FLW Tour pro Wesley Strader and his partner, Cary Smith, proved it’s not set in stone. READ MORE »


Knight Breaks Foot, But Plans To Fish

The Tennessee pro broke his right foot Thursday evening as he was preparing to fix a flat tire on his boat trailer in preparation for practicing on the lake Friday morning. The rear tire of the tandem rig was flat, and Knight was holding a chunk of wood in place ahead of the front tire when the accident happened. His wife Becky was driving his truck with trailer attached and Knight asked her to pull up so that the front tire would climb the chunk and the flat rear tied would be suspended. The front tire fell off the chunk, however, and onto Knight’s foot. READ MORE »


Frog fishing 101

People often ask me about what frog I use and when. It’s a good question, because there are many, many frogs available to anglers these days. The answer depends on the situation you expect to encounter. READ MORE »


A Fisherman or Fisher of Men?

It was a series of ups, downs and way downs, though I ended my season with a nice check at the Potomac River. I thought squaring off against a prehistoric reptile in its own backyard was tough, but I have to tell you that fishing against these FLW guys was tougher than dealing with alligators back home. READ MORE »


Rhinos, Bass and Great White Sharks

Tournament fishing in South Africa is pretty solid, with about 500 serious tournament anglers in the country. There are many more recreational anglers in the region too. READ MORE »


Getting Whipped by the Young Bucks

It really goes against all logic, but logic flew out the window again at the recent Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Take the example of Brandon Cobb and Dion Hibdon. Cobb, at the tender age of 25, not only qualified for the Cup (the most difficult championship in the world to qualify for, much less win), but he finished in the top five. READ MORE »


SOAR Derby a Success

Be it children or adults, we all want others to be able to experience the pure joy that we feel when hooked up and battling a fish that we have worked so hard for. READ MORE »


2015 Forrest Wood Cup Off and Running

If the fishing matches the weather on the opening day of the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita, there will be plenty of limit stringers brought to the scales in Hot Springs’ Bank of the Ozarks Arena when the weigh-in commences at 5 p.m. Up until a couple of weather forecasts ago, anglers were anticipating hot, miserable weather during all four days of this, the crowning event of the Walmart FLW Tour season, which is hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Passing thunderstorms Tuesday afternoon brought a pleasant respite to the sultry heat, however, and now Cup contenders only have sulking bass to contend with as they vie for tournament fishing’s richest prize: a winner’s purse of $500,000. READ MORE »