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Surfcasting Plugs and their history Vintage plugs -- Legendary Luremakers - Surfcasting legends


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Old 04-27-2010, 05:17 PM
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Default History of Stan Gibbs

REQUIEM FOR A SURFMAN
By FRANK PINTAURO
Photography By Ed Poore
PUBLISHED IN THE MAY/JUNE 2004 EDITION
OF HUNTING & FISHING COLLECTIBLES MAGAZINE
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I Remember the night like it was yesterday; it was the first night of the down-side of the moon in early November of 1976. The tide was just beginning to ebb, and the wind was from the north at 10-15 mph. The wind would be against the tide just the way we liked it.
My friend, Al Daniels, and I were setting up to troll a small secret rip just east of Gardiner's Island, New York. We were Particularly excited that night as we had just gotten our hands on a bunch of Stan Gibbs GTS-3's and would be trying them out for the first time….. Four hours later we had caught six bass weighing between 33-51 pounds and lost half a dozen other fish that we could just not control.
Since that night more than 25 years ago, I have never been without some type of Gibbs CAST-A-LURE in my trolling or surf bag. They are that good! And so it is with great regret that we report that Cape Cod's legendary fisherman and luremaker, Stan Gibbs, passed away in early February at the age of 89. His death comes at a time when the popularity of his lures he produced from 1946-1972 has never been higher with collectors and fishermen.
Gibbs was born in North Easton, Massachusetts in August of 1914 and lived there through World War II, working in the Hingham Shipyard. After the war, he and his wife moved to Buzzards Bay; and Stan pursued fishing for striped bass with a passion, supplementing his fishing efforts by trapping and hunting mink, otter, and muskrats in the off-season.
It was there at Buzzard's Bay in 1946 that Stan first began to whittle popper plugs for his own use. (His tools at the time consisted of a jack-knife and red fingernail polish!) The first ones were crude, but the caught lots of stripers; and pretty soon people were taking notice and asking him to make them some. Stan figured that he made 400 lures that first winter and 1200 the winter after. By then he knew he was onto something.
Those first few post-World War II years were an exciting time for fishermen as they were discovering the thrill of surf fishing which, up to that point, had been a recreational activity that only the rich could enjoy. A host of lure makers, from up and down the coast, Like Charlie Russo, Charlie Murat, Bob Pond, Jerry Ferron and Stan, began to cater to this new fishing crowd. But few had the staying power of Stan Gibbs CAST-A-LURE !
After his initial success, Gibbs worked on developing more models for fishermen to choose from so that they could match their tackle with the fishing conditions they would face. The Darter was designed for Cape fishing, but it was the rips and currents of Montauk Point (Long Island), N.Y. that brought out the best of the lure's erratic side-to-side action. Under the lighthouse at Montauk, lure selection was so simple that by the 1960s all the guys carried in their surf bag was a collection of big yellow Darters and 3 oz. Casting Swimmers.
The "bottleplug" or GS Swimmers, had been made famous in October of 1958 when Ralph Gray, fishing with famed outdoor writer Frank Woolner from a tin boat in Provincetown, Massachusetts waters, caught a 68- pound striper on a Gibbs GS-2 model. At that time it was the largest striper caught in over 45 years!
It did not take long for Gibbs' reputation as a lure innovator to spread up and down the striper coast. Living next door to the "greatest research tank in the world,"-the Cape Cod Canal with its powerful currents on one side and the legendary sandy beaches of the outer Cape on the other - Gibbs was able to experiment on the most important striper ground known to man.
And what an experimental time it was! Stan's designs were opening up new methods and new concepts in lure making and fishing. Frank Woolner, in an early 1950s SALT WATER SPORTSMAN MAGAZINE article titled, "The Mighty Midgets," praised Stan's efforts in pioneering light "artificials" for schoolie bass fishing.
In a 1958 catalog, Gibbs wrote: "First we test them- Next we prove them - Only then do we make them." These words would prove to be prophetic as Gibbs was about to embark on the most creative period of his lure-making career. While there were a number of designs that would not make it into production in the near term, Gibbs would unveil one great innovation after another. This time period yielded:
The Pencil Popper (PP) Probably one of the most widely copied lures ever made. The sleek tapered design minimized wind resistance and added extra distance to the cast. The PP had an incredible ability to raise fish when nothing else would work. Stan also designed a 5 oz. PP that was used exclusively in the Cape Cod Canal.
The Polaris (POL) It cast like a rocket but had the dual ability to swim underwater as well as on the surface.
The Copy Cat (CC) -It was made to compete with Rebel and Rapala. It caught lots of fish but was proved to be impractical to produce and thus was discontinued very quickly (which is why they are so hard to find).
The Gibbs Trolling Swimmer (GTS)- It was produced in a variety of sizes. Stan had observed that more and more surf men were taking to tin boats and that trolling was becoming more popular all the time. His Line of lures had become so successful that he decided to market them to the Great Lakes Region.
By 1972 Gibbs' production had reached a peak; but his wife, Celia, was sick, and Stan sold the business. His son John signed an agreement to stay on as a manager. Five years later, the business was sold again, with John staying on board one more time. Then, Finally, in 1982 John Gibbs bought the business back and really "brought it home"
In the early 1990s Stan had another creative renaissance and began carving miniature fish - specializing in striped bass, bluefish, weakfish, and some popular freshwater species. He unveiled them in 1992 at a fishing show in Buzzard's Bay, Massachusetts' and they sold like hot cakes. He had done it again. He always knew what the fishermen wanted! Gibbs would always remind his customers to EXPERIMENT… "Fill your tackle bag with good tricks as well as good lures!" he said repeatedly.
As we write this, the striped bass has once again begun its great northern migration…. Somewhere along a striper beach this spring, the first without Stan in more than eight decades, a lone surfcaster in the deep of night, silhouetted against the May Moon, will pause to clip on a fresh Gibbs lure; and another new striper season will begin…. What greater testimonial to a trailblazer could there be!
The author wishes to thank Ed Poore and Roy Curley for the lures and information used in this article.
Readers wishing to contact the writer may do so by calling 516-741-7044 or emailing Masterlure@aol.com

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Old 04-27-2010, 05:20 PM
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Default Re: History of Stan Gibbs

STAN GIBBS:
"IN HIS OWN WORDS"
by Frank Pintauro-Photograpy by Ed Poore
Published in the March-April 2005 edition of
Hunting & Fishing Collectibles Magazine
The reaction that Ed and I received to the Bob Pond interview in the last issue (Jan-Feb 2005) was so overwhelming that we decided to run Ed's 1991 interview with Stan Gibbs in this present number. While we featured stan's career last year in a special memorial tribute (May-Jun 2004), we felt that the information was fresh, and we knew our readers would appreciate it. So, please sit back and enjoy Stan "In His Own Words."

ED POORE: Its January 15th, 1991. I'm talking with Stan Gibbs,
the famous lurebuilder.
STAN GIBBS: (Laughs) Not famous. Well Known
POORE: Well known, yeah. The infamous
GIBBS: Yeah.
POORE: What, uh, how did you get involved in making plugs.

GIBBS: Well, I was always handy with my hands, you know, carving wood and all kinds of things. And, during the war you Couldn't buy anything anywhere. So if you was going to have anything, you know, you had to make something yourself. And then what happened was that what few Plugs you could buy didn't work because they didn't do what the fish wanted. You know, they didn't duplicate The baitthat the fish was feeding on or anything. But a friend on mine in Mansfield made a popper andthat more than anything got me interested in it.
They used to make a few of their own to fish with. But They were not interested in marketing it so they told me To go ahead and make it. So that I think some of the first Poppers I made were sort of designed somewhat after one that they had. They got me started into it.
POORE: Yeah.
GIBBS: And then I began to see what different things happened, you Know, from different designs what kind of actions and so Forth that it caused by different cuts in the wood.
POORE: Oh, yeah.
GIBBS: So then I began to learn how to design the plug so I Could make it do what I wanted it to do. And…
POORE: Well that must have been time consuming itself.
GIBBS: Oh, yeah, it was. Yeah. I had a good path worn From my house to the canal, you know. I'd go and work on a plug And take it over to the canal and make a few casts with it. And take it home and work on it some more and go back And make a few more casts. Constantly back and forth, Back and forth until I got it the way I wanted it. Not only to fish right but also so that it cast well. You know, that, to me that was an important part of it. Being able to cast it to me was almost the most important part.
POORE: Yeah.
GIBBS: But of course it had to do the job once you got it Where you wanted it.
POORE: Well, that was a big improvement cause a lot, a lot
Of Plugs that I see from the '40s didn't have that Much Weight to them.
GIBBS: There was nobody! Nobody made a plug that you Could Get to the fish with. I was the first one.
POORE: You do that with a combination of aerodynamics and, uh, And weighting the lure in certain locations?
GIBBS: Yes…and of course, once you do one thing, you sacrifice, you take something away. You know, if you started adding more weight, you're going to lose some action. So, you got to find a happy medium.
POORE: Yeah. So the first plugs you made for production Were poppers?
GIBBS: Yeah. They were poppers and I think I made four Hundred the first year. And I sold them at local Tackle shops in Buzzard's Bay. Plus Nickel Hardware, red top, Jocko the Beachcomber and Marble Hardware. They all sold my lures.
POORE: Yeah. What year was that that you made your first Four Hundred?
GIBBS: '46? '46 or '47
POORE: And there were no boxes for the ones the first year?
GIBBS: No. And they were made out of ash. And they're All red. Reddish color, sort of a reddish brown color, yeah. And they were all poppers.
POORE: After the initial 400, you did a few different paint Styles on the big popper. What did you call them?
GIBBS: I made that with a template and that peticular one we called silver blue.
POORE: What about the saw- toothed one?
GIBBS: No name really. That was just a design I happened
To Think of and that was a template too. I did them Free Hand with an airbrush.
POORE: So the earliest ones with the undefined edges on the Paint---
GIBBS: Those would be the old ones. Those are hand done.
They have orangey-yellow eyes in a small black Center. The ones done with a template have a bigger Black dot with the banana yellow eyes. You can tell
The earliest poppers by the hooks too. Look for the Ones with the little small round eye.
POORE: what was the evolution of the packaging?
GIBBS: The white box with the wire loop ends was the first
Box, then the red box was the next one. Cliff Davis, The sports writer, designed the red box. He was a Friend of ours.
POORE: So the white box with the paper labels and wire ends
Was the first box and then the red ones with the two Piece cardboard came in around 1950 ish?
GIBBS: Something like that, Yeah.
POORE: Yeah. And ran up until the red box with the plasticTop?
GIBBS: Yes, the plastic see-through top. And the reason we came up with that was because a few tackle shops said, you gotta have these see through boxes. Everyone is doing it. So we went ahead and had those made. And they cost us a fortune too. Those boxes cost us eighteen cents a piece! At the time that was a lot of money for a box. Then eventually we went to the cardboard packagingwith the cellophane bag which we did for a nickel. So buisness-wise it was a good move, and on top of that you still got a good display item because with holes in the cardboard they just hang them on pegboards.
POORE: Did you ever make the lures and sign them in a production way, like stamp the bottom, CASTALURE or anything like that.
GIBBS: No, I never signed any lures except the centennials.
POORE: Oh, the bicentennials from '76? And those are hand -signed script?
GIBBS: Those are hand signed
POORE: How many of those were made.
GIBBS: I Think it was, John says it was twenty-six. But twenty, twenty-six, I think he said. But I think I said twenty-two. Its either twenty-two or twenty-six.
POORE: Well, you know, I heard a third story yet. I heard that it was going to be two dozen and one of them got goofed up, the paint ran or something. So then there was only twenty-three.
GIBBS: Oh Yeah ?
POORE: And those were painted like the American flag?
GIBBS: Yeah, well that's why, You know, color-wise, that's why I made them. You know, like the American flag- red, white and blue. You know what, you're jogging my memory. There was one other time I made a dozen plugs for some Admiral in the Navy. This Lieutenant wanted some plugs made and he wanted them signed. And he ordered them special to give the Admiral for christmas or a birthday present. I can't remember. So I hired a sign painter to paint the name on the lures which, looking back, I think was foolish. That was the only other time I ever
signed my plugs. (actually, Gibbs did autograph some of his lures at a Buzzard's Bay show in 1992)
POORE: I hear you talked about all kinds of friends who helped you improve the business and do this and that. Can you comment on that?
GIBBS: You know, I can't take half the credit for what went on during the years. I gotta give a big part of it to these different people that helped me. One friend who knew how to use an airbrush and taught me how to use it, you know. Then anouther one taught me how to do this, and someone else would teach me how to do that. And, cause I never had any of that experience. But I was always quite clever with my hands and things; but to go ahead and do all these things right from scratch, you have to learn from somewhere.
POORE: I would bet the lures you made the greatest number of were the bigger ones. The smaller ones were more of a specialty item.
GIBBS: Well, you know, it depends. Certain years one size would sell better than the other. It would depend on the fish, the bait and stuff that the fish were feeding on. And the size of the fish that were prevailing. You know, if you had a lot of schoolies, chances are they're feeding on smaller bait. So that year, when you had a big run on schoolies and not many big
fish, you'd sell all kinds of small lures. You wouldn't sell any big plugs.
POORE: Must have been difficult to figure out.
GIBBS: It was. I remember one year we sold so many yellow plugs in New York- that was the big color for them, that I made about four gross extra of yellow for the next season. And that season they didn't want any yellow! At the end of the year I had almost half those four gross still left. The next year they wanted the blues and whites… So you never know.
POORE: You were one of the first to do the mackerel paint job, right?
GIBBS: Uh yeah, We made mackerel. I forgot that. Yeah.
POORE: Right. I think mackerel was painted on everything at one time or another.
GIBBS: Oh yeah, I did. On everything.
POORE: Oh. That must have been to tough a paint job for people to want to mess with.
GIBBS: No. Well, it wasn't too long before they started copying me. In fact, I made the nicest looking one. Of course, Dick Vegan worked for me at one time. And he had all my secrets and he quit me and went to Point Jude. And took my secrets and gave them
to them. And then they come out with plugs with my mackerel designs on them.
POORE: Boy, that's a kick in the rear, huh?
GIBBS: Sure is.
POORE: Tell me about the thing called the Canal Special Pencil Poppers
GIBBS: They weighed three and an eighth ounces. The regular ones that size were two and seven/eighths. So they weighed three / eighths of an ounce more. They had a flat bottom and more weight in the tail. That would make them plane and stay on top better.
POORE: So that was, was that kind of a special plug designed for the canal?
GIBBS: That was a special plug designed for me personally. Because as I got older I could'nt cast as far as these young fellows. And by Jesus I did something about it. So I made this plug that would outcast them all. And then they got to using them and that was it. They were still out casting me though.
POORE: That's so funny!
GIBBS: So that was the purpose of that. Yeah.
POORE: So did those eventually go into production or did you sell them out of the shop only?
GIBBS: No, I just sold them out of the shop, maybe a hundred a year or something. Those Canal Specials never went into tackle shops. I always use to keep enough on the wire because you made a special and sold it close to retail so you're putting more money in your pocket!
POORE: What about the 5 ounce Pencil Poppers?
GIBBS: Well, originally I made those for a couple guys out in California that wanted big Pencil Poppers to fish for some pretty big sized stripers out there. They worked real good!
POORE: Well you know what else might be interesting is the years you owned the business and the times that it changed hands and, you know, who bought it and then what they did with it when they bought it. Like I know that one guy went into Danny
Plugs and, you know, this, there, down the years, down the road there will be confusion there about…
GIBBS: Bill Pew bought it off me. I think it was around 1975 and I think he ran it for about 3 years and then sold it to Charlie Bardelly. Charlie was the one that bought out Danny Plugs. My son John was running both places but then Charlie got out
and he sold to John. Charlie ran it like a big business. And you can't do that. It wasn't a big business…John had the business for ten or eleven years but now its up in Bedford with Jim and Debbie Griecci.
(Thanks to Roy Curley for his support in Developing this article. Readers wishing to contact the writer may do so by calling 516-741-7044 or by emailing-- masterlure@aol.com)
 
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Old 04-27-2010, 08:04 PM
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Default Re: History of Stan Gibbs

Awsome story, and excellent read.
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Old 04-29-2010, 07:42 PM
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Default Re: History of Stan Gibbs

I got quite a few old lures from Frank (the author). The history and collections are fascinating to me - I have a small collection of my own, and a few I exchanged with him. He wanted to know everything about the aquisitions and the people involved who owned the old lures and how they happened upon them.
I still have a few very rare ones and others I need to pry away from a dumass.
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Old 04-29-2010, 09:33 PM
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Default Re: History of Stan Gibbs

Quote:
Originally Posted by striperjim View Post
I still have a few very rare ones and others I need to pry away from a dumass.
Haha!

Could you post some pictures of these plugs? Curious to see what they looked like back in the day.
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Old 04-29-2010, 09:53 PM
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Default Re: History of Stan Gibbs

I want to keep this thread to Stan Gibbs lures. I will post some of my Gibbs lures and castalure boxes.
But I have to organize a bit and take some pictures.
I have a ton of stuff of other stuff (old pics and ads) but they arent from my collection.
I actually started this forum to expound on some of the old builders and the history. I'll keep it going

Below is a Stan Gibbs woody
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Old 04-29-2010, 09:54 PM
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Default Re: History of Stan Gibbs

Boston Globe article on his passing

Stan Gibbs at 89;
Created a fishing lure, Built a business.

By Tom Long - Boston Globe Staff
The Boston Globe, Thursday, February 5, 2004

As the founder of a fishing lure company, Stan Gibbs lived a recreational fishermans dream; he actually figured out a way to make a living angling.
"Originally the lures were an excuse for him to fish, but eventually he had to go fishing to promote the business," Bruce gibbs of chatham said yesterday. "But it wasn't always fun."
His father, 89, the developer of Stan Gibbs Lures, died Tuesday in Liberty Common Nursing home in Chatham.
Mr. Gibbs was born in Easton where he first angled for sunfish and trout in local lakess and ponds. he soon was lured to bigger quarry: bluefish and striped bass landed from the banks of the cape cod Canal.
Fifty-nine years ago the call of the gamefish became so intense that he left his job with the easton Tree Department and moved his family to a small cottage in sagamore, for which he paid about $4,500.
"We moved down lock, stock and barrel, and he began fishing commercially," said bruce, who often accompanied his father when the fish were running. "Some nights there were hundreds of fishermen, about 10 or 12 feet apart on both sides of the canal, and the water was alive with fish."
Mr. Gibbs a championship caster, was a tall, muscular man who also trapped muskrat, mink, and racoons in the marshes of the cape. "He was always a go-getter," said his son. Sometimes he fished so many hours, he would sleep standing up."
But he was unhappy with the lures available: freshwater plugs couldn't endure the rigors of surfcasting, and the hooks were too weak for the beefy stripers and bluefish. Mr Gibbs began carving out his own out of Pine.
One night he landed 125 fish on the cape cod canal; on another memorable trip to Pleasant bay in orleans he caught 1,100 pounds of fish.
Of course the other fishermen noticed, and ecause mr. Gibbs was primarily a surf caster, other anglers could easily check out his gear.
"They kept hounding him for his lures, his son said. "He made one, then three, then half a dozen; soon tackle shops were asking for them."
With the help of his sons, Mr. Gibbs began turning them out in the cellar of his cottage. "He had a little lathe in the root cellar. He'd pass them out the window and we'd paint them in a little shanty out back," his son said.
Mr. Gibbs opened his lure business in 1948 and ran it for 26 years, before selling the company. Gibbs lures is now located in Cumberland Rhode Island where stann Gibbs poppers are still turned out.
Besides his son Bruce, Mr. gibbs leaves two other sons, John of Florida and Wompisik Unnoken of Sgamore; a brother, Kenneth of westwood; and 11 grandchildren.
There will be no funeral. In accordance with Mr. Gibbs's wishes, his remains will be cremated and scattered in the Cape Cod canal.
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Old 04-29-2010, 10:06 PM
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Default Re: History of Stan Gibbs

I have that magazine with that article sent to me by Frank himself. Along with other good articles, including one on CapT Bill plugs.
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Old 04-29-2010, 10:10 PM
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Is that plug original? And did he leave some natural wood finish like that? Btw sweet article, looking foward to more.
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Old 04-29-2010, 10:10 PM
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Default Re: History of Stan Gibbs

Jim, I sold Frank some of my Russos.
A real gentleman.
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Old 04-29-2010, 10:16 PM
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Gibbs Catalogue

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Old 04-29-2010, 10:19 PM
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Funny thing is the fishing equipment has come such a long way, yet decades later the lures are virtually the same...i guess that says something about the lures...
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Old 04-30-2010, 12:58 AM
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Old 04-30-2010, 12:58 AM
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Old 04-30-2010, 01:00 AM
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