Sports Show Displays


As the weather cools we start to think about sports shows. What new products will we see that we have to get? How will we upgrade our exhibit of the Historical Fishing Display to be possibly featured at the upcoming Chicago Outdoor Sport Show in Rosemont January 2016 and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sports Show in March?

The recent find of a photograph from a sports show from over 65 years ago gives us huge smiles. Bill Cullerton’s daughter Cindy gave us a number of files with catalogs, fliers and photographs after Bill passed away.

Years ago, I wrote on the history of the Jamison Bait Company. Cullerton’s grandfather Bill Jamison owned the business. He passed away in 1948. This left his mother as the titular head of the company and Cullerton the head of operations. Bill looked around for new items and ideas for the fishing market.

He found a man in Kansas who had a unique bobber that would whistle when pulled under the water. Sam Lando, an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) who made lures for many companies over the years, developed a way to make them.

When the Jamison Whistling Bobber was introduced everyone wanted one. They sold a ton of them and could have sold many more, but they could only make 1,400 per shift. Even with night shifts they couldn’t keep up with a market that would have consumed 5,000 per shift.

The Jamison Display at the 1948 Chicago Sport Show featured their new ‘Whistling Bobber.’ (Wouldn’t it be great to find their exhibit model?)
The Jamison Display at the 1948 Chicago Sport Show featured their new ‘Whistling Bobber.’

We’ve talked to many who enjoyed this product starting in 1948. One lady called when Cullerton had me as a guest on his very popular WGN Radio Great Out of Doors show each Saturday. She owned a home on a lake and the water around their dock was loaded with big crappies and bluegills. They hosted guests to a drinking/fishing session on the dock using the Jamison Whistling Bobbers.

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Each time the whistle sounded they all had a sip. She was down to her last bobber and wanted me to find more. They shared many laughs and fish dinners.

Our friend Bill Sonnett wrote in his book, Deconstructing Old Ads Volume 1 and 2, on

 “ … I had somehow talked Granny into buying me a fishing bobber that I’d been eying for some
   time at the Firestone store. It was called the ‘Jamison Whistling Bobber,’ and what a beauty it
   was: bright red and white, with hole, whistle, air chamber, and no telling what else on it. After
bathtub testing, it was judged to be at the cutting edge of modern scientific fishing technology!
   The first test for the bobber proved to be a great success. From the first cast (pulling line off the
   reel and hand throwing it into the creek) great fun was achieved. At first, just hearing the faint    
   whistle as the bobber started sinking when the bullhead headed down with the fat worm in his
   mouth was quite a thrill. Then I’d close my eyes and set the hook as the whistle began singing.
   Later, I would turn my back until alerted by the whistle of the wonderful ‘Jamison Whistling
   Bobber,’ then turn to do battle with the foolish fish that would dare try making off with my


Dan Basore is a fishing historian and steward of the history of the sport. In his efforts to preserve fishing history, Basore is always on the lookout for information about early lure makers, old lures, pre-level wind reels, manufacturer catalogs, tournament casting items and the like. If you possess information or materials that can help, please contact Dan Basore, Historical Fishing Display, at 630-393-3474 or 800-347-4525.