The Bard of Bait
If you can believe it, there was actually a guy who devoted much of his adult life to writing about using bait for fishing.
Vlad Evanoff was born of Russian immigrant parents in New York City in 1916. He got his first taste of saltwater fishing on the Steeplechase Pier in Brooklyn, and over time he acquired an education in drawing and painting. He was drafted into the Army in 1941, deployed to North Africa and returned stateside to start a freelance career in advertising and comic book art.
Evanoff continued to fish and, in 1948, wrote a book about surf fishing. Following that success, he penned more than a dozen outdoor titles, many of which were compendiums of tips and tricks for outdoorsmen, particularly anglers.
He soon began writing for fishing magazines. He contributed a monthly column to Salt Water Sportsman called “Natural Baits,” a two-thirds-page treatise on collecting and using saltwater baits. He wrote that column for a decade or more and was still doing so when I was hired at SWS as associate editor in 1977. He wrote perhaps 40 or 50 columns during my tenure before he retired, and I cannot remember him ever repeating a subject bait.
In 1975, Evanoff decided to combine many of the “Natural Baits” columns with others he had written for Jersey Angler
News into a book aptly titled Fishing With Natural Baits. This 264-page volume, illustrated in pen and ink by Evanoff, is still considered the standard reference of bait fishing. Used copies are available on Amazon.com starting at $2.50, a bargain for the amount of lore between the covers.
Although I occasionally corresponded with Evanoff when I was at SWS, I never met him. I wish I had. Anyone who can fill 264 pages on fishing with bait is my kind of guy.