The Bard of Bait

Anglers Journal - - FIRST LIGHT - — B.G.

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.

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