SO - Striped Bass Fishing


SO - Striped Bass Fishing
11:55 AM
Page 48
(# 15 in a Series)
by Frank Pintauro Photography by Ed Poore
n the three years Ed and I have
been producing this column we
have had a number of requests
for information about a variety
of different lures and their makers.
As I have stated on a number of occasions, facts about most of these shortlived companies are hard to come by,
and tracking down the people who
Charles Cinto may
have caught the
world's largest
Striper on a No.20
"Big Daddy"
swimmer, but as
this historic signed
photo to Stan Gibbs
attests, Cinto still
felt his good friend
was one of the best
GOO GOO EYES tackle shop display
board used in the early 1960s.
EYES Popper made
to look like a
wounded baitfish
flopping on its side.
Cooper made these
in a few different
Hunting & Fishing Collectibles Magazine
11:56 AM
Page 49
Before he was a well known lure maker, Cooper was a noted flytier. The baby fly
rod popper combines the best of Cooper's skills and is a rare item. The baby
swimmer was designed for shallow water casting.
The 1-oz. "Mini" or "Small Fry" casting
swimmers were designed after the "Big
Daddy". I never had much success with them,
but I'm told that they were used with deadly
results in coves and estuaries.
A pair of GOO GOO EYES Jac Pot's.
Their needlefish-like action was a killer on the bass.
made them is harder still. Time is our
enemy, and with each passing day
opportunity slips through our hands.
We like our research to be as solid as
possible; and while anecdotal information is valuable, we usually hesitate to publish anything until we can
find jobbers, fisherman, friends or
family members who can verify our
We have been asked about GOOGOO EYES on a number of occasions. This is probably because as the
value of striper lures has increased
ten-fold over the past decade, GOOGOO EYES have remained very
affordable to the average collector.
Additionally, they have achieved
mythical status for striper addicts;
but more on that later. So, we have
decided to give into the requests and
share what information we know
about the company. Let’s call it a
work-in-progress because this is one
company that we should be able to
get excellent research on…... if only
we had the time.
GOO-GOO EYES burst onto the
scene in the spring of 1957. The
March 29th issue of The New York
Times outdoor column declared:
“Stripers Are Making Goo-Goo Eyes
at Goo-Goo Eye Plugs in
While most striper sharpies catch
a few scattered “schoolie” fish in the
A darter-sized GOO GOO EYES. We wish we knew what it was called.
It's the only one we have ever seen.
A pair of very early and large JAC-POTS. The jointed Jac-Pot is
eel-igged with a skin cut in the waist. Only a few of these are known.
November-December, 2005
11:57 AM
Page 50
The burlap styled box was probably the earliest GOO
GOO EYES packaging followed by the silver styled
box. The plastic see-through boxes and peg board
packaging came much later.
spring, this news was particularly
noteworthy because of the size of the
fish they caught. Leo Cooper, father
of the GOO-GOO EYES line of lures
and well-known flytier and plug
designer, led the charge over a threenight period.
On the last night of this “once in a
lifetime” blitz, Leo and his buddies
had to stop fishing because the boat
would not hold any more fish. Leo
had caught twenty-one cow bass
between 20-44 pounds and had to
throw numerous fish back. All this
fishing was done in just a few feet of
water off Todd’s Point in Greenwich
Cove, CT. All fish were caught on a
jointed redhead GOO-GOO EYES…
.and just like that, the GOO-GOO
EYES line of lures was launched.
By 1958, Cooper was advertising
in the Salt Water Sportsman magazine touting twelve different lure
A couple of early pikie-sized
GOO GOO EYES baits in excellent condition.
The "Big Daddy" and the "Husky Dude" When trolled from a boat, their
constant shimmering and sliding action drove the bass wild; and on June 16,
1967 off Cuttyhunk, MA the "Big Daddy" proved it.
models from 1/2 oz. to 3 1/2 oz.
under the company name Stamford
Products, Ltd.
There would be other dramatic
moments for Cooper and his lures.
On June 16, 1967, while fishing with
famed Cuttyhunk striper guide,
Capt. Frank Sabatowski, Charles E.
Cinto caught a 73-pound striper on a
No. 20 “Big Daddy” GOO-GOO
EYES lure. Up to that time it was the
largest striper ever caught on an artificial lure.
For Cooper and his company this
was a Hall of Fame moment! The
company advertised this world
record heavily in Salt Water
Sportsman and other outdoor publications into the early 70s, but then a
Associates, Inc. (RAJA) from
Hicksville, New York was doing the
advertising. Was this a distributor?
Or a partner? This lead needs our
follow-up (if we just had the time!).
So GOO-GOO EYES fans, there
you have what we know! As of this
writing, Ed is following up on a lead
we have from a Stamford, CT tackle
shop that claims to know a guy who
fished with Leo Cooper all the time.
Keep your fingers crossed! (Readers wishing to contact
writer Frank Pintauro may do so by
calling: 516-741-7044 or by emailing:
[email protected] )
Hunting & Fishing Collectibles Magazine