In three years that I spent putting the SJ together I’ve read every word, every single letter, every sentence. Then, when I “graduated” to camera and actually learned a little more other than to push record button, I did most of the interviews on camera. My wife would then spend hours and hours typing this off the video. What can I say, it’s a family affair in my household. Wife does reading, my little girl helps with invoices and my son? He just breaks balls…someone got to do that too. But if works for us.

Anyway, I don’t get into the material often. Other then few tribute pieces about people that we knew that passed away, like Al Bentsen, or the INSANE Rich Trox story last year I really never get touched by a piece. That is why I was surprised when I listened to Donny Musso talk on camera last year about his early days and friendship with Danny Pichney, what part Campo played, and why the darter got thinner and became the shape you see it today in stores.

I was fascinated by three things. First, the man has so many plugs he has never showed to anyone its crazy. Hand carved stuff he keeps to himself and for himself. I find it amusing when some dudes in recent years claimed they invented hand carving lures. Just like that dude who claims he invented swimming with a wetsuit. You will hear it when I start working on the Montauk Time and Tide series for SJ readers that they swam in wetsuits as early as 1960’s in Montauk.


The second thing that kind of touched me was the Danny/Donny dynamic, how they did stuff together, how Don was told not to go to meeting to sell stuff because of his “hot Italian temper”. That was funny. I was surprised that they made plugs together and yet at same time made the things on their own and sold them on their own. The story of Danny importing 60 000 metal lips swimmers from former Yugoslavia , finding out none of them work and still dumping them on the market is crazy. I just can’t help it, I love the historical stuff. That is why I am thrilled that we got a permission from Frank Pintauro’s family to continue his legacy and continue featuring his articles on old lures starting in March issue again.

But what really got me was their Danny/Donny break up and why. I gave Donny multiple opportunities not to answer this question if he was not comfortable. He chose to bare his soul. I was always under the impression that they broke up over the metal lip swimmer but that wasn’t the case. Anyone else fascinated by the twenty page Musso interview? That is if you finished reading it all. I know it took my wife forever to type it.issue17web

Stay tuned for a giveaway tomorrow of this super sweet new Super Strike Purple Haze color darter. We’ll do the giveaway for our SJ subscribers only. I want to make sure that those who are subscribers get the first crack on everything, including giveaways

Purple Haze2

16 comments on “History…

  1. Zeno Post author

    I only exist in your mind…lol
    but i do have to speak at RISAA this year so now I will probably get exposed for the fraud that i am…a keyboard surfcaster 🙂

  2. NoobGoogenhiem

    It is funny you mention this because after all was said and done and i read cover to cover I continued to think the following.

    If I knew someone copied a plug that I considered to be a close acquaintance I would have been tremendously insulted to the point of a lawsuit. And as far as the swimmer/redfin stuff I understand his money was tied up for his home which is understandable….but who doesn’t return a prototype back after a year and say “I found someone who wants to duplicate this”. The damage is done and most likely the third party has every millimeter of the plug sketched out anyway…

    This is solely my opinion but afterwards I felt awful for Don. Like he was stabbed twice in the back. And then I thought why does everyone call these plugs “Danny Style” …instead of “Donny” style. May sound silly but his involvement seemed infinitely more impactful than I feel most folks give him credit for.

    Not trying to rant but I honestly felt he was slighted and treated disrespectfully. Sure there are two sides to every story but after reading interview after interview and article after article I come away pissed off for his sake.

    Maybe I am off the mark here.

    I also understand folks do “tribute” lures and bag makers essentially modernize Coastal, Featherlight, Hunter style bags from decades before to fit modern surfcasters needs…but how many times do these originators get the credit and popularity they deserve? I can’t believe how many spins, dannys, conrads, needles, whatever plugs just seem like a ripoff of someone else that came before them? Not EVERY plug maker falls into this category but you only have to walk a few feet into a show to find copies of the greatest plugs ever turned on nearly every table.

  3. NoobGoogenhiem

    Side note I have to get my hands on some needles and darters in this purple haze and the Block Copper as soon as Steve’s paint fumes clear. I am a pretty much blurple//bone/green guy but translucents are a skunk breaker when I typically least expect it.

    I have to say Z….it was creepy to be on the same wavelength tonight. After getting teased about a full interview weeks back with Don I think it was a cornerstone for me in #17.

  4. Zeno Post author

    Noob..i like your CT Matt handle better 🙂
    besides “NoobGoogenhiem ” is tradmarked SJ term..they might be royalties due..haha

  5. noob googenheim

    Crap…I knew I wouldn’t be able to live a life of lies. Can I roll the royalities into my subscription? lol


  6. woodwker99

    Matt, Noob? I’m confused as to what you will call yourself, but never mind, I’m right there with you about Don and giving props to those who blazed the trail. But in this day and age it’s hard to find an original idea. Just too many people in the game.
    Z, Tommy and crew…. I have to give you guys props for all the improvements. This goes light years beyond anything you could put to print.
    I want to know one thing though…. am I able as a subscriber to download the mag so I can keep it on a hard drive for ever like I could if this was in print???? just a thought. I know I will be able to look back to the archives to read over and over again all the great info you guys pass to us. It’s just a question …..

  7. CTMatt

    Woodwker I think Z and the gang mentioned they were afraid one day to wake up and see a given issue plastered/downloaded all over the net illegally. nobody wants to see that happen. Personally as a subscriber, I’ll say you have online access to every issue back to #1 in the archives. That is a lot of material at your fingertips. If you have an internet/data connection, you can read SJ anywhere on virtually any device. But I’ll let that come from Tommy/Z’s mouth.

  8. chuckr

    great story, can’t believe how honest don was in this interview about the breakup.. I agree with NoobGoogenhiem about calling “these plugs “Danny Style” …instead of “Donny” style.” Sheesh you can’t trust anyone 🙁

  9. bob jones

    First of all, let me say that I consider Don my friend and I am one of the biggest fans of his work, as most of you know. I enjoy listening to him tell his recollections of lure building history. The best! And the plugs that he and Steve continue to make are the best.
    As far as the Danny Pichney claims, we are only hearing one side of the story. Danny Pichney is dead and unable to respond. No need for a ‘witch hunt’, boys.
    No disrespect, I love Don.

  10. JohnP

    I found the Musso interview fascinating as well. I kind of glossed over the fact that it was about fishing lures. Its a story about how a friendship can build and then sour. Its also about how an idea may have really come from one person, but then there is a claim another takes credit for it. The idea could be a Danny plug, but it could be Facebook or Windows. I have a friend who has a very credible story of how they wrote the plot for a show that later was stolen by a business associate and turned into wildly successful long-running off Broadway hit.

    These people stories are often more interesting than the fish stories.

  11. Zeno Post author

    I will agree with Bob here a 100 %…Dan is long gone and there are many people that will tell you that he left a legacy and his mark on the sport with lures he made. And yes, its just one side of the story and it should be taken as such. I considered Don a good friend and I think he is a treasure to our sport and I wanted to highlight his accomplishments more than talking about that short time they worked together

  12. Gene

    Thanks you Z. and family for bringing us fascinating and useful information. Nobody can really realize how difficult it is to publish information let alone in a up to date manner.

  13. fishlava2mtk

    I enjoyed the Musso interview also. Look forward to fishing the new SS colors. The purple haze darter looks killer!

  14. tiedrope

    Great job on this issue, normally when I read any type of mag I find maybe 2 articles that I get into and generate a genuine interest in. This issue did that through all the articles, awesome to see Skinner on board too. The guy writes with some great detail, like telling us how he planned every angle of his trip to Florida, really helpful stuff for people who may be thinking about doing something like this and what they may need to think about.


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