Man whose invention revolutionized walleye fishing gets big honor

Bob Meter, the inventor of the Meter Bottom Bouncer, will be inducted into the North Dakota Fishing Hall of Fame.

A Bismarck man whose invention in 1964 revolutionized walleye fishing is being inducted into the North Dakota Fishing Hall of Fame.

The bottom bouncer today is a staple of most anglers’ tackle boxes, for fishing lakes or rivers with weedy or rocky bottoms that can cause a lot of lost tackle and frustration.

They have the late Bob Meter to thank. Half a century ago, his own frustration led to the creation of what has become a classic piece of tackle.

A bottom bouncer is a live bait rig made with a piece of vertical weighted wire that keeps it skimming along the rough bottom of a lake or river, bouncing over obstructions, and a horizontal wire arm that suspends a spinner or plain hook just above the bottom and keeps it free of snags.

Bottom Bouncer
The original Meter Bottom Bouncer.

“It’s so simple, it’s ridiculous,” Alan Meter said. “But nobody had thought of it until then.”

Bob Meter never patented his Meter Bottom Bouncer invention and never got rich from it. He said in a 2010 interview with The Bismarck Tribune that “I didn’t know what I had.” Today, there are many variations of the bottom bouncer. And the inventor of the basic design isn’t widely known.

Meter was one of the North Dakotans who “put fishing on the map,” said Bill Mitzel, editor and former publisher of Dakota Country Magazine. But “younger people today don’t know who they are,” he said. “Whoever heard of Bob Meter? Ask anybody on the street.”

Mitzel, with the urging of others, decided it was time for Meter to get some recognition. He nominated Meter for the Fishing Hall of Fame in Garrison, and the hall’s board voted him in to recognize his contributions to fishing.

Hall President Keith Witt said the bottom bouncer “was a revolutionary development for certain areas. It really helps us fish areas where it would be really difficult to fish without snagging or other problems.

“They’re great on (Lake) Sakakawea,” he said. “That’s primarily the way we fish three-quarters of the time out here, personally.”

Meter, who died in 2014, 50 years after inventing the bottom bouncer, fished both as a hobby and competitively in tournaments, and he ran his own tackle companies for decades.

He also is being remembered for his advocacy of the sport and his efforts to get young people involved in it. He volunteered for fishing events, especially those involving boat safety and water safety and youth-related events. He was a founding member of the Bis-Man Reel & Rec club in 1979, and he organized the group’s Take-a-Kid-Fishing program

Source Bismark Tribune

2019-07-14T14:28:42-05:00July 14th, 2019|Walleye Tournament News|
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