The "Original" Delta Diver

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History of the Delta Diver

    As a member of a family deeply involved in charter fishing since the late 1950's, I had an opportunity to see firsthand the changes in fishing styles used.  Our business grew from a one boat operation to a family dynasty by the mid 1980's in Ilwaco Washington.

    In the early days mooching leads were the only game in town.  We would start with 12oz leads on the front of the boat and reduce the weight of the leads as we went to the rear of the boat to maintain a spread between the lines.  It put everyone on an even playing field over their tackle choices and the fishing record showed it.  Coming back with limit catches were not the norm.

    The first breakthrough came in the late 60's when a gentleman, I believe it was Mr. Collins, introduced himself to my father and asked him to try a new gadget that he was developing.  My father being no dummy gladly took the samples and kept it a secret as long as he could.  It was our first secret weapon in the fishing wars.  We soon were out-fishing everyone else in the fleet and all they knew was a hushed reference of a Pink Lady.  This I believe to be the original diver used for salmon fishing.

    As time passed by the Collins & Collins “The Pink Lady” was bought out by Luhr Jensen.  Both divers had their problems, the original Pink Lady used a two piece lead which soon would loosen up and not hold its proper position on the brass rod of the frame.  The later version by Luhr Jensen with the injection molded blade also had problems with the end cap; it would break off and the lead shot would fall out of the weight tube.  Both of these divers used a costly Y frame with a stable three point connection to the blade and were not easily bent by being dropped or stepped on.  The E-Z diver cloned the Pink Lady’s blade design and soon became the most common diver used but they eventually went to a two point connection to the blade with the lead cast onto the frame.  The weakness of the later E-Z diver was the two point connection to the blade.  It was not uncommon for the blade to be knocked out of alignment, or the brass frame to be bent to one side.  Trying to straighten them almost always ended up with the brass frame breaking at the threads.

    In 1982 while operating the charter boat “Nauti-Lady” and not being satisfied with the options for good divers, I set out to make an entirely new diver. I could be seen walking up and down the length of my boat after a day of fishing, testing divers by pulling them through the water. I tried a number of different shapes of blades and frames to come up with a better and more durable diver. I was inspired by the shape of the F-102 Delta Dagger fighters I had seen flying out of McChord Air Force Base.  I kept working on the proportions of my Delta wing until I had found the balance and shape that would actually fly underwater.  This blade used its shape to pull the diver deeper underwater with less drag than any of the others I had tried.  It also keeps fishing when the boat is drifting or out of gear while landing a fish.  The diver will move forward with any up or down movement to the rod keeping your bait active and attracting fish, while the other divers are dead in the water.  The clipped corners of the wing are to eliminate sharp angles for safety (I've been hit in the head by many uncontrolled divers and have the scars to prove it).  The biggest change was the design of the lead weight; it was incorporated into the total mounting system of the blade.  With the wire frame bent 90 degrees inside the lead to keep it from shifting, the step cast into the lead to keep the blade in alignment, and the choice of stainless steel over brass to withstand being bent back and forth, this design has proved very durable.  The Original Delta Divers have always used the more expensive bead chain swivel.

    My long time friend and avid fisherman Gene Shaw worked with me to perfect the prototypes and drawings.  He had the lead molds made, made the fixtures to make the frames and blades, sourced the reflective films for the blades and perfected the manufacturing process.  He has also scaled the diver by CAD to make them in three sizes: 1, 2 and 4 ounce.

    I believe the Original Delta Diver to have been the most successful diver created.  Since imitation is considered one of the highest forms of a compliment I have to say imitating the Original Delta Diver has become a cottage industry by some here in the United States, and even in China.

    You now can have the ORIGINAL and not just an imitation.  The Original Delta Diver was designed by a professional fisherman for use by professionals and discerning sportsmen who demand the best.

Chris Schenk -

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Nathaniel T Schenk LLC, 2010.