Homemade Plastics and Jigs 1962

Photo Don Fuelsch's 1962 Southern Angler's Guide.

Photo Don Fuelsch’s 1962 Southern Angler’s Guide.

Some say it was Nick Creme who invented the modern plastic worm in 1949 – others say it was Dave DeLong. In any event, the new PVC material took artificial worm fishing to an all-new level. Prior to PVC, artificial worms were made out of rubber – the kind your car tires are made of. They were hard, not very lifelike and left a lot to be desired when it came to action. Polyvinyl chloride changed all that.

Having grown up in southern California, hand pours were more the norm than the exception. Yeah, we used Jelly Worms, Diamond Backs and Mister Twisters but if you really wanted to catch fish, the ticket was Jim Smith’s hand poured Smitty Worms. Smith and his wife Carol ran a successful business out of their house in Glendale and supplied baits to nearly every tackle shop in the southland. But, if you ventured out of southern Cal, you were hard pressed to find anything hand poured let alone anyone who knew what a hand poured worm was. [Read more…]

Smallmouth Magazine – Volume 2 Issue 2

Photo Smallmouth Newsletter Vol 2 Issue 2, Feb 1986.

Photo Smallmouth Newsletter Vol 2 Issue 2, Feb 1986.

We’re back to Smallmouth Magazine – this time Volume 2 Issue 2 from February, 1986. This issue was the first where Billy Westmorland hadn’t penned an article for the newsletter, now in its sophomore year. In fact, the newsletter only had three feature articles in it, one from Harry n Charlie legend, Don Wirth, a second from columnist Frank Brooks and a third by Greg Matthews (a Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine reprint).

The Wirth article, a piece on where to go for trophy smallmouths, covered a number of Tennessee waters from the time that were producing smallies that broke the mystical 5-pound range – equivalent to the 10-pound mark for largemouth – Dale Hollow, Percy Priest and Woods Reservoir. Back then these waters were hard to beat – today you rarely hear of them producing big fish. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Dopp Delivers Answer and Winner (Mar 23, 2015)

Jim Dopp. Photo Bassmaster.

Jim Dopp. Photo Bassmaster.

Sorry for the late response on this week’s contest. We only had one person take a shot and unfortunately they only got two of the three answers correct. Com back next week for more. For the answers, please read below.

Jim Dopp finished 13th in the 1999 Bassmaster Central Invitational on Table Rock Lake, and he’d competed in the 1998 Red Man All-American, so he was no rookie when he launched his boat for the 2000 Central Invitational on Table Rock. Indeed, the 48 year-old had fished the Ozarks-region lakes since he was a kid.

If he was nervous, it didn’t show. He was tied for 4th with eventual runner-up Mike McClelland after Day One, but then sacked 14-12 – the heaviest bag of the event – on Day Two to take a lead that he would not relinquish. McClelland made a late charge, but ultimately fell 22 ounces short of victory. He’d won back-to-back Invitationals in 1996, but would not win another B.A.S.S. tournament until the 2005 Open Championship. [Read more…]

The Magnum Tacklebox

Plano Magnum tackle box ad featuring Bill Dance

Plano Magnum tackle box ad featuring Bill Dance

There is an interesting progression of development and popularity between bass anglers and their tackle management systems. Nowadays, soft packs and individual accessory boxes seem to dominate the boats of anglers everywhere. If you go way back in time, toward our early tournament beginnings, we were still using the old drawer boxes, or “suitcases” as some of them were affectionately known as. In between these two eras though saw the development of a hybrid system, known most frequently by the name that Plano assigned to the box, the Magnum. Fenwick also manufactured a similar box around that time. [Read more…]

Season at a Glance: 1978 Bassmaster Trail – Part One

Some of the headlines from 1978 concerning the new 14-inch rule that B.A.S.S. imposed. From Bassmaster Magazine.

Some of the headlines from 1978 concerning the new 14-inch rule that B.A.S.S. imposed. From Bassmaster Magazine.

[Editor’s note: This is Part One of a four-part series on the 1978 Bassmaster Trail. Over the course of the next two weeks we’ll cover the 1978 season, the Classic qualifiers and the 1978 Bassmaster Classic.]

The 1978 Bassmaster Trail season would be one to go down in tournament fishing history. First off, between the end of the ’77 season and the start of the ’78 season, B.A.S.S. president Ray Scott decided to increase the length requirement for legal tournament bass from 12 inches to 14 inches. This new rule threw a wrench into the game that many of the top pros didn’t like. Here’s what some of them had to say: [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Dopp Delivers (Mar 23, 2015)

Jim Dopp. Photo Bassmaster.

Jim Dopp. Photo Bassmaster.

Jim Dopp finished 13th in the 1999 Bassmaster Central Invitational on Table Rock Lake, and he’d competed in the 1998 Red Man All-American, so he was no rookie when he launched his boat for the 2000 Central Invitational on Table Rock. Indeed, the 48 year-old had fished the Ozarks-region lakes since he was a kid.

If he was nervous, it didn’t show. He was tied for 4th with eventual runner-up Mike McClelland after Day One, but then sacked 14-12 – the heaviest bag of the event – on Day Two to take a lead that he would not relinquish. McClelland made a late charge, but ultimately fell 22 ounces short of victory. He’d won back-to-back Invitationals in 1996, but would not win another B.A.S.S. tournament until the 2005 Open Championship. [Read more…]

Creme Hardbaits?

1962 Creme Lures ad featuring two short-lived hardbaits, the Mad-Dad and the Du-Dad.

1962 Creme Lures ad featuring two short-lived hardbaits, the Mad-Dad and the Du-Dad.

The name Creme has been associated with bass fishing since they developed (arguably) the first contemporary plastic worm in 1949. As the story goes, Nick Creme, from Akron, Ohio, fashioned a new worm from the newly formulated polymer, polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Prior to that, most artificial worms were made of rubber. Creme’s new worms were not only soft but came in a number of colors and were scented.

Not only did bass anglers like them better than the old tire treads they’d been used to, the bass loved them too. In fact, it’s said that at one of the first tackle shows where the products were revealed, Creme sold close to 10,000 packs. At four to a pack, that’s a lot of worms. [Read more…]

1963 World Series of Sport Fishing

The 1963 World Series of Sportfishing was won by Betty Mangold (women's division) and Ken White (men's division). Photo Don Fuelsch's 1963 Southern Angler's and Hunter's Guide.

The 1963 World Series of Sportfishing was won by Betty Mangold (women’s division) and Ken White (men’s division). Photo Don Fuelsch’s 1963 Southern Angler’s and Hunter’s Guide.

Before the Bassmaster Trail and way before the Bassmaster Classic there was only one fishing event that even came close to determining who the best angler in the world was. That event was Hy Peskin’s World Series of Sportfishing. We’ve talked about the WSOSF here before (a simple search to the right will bring up a few good stories) but only in an overall manner. Today we’re going to look at one specific event, the 1963 WSOSF, as written in Don Fuelsch’s Southern Angler’s and Hunter’s Guide. But, before we go there, here are some of the particulars of the WSOSF.

In order to qualify for the event, anglers had to win their state championship – or country championship as this was an international event. The WSOSF wasn’t just a bass event, either. Nearly all fish counted with bass gaining the most points. But, you couldn’t win with only black bass. You had to have fish in multiple species categories in order to ensure the win. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – A Surprise Connection (Answer & Winner; March 16, 2015)

Bass Buster's most famous lure?

Bass Buster’s most famous lure?

It was a race to the finish, but congrats go to JKarbo214 for winning this week’s trivia contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits. More details on the correct answer can be found in this post.

Just a couple weeks back we covered some of the story of Virgil Ward, famous angling personality and owner of Bass Buster, Inc. The company was most famous for a small L-style spin lure called the Beetle Spin. Chances are every one of you knows of the lure, and just as likely, every one of you probably owned the bait at one point in time. I can actually remember finishing in the money in several local club tourneys back in the day by using the larger sized 1/4-oz bait, just swapping out the barrel swivel for a Sampo, and then adding the blade of choice to make a very subtle spinnerbait that was a killer in cold water. [Read more…]

The First Season of the Red Man Trail

Red Man Tournament Trail Patch.

Red Man Tournament Trail Patch.

Many of us who immersed ourselves into the world of competitive bass fishing in the 1990s or after the turn of the century tend to assume that there were always stable nationwide organized circuits for the weekend angler. We may have known that what are now the BFLs were previously the Red Man circuit, but we don’t have a sense of when and where the Red Mans were born.

As Terry has detailed previously, old issues of CAST Magazine are a treasure trove of information about that era, and provide an incredible look back at the origins of the BFLs. [Read more…]

Fenwick – The Gold Standard of Rods

Early Fenwick HMG Graphite rod ad.

Early Fenwick HMG Graphite rod ad.

I would hate to venture how many rod companies are out there today – it seems every small town across America has at least one. I’m not knocking this surge in rod companies by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it’s actually opened up a lot of different rod building concepts and, which in turn have had a big impact on the way rods are made today.

Back in the 60s and 70s, though, that wasn’t the case. At that time you had Browning who made the Silaflex, the Garcia Conolon line of rods, Heddon (who would actually make custom rods to order, and a couple other players. Factory rods were just that, factory rods and not too impressive. Many of these companies offered their blanks to the numerous custom shops that dotted the United States and the serious angler generally went that rout instead of purchasing some off the shelf. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – A Surprise Connection (Mar 16, 2015)

Bass Buster's most famous lure?

Bass Buster’s most famous lure?

Just a couple weeks back we covered some of the story of Virgil Ward, famous angling personality and owner of Bass Buster, Inc. The company was most famous for a small L-style spin lure called the Beetle Spin. Chances are every one of you knows of the lure, and just as likely, every one of you probably owned the bait at one point in time. I can actually remember finishing in the money in several local club tourneys back in the day by using the larger sized 1/4-oz bait, just swapping out the barrel swivel for a Sampo, and then adding the blade of choice to make a very subtle spinnerbait that was a killer in cold water. [Read more…]