Catching Up With John Hale

John Hale hoists a big Texas bass.

John Hale hoists a big Texas bass.

Between 1989 and 2002, John Hale fished in 68 Bassmaster events. That time span is a bit deceiving, since all eight events after 1993 took place within a short drive of his Texas home – one on Lake Livingston, one on Toledo Bend and six of them on Sam Rayburn.

During the earlier portion of his career as a professional angler, he’d traveled more extensively fishing not only Invitationals, but also the Top 100 series (one of the forerunners of the modern day Elite Series) and he showed substantial prowess outside of his home region, finishing in the top 20 on 15 occasions. He finished in the top 10 six times, all of them on the east coast – twice in Florida, followed by two in Virginia, and capped off by two in Maryland. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – January Bassmaster Events (Answers & Winner; April 13, 2015)

The Sunshine State is a popular January B.A.S.S. stop.

The Sunshine State is a popular January B.A.S.S. stop.

Unfortunately, nobody won this week’s Trivia Contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto’s Custom Baits. For more about this week’s correct answers, read below.

When you think of Bassmaster tournament events, January isn’t necessarily the first month that comes to mind. While schedules have varied over the years, the winter has usually been considered kind of an off-season. As it turns out, there have been more than 2 dozen professional level events held by B.A.S.S. over the years that at least had one or more event days falling during some part of the month. Not surprisingly, nearly all of them were held in Florida. To win this week’s trivia contest, sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits, you’ll have to brush up a bit on your January tourney knowledge and answer the following four questions correctly.

1. There were only two B.A.S.S. January events not held in Florida. Name the two events and their locations/year.

Despite visiting the Sunshine State so many times during the month of January, you might be surprised to know that there have only ever been two repeat winners over more than 45 years of event history.

2. Name the only 2 time winner of January Florida B.A.S.S. events.

3. Name the only 3 time winner of January Florida B.A.S.S. events.

4. What is amiss about the old Florida Invitational tourney patch in regards to this post?

Answers and winner will be announced Thursday.

Answers:

  1. While most all B.A.S.S. January tournaments have been held in Florida, the 1970 Toledo Bend Invitational (won by Mike Bono) and the 1998 Arizona Invitational (won by Mike Baldwin) were the two exceptions.
  2. Native Floridian Shaw Grigsby is the only two time winner, capturing Invitational titles in 1999 (St. Johns R.) and again in 2000 (Lake Toho).
  3. Another Florida native, though moving to Alabama in 2009, Chris Lane is the only three time January Florida winner, capturing Southern Open titles in 2006, 2010, and 2012.
  4. Lastly, while this week’s contest was about January Bassmaster events, the patch in the picture depicts the 1991 Florida Invitational held on the St. Johns River. That event, however, was actually held in February.

Try again next Monday when we have another chance for you to win.

Season at a Glance: 1978 Bassmaster Trail – Part Three

Roland Martin wins his 5th AOY in 1978. Photo February 1979 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Roland Martin wins his 5th AOY in 1978. Photo February 1979 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

[Editor’s note: This is Part Three of a five-part series on the 1978 Bassmaster Trail. Click the following links to read Part One and Part Two. We’re sorry for the lack of a story yesterday – we were experiencing server problems and hope we got it figured out.]

By the beginning of May, the Bassmaster Trail was half way through the 1978 season with three Classic qualifiers completed along with the Bass Champs event. By that point the Bassmaster Angler of the Year race was getting pretty heated with Californian Dave Gliebe in the lead by 10 ounces followed by Jerry Rhyne. The top 10 was fairly stacked with anglers such as; Roland Martin (3rd), Larry Nixon (5th), Tom Mann (6th), Bobby Murray (7th) Rick Clunn (8th). See the table below for the entire top 40 in the 1978 AOY race. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – January Bassmaster Events

The Sunshine State is a popular January B.A.S.S. stop.

The Sunshine State is a popular January B.A.S.S. stop.

When you think of Bassmaster tournament events, January isn’t necessarily the first month that comes to mind. While schedules have varied over the years, the winter has usually been considered kind of an off-season. As it turns out, there have been more than 2 dozen professional level events held by B.A.S.S. over the years that at least had one or more event days falling during some part of the month. Not surprisingly, nearly all of them were held in Florida. To win this week’s trivia contest, sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits, you’ll have to brush up a bit on your January tourney knowledge and answer the following four questions correctly.

1. There were only two B.A.S.S. January events not held in Florida. Name the two events and their locations/year.

Despite visiting the Sunshine State so many times during the month of January, you might be surprised to know that there have only ever been two repeat winners over more than 45 years of event history.

2. Name the only 2 time winner of January Florida B.A.S.S. events.

3. Name the only 3 time winner of January Florida B.A.S.S. events.

4. What is amiss about the old Florida Invitational tourney patch in regards to this post?

Answers and winner will be announced Thursday.

Bass Rod Technology 1950

Heddon Bamboo Casting Rods from their 1950 catalog.

Heddon Bamboo Casting Rods from their 1950 catalog.

I recently procured a number of semi-old Heddon catalogs dating from the early 50s through the late 60s and have been pouring over them to see what the technology of the day was. There are a lot of familiar faces in the catalogs such as the Zara Spook, River Runt, Meadow Mouse, and Lucky 13 – to name a few. It’s really cool to go back and see some of the history of these world-class baits in their original design.

The earliest catalog I have is from the year 1950 and is the subject of this piece. It’s 81 pages long and doesn’t only have a listing of all their tackle, it has pages on how to fish their gear, who was fishing their gear (Homer Circle was one of the more well-known by today’s standards), how they made their gear, etc. It’s no wonder Heddon was the powerhouse of tackle manufacturing of the time. [Read more…]

Season at a Glance: 1978 Bassmaster Trail – Part Two

Larry Nixon, in his second season of Bassmaster competition was proving he was th real deal. Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

Larry Nixon, in his second season of Bassmaster competition was proving he was th real deal. Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

[Editor’s note: This is Part Two 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. To read Part One, click here.]

The first Bass Champs event was held in 1977 and pitted the top 10 from the previous Bassmaster Classic against 10 of the top anglers (2nd through 11th) from the B.A.S.S. Federation Championship – the 1st-place angler would go to the Bassmaster Classic. It was an event that didn’t count for much – there were no points towards AOY or Classic qualification – other than a decent pay day for the winner through 10th place and the thrill provided the amateurs of fishing against the toughest pros in competitive bass fishing. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – The Buck Stops Here Answer and Winner (April 6, 2015)

Florida guide Buck Durrance.

Florida guide Buck Durrance.

Correction: We previously indicated that fifth place finisher Mark Lamb was Buck’s long time tournament partner. That was incorrect. As reader David Gregory Driskell previously pointed out, fourth place finisher David Eng, owner of a local marine dealership, was Durrance’s partner for 15 years. As Tim Tucker reported in BASS Times, Eng “freely admitted that Durrance’s advice ‘helped me catch enough fish to finish high in the money.'” We stand corrected and Driskell is therefore the winner of this week’s contest. He will receive the credit to Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits.  For the answers please read below.

When B.A.S.S. came to Okeechobee for the 1998 Florida Eastern Invitational on Lake Okeechobee, it was the circuit’s first Florida event in nearly seven years, resulting from a tax on tournaments that B.S.S.S. did not care for. When the tax was lifted with respect to fishing tournaments, the organization returned.

Thirty year old Clyde Roland “Buck” Durrance made the most of the opportunity, winning the first B.A.S.S. event he fished, beating runner-up Chip Harrison by over 10 pounds. Harrison may call Indiana home, but he’s a long-time Okeechobee guide and a month later he won an EverStart event on Okeechobee to soothe some of the sting of his second place finish to Durrance. [Read more…]

More Bombers – Part II

1975 Bomber ad featuring Floyd Mabry and their full line of firetiger baits.

1975 Bomber ad featuring Floyd Mabry and their full line of firetiger baits.

Following up on yesterday’s post by Terry, as well as a previous request we had for more ads featuring Floyd Mabry, I dug through some 1975 issues of Fishing Facts magazine to pull the following. Again, there’s some fascinating history in all of this, as well as a non-Floyd ad you’ll find interesting. You can also revisit a tribute post we did on Floyd (Remembering A Texas Legend) back in June, 2013. First, the 1975 Bomber ads featuring Floyd Mabry, as well as a lot of classic Bomber lures. Be sure to check out the old twin spin in the spinnerbait ad. [Read more…]

More Bombers

1977 Bomber Speed Shad and Model A being sold in American Bass Fisherman magazine.

1977 Bomber Speed Shad and Model A being sold in American Bass Fisherman magazine.

A couple of weeks ago we did the first part of the 1978 Bassmaster season and in that article, we mentioned Hurley Board’s Lake Gaston win. Board attributed his win not just to sticking to his game plan but also to the use of a Bomber Speed Shad.

After that event, the Speed Shad became the predominant bait on both Gaston and Bugg’s (Kerr depending upon what side of the boarder you’re on) reservoirs. In fact, original Speed Shads are still in high demand for the North Carolina/Virginia boarder waters.

That article sent me on a mission to try and find an old Speed Shad ad to share with you – and I found one from 1977. Not only that, but I found three other Bomber ads dating from the same year, two of which feature crankbait legend, Floyd Mabry. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – The Buck Stops Here (April 6, 2015)

Florida guide Buck Durrance.

Florida guide Buck Durrance.

When B.A.S.S. came to Okeechobee for the 1998 Florida Eastern Invitational on Lake Okeechobee, it was the circuit’s first Florida event in nearly seven years, resulting from a tax on tournaments that B.S.S.S. did not care for. When the tax was lifted with respect to fishing tournaments, the organization returned.

Thirty year old Clyde Roland “Buck” Durrance made the most of the opportunity, winning the first B.A.S.S. event he fished, beating runner-up Chip Harrison by over 10 pounds. Harrison may call Indiana home, but he’s a long-time Okeechobee guide and a month later he won an EverStart event on Okeechobee to soothe some of the sting of his second place finish to Durrance. [Read more…]

Plastic Worms 1962

1962 Burke Flexo-Products ad.

1962 Burke Flexo-Products ad.

We’ve discussed a number of times the advent of the contemporary plastic worm and some of the successful baits and manufacturers of the ‘70s and ‘80s. But we’ve talked little about those early PVC wonders. A couple years ago we did a piece on some old Creme, Bagley’s and DeLong baits Stan Fagerstrom showed us in his garage but other than that, we haven’t talked much about the ads from the ‘60s or earlier.

So, in order not to leave out the ‘60s plastic worm offerings, we have a few ads from that era to show you what was hot – or maybe just trying to be sold to the angler as revolutionary. [Read more…]

Happy Birthday to a Twenty Year Old Dieting Deep Diver

Twenty years ago one of the best crankbaits that has ever been developed was born - the Bomber Fat Free Shad.

Twenty years ago one of the best crankbaits that has ever been developed was born – the Bomber Fat Free Shad.

Looking through the old “New Tackle for…” issues of Bassmaster, it quickly becomes clear that few new lures survive the open market for even a couple of years, let alone two decades. Of those that do live to fish another day or another year, many take a long time to gather a meaningful following. In that respect, the Bomber Fat Free Shad is something of an anomaly, a lure that was popular almost from the start, due in no small part to good design, a solid pro-staff and more than a bit of on-the-water advertising. While many of us can still remember its introduction, this year it celebrates its 20th birthday.

In 1994, PRADCO introduced the Pro Autograph Series of hard lures – proven baits that each bore a particular pro’s name and his suggested modifications or special paint schemes. They included the following lures: [Read more…]