Let’s Look Back: Fly Rod Bass – Part 1

Does this look like a fly rod bass angler having fun? It darn well should!  My wife shot this picture of me when I was still a young man.  l learned prior to wearing a beard what I could and couldn't expect while fly rod fishing for bass.  Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Does this look like a fly rod bass angler having fun? It darn well should! My wife shot this picture of me when I was still a young man. l learned prior to wearing a beard what I could and couldn’t expect while fly rod fishing for bass. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

The Bass Fishing Archives website is devoted to detailing the history of bass fishing.  This history would never be complete without also detailing the

tactics and techniques associated with putting our favorite fish in the boat – right?

I’d have to hang a question mark or two to completely agree with that statement.  Perhaps you share that sentiment.  When, for example, was the last time you’ve read much here about fly rod fishing for bass? [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back: I was among the first to get “hooked” – Part 2

I had a chance to test these great hooks before they were ever brought into the USA. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

I had a chance to test these great hooks before they were ever brought into the USA. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

The guy on the other end of the phone line asked a question I’ve been hearing off and on now for a long time.

“Stan,” the guy asked, “Exactly when did you start writing about fishing?  I know you’ve been doing it for a long time now.  I’ll bet you’ve seen lots of changes in the fishing gear that’s available now compared to what it was when you first started.” [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back: I was among the first to get “hooked” – Part 1

For years now Gamakatsu has had some of the world's top bass fishing professionals helping with its hook design and refinement. Aaron Martens, a past winner of the Bassmasters Classic, is one of them. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

For years now, Gamakatsu has had some of the world’s top bass fishing professionals helping with its hook design and refinement. Aaron Martens, a past Bassmaster Angler of the Year winner, is one of them. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

I’m one of the luckiest old backlash picker-outers west of the Mississippi River – maybe east of the big river too.

If you’ve read my “Let’s Look Back” columns in the past you’re aware I’ve touched on this before in doing these columns.  Having been writing about fishing since shortly after the fall of the Roman Empire is one of the reasons I talk about being as fortunate as I have been.

Another, and it’s one of the reasons I welcomed the chance to do these columns when given opportunity to do them. Writing a column with the heading “Let’s Look Back” you see, gives me a chance to look back over my shoulder and write about some of the wondrous experiences I’ve had a chance to be in on. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back: And Then Came Something New – Part 3

I used this Zebco closed face spinning reel for hundreds of my casting exhibitions around the world for many years.  Whatever reel you select for teaching a youngster, make certain it's sufficiently small enough to fit into their hands.  Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

I used this Zebco closed face spinning reel for hundreds of my casting exhibitions around the world for many years. Whatever reel you select for teaching a youngster, make certain it’s sufficiently small enough to fit into their hands. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

In my past two columns I’ve detailed a procedure that makes it easy for a youngster to learn how to use a closed face spinning reel.  I’d like to share a few additional thoughts in this third and final column dealing with the same subject.

One of the best ways to turn a child away from fishing for all time is to provide them with mismatched equipment. If you teach them the casting technique I’ve shared with you for the closed face spinning reel, by all means get them a lightweight rod to go with it.

Teach them how to use what you give them before you ever get near the water.  I have good reason for making that request.  I lived right on the shore of a popular bass and panfish lake for about 35 years.  It wasn’t unusual to hear some father yelling (at times even cursing) at the kids he had in his boat. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back: And Then Came Something New – Part Two

Here's the key to getting accuracy with the closed face spinning reel. Depress the thumb control button and hold it in. Trap the line against the hole in the center of the spool. Note that the line is over the left forefinger. When you're ready to cast, release pressure with both fingers at the same instant. Let the line flow over your forefinger as it heads to your target. All you need do to control the flight of the lure or practice casting weight is simply raise that left forefinger. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Here’s the key to getting accuracy with the closed face spinning reel. Depress the thumb control button and hold it in. Trap the line against the hole in the center of the spool. Note that the line is over the left forefinger. When you’re ready to cast, release pressure with both fingers at the same instant. Let the line flow over your forefinger as it heads to your target. All you need do to control the flight of the lure or practice casting weight is simply raise that left forefinger. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Darn few things are going to be more important to the average angler that the ability to achieve accuracy in presenting their lures to the fish they are after.

And if that’s true, and experienced anglers know that it is, it especially applies to a youngster just getting into the field of sportfishing for the first time.  That’s why I said some of the things I did about the closed face spinning reel in my previous column.

I was among the very first to experiment with these new reels when Zebco first brought them to market away back in the middle of the last century.  That early experience led me to always use them in the thousands of casting exhibitions I was eventually to do for decades over a sizeable chunk of the world. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back: And Then Came Something New – Part 1

Here's the little Zebco Pro Staff 2010 close face spinning reel I showed thousands of folks how to use over many different parts of the world for many, many years.  Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Here’s the little Zebco Pro Staff 2010 close face spinning reel I showed thousands of folks how to use over many different parts of the world for many, many years. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

I was there when it first hit the market.

And now “Let’s Look Back” and take a closer look at just what the heck I’m talking about.  One of the primary reasons I started doing these columns for my good friend Terry Battisti is the opportunity it provides to share how some of today’s most popular items of fishing tackle first made an appearance on the tackle shelves.

Having hung around the fishing scene as long as I have has provided ample opportunity for that sharing I’ve mentioned.  I began doing a fishing column for a daily newspaper in Washington State away back in 1946.  There’s an awful lot of gear folks now use to put bass in the boat that didn’t exist when I did my first outdoor columns. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back: There Is More Than One Way – Part 2

Nothing beats the open faced spinning reel for a host of bass fishing problems.  It’s still tops for lightweight work.  And now there are super strong but small diameter braided lines that work just fine on an open face reel.  This lets you handle things even if the cover is a bit heavy.  Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Nothing beats the open faced spinning reel for a host of bass fishing problems. It’s still tops for lightweight work. And now there are super strong but small diameter braided lines that work just fine on an open face reel. This lets you handle things even if the cover is a bit heavy. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

The open face spinning reel is a wonderful fishing tool.  As far as I’m concerned, there isn’t anything else available that will let you handle really light lines and lures as efficiently.

In my previous column I detailed how the great majority of users of the open face get the job done.  They do it by draping the line across their right forefinger; then they straighten that finger at the instant they want their lure to fly off to its intended target. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back: There’s More than One Way – Part 1

When producers of the world's top outdoor shows bring you in to do casting exhibitions they expect you to be able to hit your targets.  Working out the casting techniques that enable you to do that is essential.  Here I'm pictured doing my thing at a big outdoor show in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  I gave casting exhibitions there on three successive years. Photo Stan Fagerstrom

When producers of the world’s top outdoor shows bring you in to do casting exhibitions they expect you to be able to hit your targets. Working out the casting techniques that enable you to do that is essential. Here I’m pictured doing my thing at a big outdoor show in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I gave casting exhibitions there on three successive years. Photo Stan Fagerstrom

I gave my first casting demonstrations that really amounted to anything at the old Pan Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles way back in April of 1952.

Since that time I expect I’ve probably given about as many demonstrations of level wind rigs, both open and closed face spinning reels and rods as well as the techniques of flipping and pitching as darn near anybody.  My demonstrations have taken me all over the United States and from Tennessee to Tokyo as well as from Nevada to New Zealand.  And there have been numerous other spots both in and out of the USA.

If I’ve learned anything over having spent those countless hours trying to help my audiences learn more about casting – it’s this.  There is more than one way to do darn near anything.  And that certainly applies where various types of casting are concerned. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back: I’m Too Old To Forget – Part 2

This old girl is as beat up as I am---but she has provided me with some of my very best bass fishing memories. She is a Heddon Vamp Spook. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

This old girl is as beat up as I am—but she has provided me with some of my very best bass fishing memories. She is a Heddon Vamp Spook. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

If you read my previous Let’s Look Back column you know the subject dealt with a wonderful old bass bait called the Heddon Vamp Spook.

I also made some comments about not being in agreement with that hog crap we hear so often about the old guys like me not being capable of remembering their early day experiences.  It was, incidentally, the memories of the first time I ever saw the Heddon Vamp Spook actually being used for bass that’s the reason for this column. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back: Too Old To Forget – Part 1

This old Heddon Vamp Spook has almost as many scars as I do. Some of the scars she wears also brought some of my most loved bass fishing memories. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

This old Heddon Vamp Spook has almost as many scars as I do. Some of the scars she wears also brought some of my most loved bass fishing memories. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Hardly a day goes by these days it seems that we don’t hear, see or read something about advanced age and declining memory just waiting to kick you in the butt!

Don’t you believe it!  I maintain that there are often just as many things – sometimes more of them – that the old never forget. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back: “You Gotta Make ‘Em Talk” – Part 2

The late Blackie Lightfoot travelled all over the United States showing bass anglers how to use lures the people he represented were selling. Out of all the different hard baits he fished, the one he holds here was his favorite. It is a Cordell Red Fin. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

The late Blackie Lightfoot travelled all over the United States showing bass anglers how to use lures the people he represented were selling. Out of all the different hard baits he fished, the one he holds here was his favorite. It is a Cordell Red Fin. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

I wish the words I want to share in this column were easy for me to write, but they aren’t.  They will deal with the bass lure I told about in my previous Let’s Look Back column.

The lure, of course, is the Cordell Red Fin.  I detailed how my Texas friend Blackie Lightfoot once traveled the whole country showing writers and guides in different areas how the lures being marketed by the PRADCO people were best used.

As it turned out, after fishing all kinds of baits all over the place, Blackie’s favorite hard bait of the whole bunch was the Cordell Red Fin.  What he personally showed me on fishing trips we made together from Washington State to California wound up revealing why he felt as he did. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back: “You Gotta Make ‘Em Talk” – Part 1

My friend Blackie Lightfoot pulled the bass boat you see here all over the United States. He'd get together with writers and guides along the way and show them the different lures available from the PRADCO people he was working for. Here I boat a nice bass that Blackie had hooked on one of his favorite lures. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

My friend Blackie Lightfoot pulled the bass boat you see here all over the United States. He’d get together with writers and guides along the way and show them the different lures available from the PRADCO people he was working for. Here I boat a nice bass that Blackie had hooked on one of his favorite lures. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

[Editor’s note:  This submission was to be posted April 1, 2016.  I light of my travel schedule and the fact I had very intermittent internet access the last month, I was unable to post it.  Stan’s May submission – Part 2 of this series – will post tomorrow.] 

This column has a dual purpose.

One is that I want to tell you about a guy whom I always felt was one of the best bass anglers I ever met.  The second is to tell you about his favorite lure and exactly what he had to do with it to get the results he was after.

Probably the easiest way for me to do that is to share an experience I had once while fishing with my good friend Steve Fleming, of Fossil, Oregon.  Steve operates the much respected Mah-Hah outfitters operation out Fossil.  For years he has been a top guide on Oregon’s John Day River. [Read more…]