Archives for March 2012

Ads from the Past: Choo Choo Gone?

Click on picture for larger version.

Those of you who think that the Toyota Tundra was the first vehicle to be associated with B.A.S.S. must not have been around during the 80s and 90s, or at least not receiving Bassmaster magazine at that time. For a long while, you couldn’t leaf through an issue without seeing an ad (like this one) for Choo-Choo Customs, which created the official vehicles of the tour.

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Expressions from the Past – Bob Cobb

Bassmaster’s first Editor, Bob Cobb. Photo courtesy of BassMaster magazine.

I was reading in the 1972 July-August issue of Bassmaster magazine over the weekend and something caught my eye. Bassmaster used to print a section titled, “Along the Tournament Trail,” which was essentially the latest tournament reports, penned by Bassmaster legend Bob Cobb.

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Ads from the Past: Why didn’t round rebound?

The landscape for bass fishing baitcasting reels was quite different in the late 1980s than it is today. Most notably, companies like Ardent, Pinnacle, Okuma, Lews and Pflueger weren’t major players, if they were around at all. If you’ll check out this ad taken from the 1988 Bassmaster Classic Report, you’ll see there was another difference – round reels were in. At the very least they were not yet passé.

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Scorecard Snapshot – What’s My Line?


The results from the 1993 Texas Invitational remind me of Paul Elias:

My Elias fixation may seem odd. He didn’t have a poor tournament at Rayburn in 1993, finishing tied for 24th among a stout field of competitors, but his performance didn’t stand out.

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The Tackle of the 1971 Bass Master Classic

Bobby Murray hoists a stringer from the 1971 Bass Master Classic. Photo Bass Master Magazine Jan/Feb 1972 Issue.

Being somewhat of a tackle buff, I found it very intriguing when I read about the tackle that Bobby Murray used and swore by at the time of the 1971 Bass Master Classic. While doing my research for the 1971 Season at a Glance series, I was reading about that year’s Classic and Bob Cobb had actually pinned down Bobby Murray to ask him his tackle preferences. For those of you who started bass fishing post 1990 the tackle may seem odd and crazy. But for those of you who actually fished in this era, this review will bring back some memories – some good and others that’ll make you scratch your head in bewilderment, how did we get away with that gear?

So, without further adieu, here’s what Murray considered his top gear of the time (1). [Read more…]

Some Western Records of the Past(?)

Some of the first recorded California records. Reprinted from the June, 1974 CLC. Reprint permission from Dave Coolidge.

Here’s a snap shot  of some “old” records from the annals of California bass fishing lore. These records, all held by California Lunker Club members, reveal quite a bit of interesting information. For one, out of the 10 lake records held by CLC members, only three are “teeners,” the rest being all under that magic 13-pound mark. And, of all the fish that weighed under that mark, only one was a Florida. Initiallly, Floridas were only stocked in the San Diego lakes but eventually they spread throughout the state via CA-DFG  stocking programs. For me, it’s really nostalgic to see the northern strain records for lakes I fished as a kid. [Read more…]

The Birth of the Flippin’ Stik – Part Two

Dee Thomas wins the Bull Shoals Bass Master Invitational in 1975. Photo courtesy of Bassmaster.

This is the final part in the two-part series on the birth of the Flippin’ Stik.  Here Thomas and Dave Myers talk about the effort required to design and build the first Flippin’ Stiks. To read Part One click here.


After Thomas won the Western Bass Fishing Association’s San Antonio event, his normal way of fishing would change. But, in a fashion typical for Thomas, he was one step ahead of his competition.

“Because of all the flack we’d been getting for using the long rods, I’d already been experimenting with shorter Fenwick striper rods,” Thomas said. “Dave Myers, of Fenwick knew this and wanted to design a rod for me.” [Read more…]

Gearin’ Up

Lew’s Speed Spool Gear Kit. Circa 1974

Today’s bass anglers take a lot for granted. One example is retrieve ratios for the reels we use. Any reel we buy today generally has a number of different retrieve ratios available from a “slow” 5:1 to the “high-speed” 7:1. But what about the days when we were stuck with retrieve ratios that barely reached 4:1? For example, in the day, the ABU 5000 (the old red one folks) was state-of-the-art. It featured two brass bushings (not bearings), a free-spool mechanism (not a knuckle buster), and a hefty 3.75:1 gear ratio!

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Scorecard Snapshot — You Can Call Me Al

The 1970 B.A.S.S. All-American was remarkable for a number of reasons, some obvious, some not. Check out the final results and see what you think.

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New Products 1976

New Products from the Fall 1976 Western Bass Magazine

Reading the Fall 1976 issue of Western Bass Magazine I came across the “New Products” section and found some interesting stuff – historically speaking. First off, look at the left page, upper center. You see one of the first glimpses of the Original Scrounger – the bait that Aaron Martens brought back to life a few years ago. These things were awesome when it came to fishing the saltwater back bays and they even worked for bass. The only problem with them back then, and it was a big problem, was the hooks really stunk. Heavy-wire cadmium-plated hooks that were short-shanked and narrow gaped. Not the best quality in a bass hook. [Read more…]

Trolling Motors of the Past – Part One

23 pounds of thrust to get you from here to there….eventually.

As you cruise around the lake this weekend under 101 pounds of electrically-generated thrust, pity the poor anglers living in the early 1980s who had to tool around on no more than 30 pounds. Actually, don’t pity them too much – they probably thought their 23 pounds of thrust (from a single battery!) was the cat’s meow.

Does anyone even run a trolling motor of 23 pounds or less on a jon boat these days? I doubt that Shakespeare’s 12 and 15 pound thrust models could pull most of my tournament partners’ tackle bags across the street, let alone pull a whole boat into oncoming current. The arms race in electrics may be the most unsung hero in the quest for better angling over the past 30 years.

And when did Shakespeare stop making electrics?

SoCal Sticks from the Past – Jack O’Malley

Jack O’Malley of the West Valley Bassmasters hoists a 10-pound northern taken on a jig. Photo courtesy of Dave Coolidge.

Sticks from the Past is a column devoted to anglers who made an impact either in their local region or state. They’re the anglers who made all the other anglers shudder when they plopped down their entry fees. In this first installment we look at one of southern California’s hottest anglers in the 70s, 80s and 90s – Jack O’Malley.

During the late 70s and 80s, I had the opportunity to work in one of California’s best tackle shops. Here I heard tales of legendary western anglers and their exploits on the water. One name that always came up was Jack O’Malley of the West Valley Bassmasters. By the early 80s, I was fishing against Jack in local team events. At that time, he was known as one of the best, if not the best, jig fisherman in the state. And he had a lot of competition during that time from the likes of Mike Folkestad and Larry Hopper. [Read more…]