Archives for April 2012

Scorecard Snapshot — Two X Chromosomes

Photo from

The 1991 Missouri Invitational was the 10th of Rick Clunn’s 11 B.A.S.S. wins and his first after winning his fourth Bassmaster Classic title. He’s won four more events since then, but not another Classic. Historically, I suppose that makes it somewhat significant, but it was even more notable for another reason. Can you guess what it was?

Here’s the first stop on your scavenger hunt: Check out the 37th place finisher, 1986 Classic champion Charlie Reed.

Does that help at all? [Read more…]

Featuring the First Palming Plate and a Disengaging Level-Wind

Lew’s Speed Spool ad from 1977

If you saw the title phrase in a magazine reel advertisement today, you’d more than likely say, “So?” But, if you were reading that advertisement in say, 1976, you’d not only be intrigued but pumped by the fact that the company had taken steps to increase your casting distance and make the reel more ergonomic (I don’t even think the study of ergonomics was around in 1976) for the angler.

Up until the mid-70s, casting reels were heavy, featured the spool-tension knob on the sideplate opposing the handle (I could have said left sideplate but I wanted to respect you wrong-handed casters) and some, like the Ambassadeur 5000, didn’t even have bearings but brass bushings. At that time, the popular baitcasting manufacturers were Ambassadeur (ABU-Garcia), Diawa (the Millionaire series), Shakespeare and Pflueger with the most popular, in terms ruggedness and castability, being the first mentioned. [Read more…]

1970s Power Poles?

Any of you anglers still rocking these on your boats?

Power Pole this, Minn Kota Talon that – the current industry has us all thinking they invented the boat anchoring system. Maybe they invented the “stick in the mud” but for years, probably dating back to the times of Cro-Magnon or Neanderthal, anglers used a rope tied to a heavy weight to keep their boats from drifting off a prime spot.

Then in the late 60s – early 70s, companies started manufacturing automatic anchor dispensers, like the Worth Anchormate II shown here, that allowed anglers to place and retract their anchors without actually touching the anchor or the line. Theses units also allowed the angler to do this from afar. [Read more…]

Boat Shops of the Past – Leach’s Sporting Goods

Leach’s Sporting Goods ad from 1976.

As a small kid in the early to mid ‘70s, my mom would take me to Leach’s Sporting Goods to buy worms, sinkers and hooks. Although I was there to but these goods, I could stand and stare for hours at the crankbaits hanging on the walls or the plastic grubs and worms located in the coffee cans on the shelves. It was a dream-like place for a kid bitten with the fishing bug.

What intrigued me most about Leach’s, though, was the “boat shop” out back. In the early days of my family’s fishing adventures we didn’t have a boat and resorted to renting when we went to the local lakes to fish. For those of you that fished southern Cal during those days, you remember the old (even at that time) wood and glass sleds they rented that might top out at 3 mph with a 6-horse Merc going downwind. [Read more…]

Season at a Glance: 1972 Bassmaster Trail – Part Three

Don Butler looks on as his winning string of fish is weighed. Photo Bassmaster Magazine Jan/Feb 1973 issue.

This is Part Three of a three-part series on the 1972 Bassmaster Tournament Trail. To read Part One, click here and to read Part Two, click here.

The 1972 season ended with Roland Martin placing fourth or higher in all six events of the season and walking away with the ’72 AOY award. All that was left for him to accomplish was to win the 2nd-annual Bass Master Classic.

Again the World Championship of bass fishing would be held at a “mystery lake” somewhere in the country and anglers would only be allowed 10 pounds of tackle.

The previous year’s event at Lake Mead, NV had provided a long flight from Atlanta, GA to the tournament locale for anglers to get in the mindset of fishing the Nevada desert’s stingy waters. This year, though, the anglers would only have a 30-minute flight to get a grasp on the location.

Here are some words, as written by Bob Cobb, from the Jan/Feb issue of Bass Master Magazine regarding the atmosphere on the plane.

“The announcement aboard a ‘mystery flight’ on American Airlines out of Memphis, was greeted with SHOCK! The fizz in the bubbly being served made a louder noise than the two dozen fishermen, who had dreams of a much longer fight than 30 minutes.”

Most anglers thought the event would again be held at some deep, clear western reservoir or maybe even a shallow Florida lake. Instead, Tennessee’s Percy Priest Reservoir was chosen and the five Tennessee locals present were instantly given top billing amongst their competitors.

Ray Scott remarked on why Percy Priest was chosen as the venue and here are his comments.

“We brought the Classic here because Nashville is here. This is the center of the bass fishing universe. More champions have been spawned on Tennessee waters (11 in 32 events) than any state. Last year, we held the Classic in the West. It was only natural that it be returned to this area this year.” [Read more…]

Scorecard Snapshot – Sight for Sore Eyes (or mouths)

The top two finishers at the February 2005 Bassmaster Tour event on the Harris Chain were Floridians Peter Thliveros and Jim Bitter. It was Peter T’s fourth win with B.A.S.S., and the $102,000 paycheck dwarfed his previous largest check, although he beat that amount in both 2006 and 2007 by winning two majors that paid $250,000 apiece.

While the Harris Chain event may be memorable to Peter T, to most fishing fans it is historically significant for other reasons. Do you remember the controversy that surrounded it?

To figure out why it was meaningful, go down to 96th place.

David Dudley’s tournament performance at the Harris Chain may not have been notable, but during practice he opened up a hornet’s nest through what he termed “defensive” fishing. Specifically, there were obvious spawning fish waiting to be caught, but he knew that with a late boat number he’d almost certainly find them gone when he arrived. Therefore, he went and stuck a couple of bass during practice to ensure that they wouldn’t bite again during the tournament. [Read more…]

Is There Really Anything New in Bass Fishing?

Whopper Stopper Ad circa 1976.

As usual, I was cruising an old magazine the other day and this ad caught my eye. Every old-time basser at least remembers the old Whopper Stopper company (now owned by Pradco) and probably had their arm worn out from throwing the Hellbender – what a great bait that was. What originally made me stop, though, was the Bayou Boogie, a bait we’d today call a vibration bait, or Trap.

Upon further review of the ad something else caught my eye – the Dirtybird. Look at the Dirtybird close, though. Does it ring a bell in your head? Do patent suits come to mind? Does the name Chatterbait leap into your head? It should. [Read more…]

For the Man who has………….

I bet this bait was hard to beat (with the hook on it)?

……………..I’ll let you all fill in the blank.

Because my job is going through old bass fishing magazines in order to archive where we’ve been in the bass fishing world over time, I came across an ad recently and was reminded of something that I thought I’d released from my inner memory long ago. Although the moral majority may not want to hear this, there’s a big history of sex in bass fishing ads – be it the 1972 Bassmaster Magazine where a bikini-clad woman is posing in a new hooty-do bass boat or the same “lady” posing with a Heddon Zaragossa (hooks applied), trying to sell these goods to the bass man. In fact, back in the 70s and 80s, there was a ton of it in our magazines – every one, mind you. [Read more…]

An Impossible Cast

I just recently got done reading a book that’s given me a whole new perspective on bass fishing. It’s a book about Glen Andrews, an angler I hadn’t heard about until I started this site a month or so ago. The book is so important with respect to the early history of bass fishing I thought I’d post it here for you all to see. Check out the particulars under Historical Links. If you get the book, I’m sure your thoughts on the beginnings of the sport will forever be changed – and in a good way.

The First Drive-Through Bass Master Classic Weigh-In

[Editor’s Note: Since starting this site, I have been blessed by numerous people sending me ideas for articles about things that are relevant to the history of bass fishing. One of these people is none other than the first Bass Master Tournament Director, Harold Sharp. Harold, as you may well know, is an encyclopedia when it comes to the history of BASS (with or without periods) and all bass fishing. Harold has been an integral part of this site already, always there for me to bounce ideas off of or to proof an article before it gets published.

Recently after reading the series on the 1971 Bass Master Tournament Trail, Harold sent me an email documenting how the first drive-through weigh-in came about. Here are his words on that historic event.]

The first Bass Master Classics were all secret events where the anglers, media, no one knew the location. The boats were trucked to the event site, in the dead of night, so no one would be tipped off, and then were stored prior to the event. [Read more…]

SoCal Sticks of the Past – “Lunker” Bill Murphy

“Lunker” Bill Murphy. Photo reprinted with permission from Dave Coolidge.

Bill Murphy needs no introduction when it comes to bass fishing. He is arguably one of the fathers of trophy bass hunting and his tenure on the water yielded an almost-uncountable number of fish over ten. To top this off, Murphy did a lot of his best work during the early stage of the Florida Revolution in San Diego – a time when the big-fish population was being born. He learned his skills on the water and taught himself the ways of the big girls. He had no instructor or mentor – he was the Yoda of the day. [Read more…]

Scorecard Snapshot – What Could Have Been

The 1994 Bassmaster Georgia Invitational on Lake Lanier seems to be a pretty typical Lanier derby for that time period – relatively low weights and won by local angler Mickey Bruce (his third and final BASS win and second on Lanier). That was the pre-blueback period on Lanier, so the while the spotted bass experts like Bruce, Tom Mann Jr. and Cliff Craft generally mopped up, the bass hadn’t yet grown to true spotzilla proportions.

But look down the check line a little bit and you might see a little bit of angling history…sad angling history. [Read more…]