Archives for June 2013

James Heddon’s Sons and Sisson

1988 Heddon Lee Sisson ad.

1988 Heddon Lee Sisson ad.

Okay, yeah I’m on a lure rant this week but I’m not sorry for it. It was the mystique of the bass lure that got me interested in bass fishing to begin with. Not only that but anglers have been carving imitators out of wood for millennia in order to trick the worthy adversary, the bass, so without bass lures, we’d have a much different history to tell. So, for the third day in a row we’re going to talk about bass lures, this time one of the old horses in the stall and one of the contemporary ones. Specifically Heddon and Lee Sisson.

We all know the Heddon name and that they’re one of the longest living lure manufacturers in the United States. They’ve made some of the most iconic lures ever designed, held the title of the “lure that caught the world record bass” for over 70 years and have beat the test of time for over 100 years. [Read more…]

Rebel Blackstar – The Product of Too Much Thought

Rebel Blackstar ad from 1988.

Rebel Blackstar ad from 1988.

By 1988 there many major advances in technology had made it to the forefront of bass fishing. Kevlar had made it into boat hulls, liquid crystals were starting to show up in depthfinders and it was difficult to buy a bass rod that wasn’t made out of graphite. Some of these breakthroughs worked – others didn’t – which brings us to the breakthrough Blackstar technology that Rebel was touting.

It’s one thing to come out with a product that sports a new technology but Rebel decided to incorporate five new concepts into one lure. In my opinion, only one was worthwhile and another falls into the “maybe” category. Three of the ground-breaking technologies, though, made you really wonder about the designers and if they had any experience with fish other than a Mickey-D’s Filet-o-Fish sandwich. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Some Bassmaster History Answers and Winner (June 24, 2013)

Harold SharpUnfortunately no one was able to guess this week’s answers on the Bass Fishing Archives Monday Trivia Contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits. We knew one of these was a tough piece of history but didn’t realize all of them were this tough. Look next week for an easier question(s). In the meantime, the answers to these are preented below.

Here at the Bass Fishing Archives we are always looking for cool trivia questions. Much as in other sports, there’s a ton of statistics and data on our sport that allow us to look back at significant times and events that shaped our sport. This week’s trivia questions are no different.

You all have read Harold Sharp’s stories here on the Bass Fishing Archives and you also know he’s a treasure trove of information when it comes to the early years of B.A.S.S. and bass fishing history. We’ve all enjoyed the stories he reflects on from time to time here and we also appreciate the time he takes to make sure we “get it right” here at the BFAs. [Read more…]

Bombs Away

Bomber Bait Company ad circa 1968.

Bomber Bait Company ad circa 1968.

We’ve talked here a lot lately about lures that were made and were successful but for some reason the manufacturer quit making them. Examples of this would be Stan Fagerstrom’s favorite Heddon lure called the Basser, Storm’s original Wiggle Wart or even the Rapala Fat Rap. But what I want to talk about today was the flagship lure of a company that’s still with us – although it was long-ago bought out by one of the biggest tackle conglomerates there is today.

That company is the Bomber Bait Company and the lure I’m talking about was their 200-, 300-, 400-, 500- and 600-series crankbaits. I can’t think of many other baits that have such a successful history as the old “backwards” Bomber, as my friends and I used to call them when we were kids. The Heddon River Runt may have been the first crankbait I ever caught a bass on but the Bomber 400-series in Christmas Tree was the crankbait I caught most of my early bass on at Lake Irvine, Lake Henshaw and Vail Lake. In fact, it was at Vail Lake that I remember first seeing the lure and its effectiveness – in Bayou Bay. [Read more…]

The Story of Fishing Facts Magazine

Bill Binkelman, founder of Fishing Facts magazine

Bill Binkelman, founder of Fishing Facts magazine

Once upon a time in the world of fishing, there were pretty much just 3 magazines of note that everybody got their fishing information from; Sports Afield, Field & Stream, and Outdoor Life. As we’ve mentioned on these pages before, guys like Homer Circle and Jason Lucas pretty much ruled the fishing magazine world. That would all begin to change in the mid 60s, thanks to a guy by the name of Bill Binkelman. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Some Bassmaster History (June 24, 2013)

Harold SharpHere at the Bass Fishing Archives we are always looking for cool trivia questions. Much as in other sports, there’s a ton of statistics and data on our sport that allow us to look back at significant times and events that shaped our sport. This week’s trivia questions are no different.

You all have read Harold Sharp’s stories here on the Bass Fishing Archives and you also know he’s a treasure trove of information when it comes to the early years of B.A.S.S. and bass fishing history. We’ve all enjoyed the stories he reflects on from time to time here and we also appreciate the time he takes to make sure we “get it right” here at the BFAs. [Read more…]

Possibly The First Black Bass Association

Bronze Back Guide pulished by Western Bass Club INC in 1968 6th Edition.

Bronze Back Guide published by Western Bass Club INC in 1968 6th Edition.

A few weeks ago after we posted the review of Lunkers Love Nightcrawlers we received a comment from reader Clyde Drury. I wrote him a letter thanking him for his kind words and since then we’ve been corresponding via email. For those of you who don’t know Clyde, he’s a bass fishing historian and has probably the largest library associated with bass fishing ever assembled. He’s also written a number of books on the subject and has written forewords and reviews of nearly every book ever published on the subject.

A couple of weeks ago we posted a piece on Jason Lucas entitled “Finding Bass – a la Lucas” and Clyde again made a comment on the article. In that piece he mentioned a book that I didn’t know of so I emailed him to get more information about it. In our conversation Clyde said he had an extra copy and he would send it to me. Well, on Monday of this week I received a box in the mail from across the country. The box was far too big for just one book and when I opened it up there were 18 books in it along with a letter. [Read more…]

Structure Fishing and Efficiency – Roland Martin

Roland Martin shows how he's attached a transducer to the trolling motor shaft to enable him to accurately track structure while fishing. Photo 1973 Bassmaster Fishing Annual.

Roland Martin shows how he’s attached a transducer to the trolling motor shaft to enable him to accurately track structure while fishing. Photo 1973 Bassmaster Fishing Annual.

In the last few weeks here on the Bass Fishing Archives we’ve talked a lot about Jason Lucas and his contributions to the sport of bass fishing. Lucas didn’t coin the phrase structure fishing – again that was Buck Perry – but he was one of, if not the, first anglers to preach fishing in deep water. Then came Perry in the mid-60s with his spoonplugging technique and the actual advent of the phrase, structure fishing.

Then in the early ‘70s a young blond kid joined the ranks of the Bassmaster tournament circuit and turned it on its ear. He touted fishing patterns and structure and won six of the first 10 Bassmaster Angler of the Year trophies. That angler was none other than Roland Martin. [Read more…]

Scorecard Snapshot – Fritts Continues to Blitz Answer and Winner (June 17, 2013)

Photo Bassmaster.com

Photo Bassmaster.com

This week we had a number of readers post their answers and most all of them got at least one part correct. Unfortunately none of them got the entire answer correct and, therefore, we have no winner for this week. Come back next Monday and test your memory (or Internet search skills) when Harold Sharp hands out a three-question quiz regarding the Bass Anglers Sportsman Sociatey. For this week’s answers, read below.

As we’ve written previously on the BFA, in the early 1990s the Fritts Blitz was in full effect. Carolina cranker David Fritts, veteran of Operation Bass and a number of regional trails, didn’t fish B.A.S.S. consistently until 1988. He didn’t record his first top ten until May of 1990, when he finished 4th in the Alabama Invitational at Guntersville. At that point, he wasn’t a household name, but shortly thereafter he started to make his mark. [Read more…]

A Better Way to Triangulate?

Who's buyin it?

Who’s buyin it?

Every once in a while we stumble across an ad that makes you realize, A.) how far we’ve come technologically over the past 40+ years, as well as, B.) if there is a way to capitalize on something to sell to a fisherman, somebody will figure it out and try and market it.

Apparently it wasn’t enough back in the days before GPS to just use your head and eyeballs, along with a little effort, to get a good triangulation lineup, similar to what guys like Bill Dance and others recommended. For just $4.95 you could have had this fancy piece of plastic and mirrors to let you see in 3 directions at once, apparently speeding up or allowing for a better triangulation. I can almost imagine a tourney back then, with all the notable offshore bass pros secretly pulling their Spot Finder out from a storage compartment when no one is looking to get their lineups on some secluded hole filled with bass waiting to chomp on a Texas-rigged plastic worm the next day – NOT.

Elwood “Buck” Perry – The Father of Structure Fishing

Buck Perry Spoonplugging ad circa 1974.

Buck Perry Spoonplugging ad circa 1974.

If you haven’t heard of Buck Perry you’re either very new to the sport or you just don’t read – at which you’re probably not reading this and therefore that comment won’t offend you. For those of you who have heard of him, though, you know he is credited with being one of the forefathers of modern bass fishing and especially credited with the way we all approach deep-water structure fishing.

It’s not my intent to start an argument in regards to who it was that first began to venture away from the shoreline and probe the depths for bass but it’s certain that Perry was one of the first preachers of structure fishing – he actually coined the phrase – and without a doubt the most vocal. Stories of him wrecking bass on fished-out waters throughout the United States can easily be found by doing a simple search of his name in whatever Internet search engine you prefer. [Read more…]

Scorecard Snapshot – Fritts Continues to Blitz (June 17, 2013)

Photo Bassmaster.com

Photo Bassmaster.com

As we’ve written previously on the BFA, in the early 1990s the Fritts Blitz was in full effect. Carolina cranker David Fritts, veteran of Operation Bass and a number of regional trails, didn’t fish B.A.S.S. consistently until 1988. He didn’t record his first top ten until May of 1990, when he finished 4th in the Alabama Invitational at Guntersville. At that point, he wasn’t a household name, but shortly thereafter he started to make his mark. [Read more…]