Archives for February 2014

Let’s Look Back – Part 22

Few men have had a bigger impact on the world of professional bass fishing than my friend Forrest Wood.  He's also a darn good fisherman himself.  Here he's rigs a bait I got to watch him use once while we were both taking a little time away from attending a Bassmasters Classic. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Few men have had a bigger impact on the world of professional bass fishing than my friend Forrest Wood. He’s also a darn good fisherman himself. Here he rigs a bait I got to watch him use once while we were both taking a little time away from attending a Bassmasters Classic. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

I started writing about bass fishing a couple of weeks after the Pilgrims found that big rock in the eastern part of the country.

Well, maybe it hasn’t been quite that long but sometimes it feels like it.  My first newspaper fishing columns were written in 1946.  That’s 68 years ago if my Scandinavian arithmetic is reasonably close to being correct.

Write columns for newspapers, do features for magazines and eventually the Internet, plus giving casting exhibitions all over the place for almost the same length of time has brought unexpected bonuses from time to time. [Read more…]

50-plus Years of Frogs

Snag Proof ad circa 1975.

Snag Proof ad circa 1975.

When one thinks of hollow-bodied frogs these days, there are a lot of choices to choose from. In fact it seems every manufacturer out there is making one. But when one thinks of the original frog companies, there’s only one – Harry Ehler’s Snag Proof Frog.

The Snag Proof frog was produced way before its time. The design was brilliant – a hollow rubber body with an integral double hook where its points rested tight against the top of the body. Designed this way the angler could cast the frog into the nastiest weeds or brush and not have to worry about getting snagged. Unfortunately, when the frog was originally manufactured in 1961 it lost more fish than it caught. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Megabucks Answers and Winner (February 24, 2014)

Amongst his many Bassmaster wins, Rick Clunn was the last angler to win a Megabucks event.

Amongst his many Bassmaster wins, Rick Clunn was the last angler to win a Megabucks event.

Congratulations to Kurt Mazurek for winning this week’s Bass Fishing Archives Trivia Contest! For the answers, please read below.

No this week we’re not giving away Megabucks to the winner. It’ll be the same $25 e-coupon from Gary Yamamoto Custom baits – which is a pretty good deal. Instead, with the Classic, just over, we’re going to switch gears and talk a little about the Bassmaster Megabucks series of events that was held between 1986 and 2001.

Megabucks was an event spawned to bring spectator participation into professional bass fishing and even television. With the field cut to only 10 anglers in the final round, they would fish the first-ever hole course in bass fishing, allowing shoreline spectators and boaters to witness the action. The first event was a success and there began the Megabucks. [Read more…]

Don Brashears’ Pro Bass Shop

Don Brashears' Pro Bass Shop #1 ad circa 1974.

Don Brashears’ Pro Bass Shop #1 ad circa 1974.

I’ve only been to Missouri once and that was about a 5-hour stay – total. I rolled into Springfield one morning around 5:00 a.m., got a hotel for two hours, woke up and headed to Mountain Home, AR to pick up a boat. On the way home, I stopped again in Springfield to visit the original Bass Pro Shops and three hours later (and about $300 lighter) I headed back across the plains to Idaho  – boat in tow.

The more I read and talk to people, though, the more I wish I’d grown up in the Missouri/Arkansas/Kansas area. I mean I’d always noticed that a lot of the greats in bass fishing history hailed from the Midwest but I never really knew much other than that. Heck, great bass fishermen can come from anywhere – even a state thought to have limited bass fishing such as Idaho. Well, in my early years, the Midwest may as well have been Idaho for all I knew. [Read more…]

The First True Boat Wraps

Denny Brauer in 2002 with Busch beer, his primary sponsor at the time.

Denny Brauer in 2002 with Busch beer, his primary sponsor at the time.

A few weeks back we posted a picture of Charlie Brewer’s old 1970s bass boat featuring both his company logo and his Fishing Facts Field Staff credentials. It was a pretty common display for the time, and was one of the many precursors to true boat wraps in the freshwater fishing world that we now see on most every semi-serious angler’s boats. But somebody had to have been the first guy to wrap their boat with a fully covered vinyl decal. The question is who? I think I now have the answers. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Megabucks (February 24, 2014)

Amongst his many Bassmaster wins, Rick Clunn was the last angler to win a Megabucks event.

Amongst his many Bassmaster wins, Rick Clunn was the last angler to win a Megabucks event.

No this week we’re not giving away Megabucks to the winner. It’ll be the same $25 e-coupon from Gary Yamamoto Custom baits – which is a pretty good deal. Instead, with the Classic, just over, we’re going to switch gears and talk a little about the Bassmaster Megabucks series of events that was held between 1986 and 2001.

Megabucks was an event spawned to bring spectator participation into professional bass fishing and even television. With the field cut to only 10 anglers in the final round, they would fish the first-ever hole course in bass fishing, allowing shoreline spectators and boaters to witness the action. The first event was a success and there began the Megabucks. [Read more…]

Patches – Dan Basore

Dan Basore poses with a number of his 1970s tournament patches.

Dan Basore poses with a number of his 1970s tournament patches. Photo Brenda Serrano.

My first encounter with Dan Basore was at the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame induction dinner. He came up to Bassmaster record holder Blake Honeycutt and thanked him for helping him with his Humminbird Transducer. You see, Honeycutt was part of the three-man team that started Humminbird and knew a little about the equipment. Basore and I then talked briefly but I didn’t really get a good idea who he was or what he did.

It wouldn’t be until the first day of the Bassmaster Classic Expo that I’d get to talk with him more – and essentially get an education of his life. He’s been there – done that and has the patches to prove it – along with the jumpsuits, hats and tournament vests. [Read more…]

Lew’s – Back to 1975

Lew's is celebrating 40 years of manufacturing. Photo Brenda Serrano.

Lew’s is celebrating 40 years of manufacturing. Photo Brenda Serrano.

Yes we’ve done a number of Lew’s stories on the Bass Fishing Archives but when you can see the old stuff in the flesh, you have to write about it. What made this even better, though, was Lew’s had a bunch of their vintage gear spread throughout another vintage piece of equipment, a refurbished 1974 Ranger Boat.

Inside the boat were four pristine BB-1 reels coupled to some original glass Seep Stick rods. Inside the hip-roof box was a myriad of plugs – old Bombers, Big-Os, Heddon River Runts, etc – most of which were in pretty decent condition. The reel were even spooled with original Blue Stren. [Read more…]

History – Some of it is New

Boats lined up on the main deck. Photo Brenda Serrano

Boats lined up on the main deck. Photo Brenda Serrano

With Media Day over I thought I’d post some pictures of the event, which was held at Regions Field – home of Birmingham’s double-A baseball team the Barons. It was a nice venue as the luncheon was held in a large meeting room on the second deck and the boats were scattered along the main deck under the upper-level seats. [Read more…]

Applied Science: Bagley Clones Little Gamefish

Early Bagley 'Small Fry' ad. In'Fisherman, April-May, 1979.

Early Bagley ‘Small Fry’ ad. In’Fisherman, April-May, 1979.

While there is some debate about which company actually started the natural finish craze that hit the crankbait market in the very late 70s and early 80s, there is little doubt which company made the most lifelike creations at the time. Thanks to advances in technology, manufacturers were able to take quality photographic images and apply them to the surfaces of their baits. Now, instead of painting on an image of a fish in a spray room, instead you would end up with a picture of a baitfish or a crawdad applied to your lure. [Read more…]

Kill or be Killed

Mars Safety Swich Company's Kill Switch, circa 1974. Photo from February/March 1974 issue of American Bass Fisherman.

Mars Safety Swich Company’s Kill Switch, circa 1974. Photo from February/March 1974 issue of American Bass Fisherman.

We’ve talked about the development of the kill switch here before on the Bass Fishing Archives. It was invented by a gentleman by the name of Dr. Allen Tomlin in 1973 and he was awarded the patent to the idea in December, 1973.

So, I was a bit surprised when I was looking through the February/March 1974 issue of American Bass Fisherman and saw this ad by the Mars Safety Switch Company out of Greenville, SC. I know the information pipeline back in the early 70s wasn’t what it is today but I would have thought that a patent attorney back then would have been on the ball enough to know that there was a patent pending on an item like this? [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Classic History Answers and Winner (February 17, 2014)

Jimmy Houston Bassmaster Classic V. Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

Jimmy Houston Bassmaster Classic V. Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

Congrats to John Karbowski for winning this week’s Bass Fishing Archives trivia contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits. For the answers read below.

The 44th Bassmaster Classic is set to begin in only four days. It’s hard to believe that 43 years ago 24 of the best anglers in the world congregated in Las Vegas, Nevada to participate in Classic I on Lake Mead. Fishing in relative obscurity – minus those who were in the media corp or followed the fledgling Bassmaster Magazine – those anglers carved the way for this week’s field and what has become known as the biggest tournament in bass fishing. [Read more…]