Archives for May 2014

Let’s Look Back – Part 25

Those who've used it much for crappie know the Pippin Wobbler is a great little lure.  What they might not know is that it can also be darn good for bass if used properly when conditions are right. Photo San Fagerstrom.

Those who’ve used it much for crappie know the Pippin Wobbler is a great little lure. What they might not know is that it can also be darn good for bass if used properly when conditions are right. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Sometimes it’s the smallest lures in a tackle box tray that leave us with the biggest memories.

If you read my previous column you know I told how a little lure that hasn’t been available for years was a fish catching son of gun when it was handled right. The lure I told about was the fly rod version Pflueger Pippin Wobbler.

I wound up catching crappies on that dandy little lure wherever those good eating panfish were to be found. I also mentioned something else in my previous column. It was just how good this little lure could be for largemouth bass when conditions were right. [Read more…]

Season at a Glance: 1977 Bassmaster Trail – Part One

Bill Dance was the leader in the 1977 Bassmaster Angler of the Year Race and the midway point of the season. Photo May/June 1977 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Bill Dance was the leader in the 1977 Bassmaster Angler of the Year Race and the midway point of the season. Photo May/June 1977 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

[Editor’s Note: This is Part One of a Five-Part series on the 1977 Bassmaster Tournament Trail. Part one cover the first half of the regular season, Part Two will cover the second half, Part Three will cover the BASS Chapter Federation Nationals, Part Four the Classic Qualifiers and part Five the Bassmaster Classic.]

It’s been a few months since we looked back on the early Bassmaster Tournament Trail so it’s about time we picked back up where we left off – 1977. The 1976 season ended with Jimmy Houston winning the coveted Angler of the Year award and Rick Clunn won the first of his four Bassmaster Classics. What would 1977 bring? [Read more…]

Mercury’s Trolling Motor Debut

Thruster 1In 1977 the Big Black motor company decided it was about time to take a stab at the trolling motor industry. Why not? They had a pretty good market share of the outboard industry at the time – they might as well try and get some of the electric motor market too. 

A first look at the motor and one could see it was different than any other electric motor on the market due to the giant propeller. In fact, the prop was in some cases twice as big as any other trolling motor prop in the industry. The concept was simple, with more blade surface area and pitch, the prop didn’t have to turn as fast as smaller props on the market to go the same distance. Hence, in theory, the motor didn’t have to work as hard and this would save your batteries.  [Read more…]

Introducing Jason Lucas – Sports Afield March 1945

Sports Afield, March 1945. Reprinted with written permission.

Sports Afield, March 1945. Reprinted with written permission.

As we’ve written in the past, Jason Lucas is one of the early pioneers of the sport of bass fishing. His 24 years as the Fishing Editor for Sports Afield along with his book, Lucas on Bass Fishing, have cemented his name in the annals of the sport forever. Unfortunately, not many anglers younger than 40 know of him or his many contributions.

Because of this, there are a number of us bass historians who are dedicated to making sure his name isn’t forgotten and that hopefully someday his name will be as recognizable as Bill Dance, Roland Martin or Jimmy Houston. He’s that important to the history of bass fishing. [Read more…]

Memorial Day Observance

Memorial DayIn observance of those who have given their lives in order protect our country in the past, present and future, we will be taking Friday through Monday off. The Monday trivia contest will resume June 2 and all other features next Tuesday, May 27.

Thank you to all.

BFA Staff

Northwoods Slop Baits 1979

Slop baits offered in the Northwoods catalog from 1979. Artwork by Wiley Miller.

Slop baits offered in the Northwoods catalog from 1979. Artwork by Wiley Miller.

Earlier this week we featured a piece on electronics from the 1979 Northwoods catalog. One of the comments we received from that post was in regards to the artwork in the catalog depicting how a bass might attack the lures featured on a page.

The artwork throughout the catalog was that of wildlife artist Wiley Miller and I thought it would be good not only to look back on gear from the past but also the give some credit to the artwork.

Today we’re looking at what Northwoods had to offer for fishing the slop. You turn to this page and what meets your eyes is a bass about ready to engulf a Bill Plummer Super Frog. If that vision wouldn’t get you to buy one of those frogs, I don’t know what would. It’s a nice piece of art depicting what might be going on under the surface of the water. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Shaw in the Sunshine Answer and Winner (May 19, 2014)

Shaw Grigsby bookUnfortunately we didn’t have a winner in this week’s trivia contest sponsored by GYCB. Come back next week and try again. Until then, the answers from this week’s quiz are below.

These days both major tours seem to make at least one stop in Florida every year. In fact, some years a single tour will hold multiple events in the Sunshine State. That wasn’t always the case. Prior to holding a Top 150 on Toho and an Invitational on the St. Johns River on back-to-back weeks in 1999, B.A.S.S. hadn’t been held a major tournament in Florida in seven years.

The Florida residents made sure to show that they enjoyed home cooking upon their return. While Georgia pro Danny Kirk won the Top 150 on Toho, Floridians Terry Segraves and Shaw Grigsby were tied for 2nd, just 7 ounces back. The following week, at the St. Johns Eastern Invitational, Grigsby outlasted the rest of the field over two days of competition to claim his sixth B.A.S.S. victory, and the first from a tournament headquartered in Florida. He’d previously won three times in Texas, once in Georgia and once on Lake Seminole. [Read more…]

A Fishing Line You’ve Never Heard Of…?

1986 Fishing Facts ad for the French fishing line "Tortue."

1986 Fishing Facts ad for the French fishing line “Tortue.”

Seems like the more we browse through these old books and magazines, the more little discoveries we come across. Case in point is this ad from 1986 from a Fishing Facts magazine for Tortue Fishing Line. Anybody ever hear of it? I know I hadn’t, so I had to do a little research. Hardly any other ads for them, no sponsored bass pros to my knowledge, but surprisingly, they’re still around.

So “Tortue” is French for “turtle,” which explains why one appeared in the ad. It was started as a French company, but I later found the following on the RapalaWorld website; [Read more…]

Northwoods Finders of 1979

1979 Northwoods catalog from the people that brought you Fishing Facts magazine.

1979 Northwoods catalog from the people that brought you Fishing Facts magazine.

This weekend I was looking over a 1979 Northwoods catalog, printed and distributed by the folks at Fishing Facts, and a number of items caught my eye. First off, the entire from half of the catalog was devoted to clothing. Although I’m familiar with the winters of the north, this was there spring/summer issue and one would think they’d want to be selling tackle rather than cold-weather gear. I wondered what the fall issue would look like.

The second item that took me back in time was actually not just a single piece of equipment but an entire list of gear we had available to us that year – depthfinders. Although Northwoods offered a good selection, Lowrance, Humminbird and Fish Hawk, missing was Vexilar, Ray Jefferson and SITEX. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Shaw in the Sunshine (May 19, 2014)

Shaw Grigsby bookThese days both major tours seem to make at least one stop in Florida every year. In fact, some years a single tour will hold multiple events in the Sunshine State. That wasn’t always the case. Prior to holding a Top 150 on Toho and an Invitational on the St. Johns River on back-to-back weeks in 1999, B.A.S.S. hadn’t been held a major tournament in Florida in seven years.

The Florida residents made sure to show that they enjoyed home cooking upon their return. While Georgia pro Danny Kirk won the Top 150 on Toho, Floridians Terry Segraves and Shaw Grigsby were tied for 2nd, just 7 ounces back. The following week, at the St. Johns Eastern Invitational, Grigsby outlasted the rest of the field over two days of competition to claim his sixth B.A.S.S. victory, and the first from a tournament headquartered in Florida. He’d previously won three times in Texas, once in Georgia and once on Lake Seminole. [Read more…]

Do You Know Your Swivel History?

Terminal tackle doesn’t get a lot of love or press, but if you ask any bass angler to name a swivel company, chances are the answer you’ll immediately get is “Sampo.” The company is practically synonymous with ball bearing swivels in the minds of most anglers. However, what are the odds that anyone could tell you much more about the history of the company? For example, did you know that the Sampo company was created in 1948 by Oney Johnson in Daly City, California? Or that the word “Sampo” is Finnish for “wonderful thing?” Or that in 1957, Jerry Butts and Jack Spriggs from Rome Specialty Co. bought Sampo, and that it later got split off into a stand-alone company (again)?

1988 Sampo ball-bearing swivel ad

1988 Sampo ball-bearing swivel ad

Check out the Sampo ad above from 1988 (click to enlarge). You just have to laugh at that “bird’s nest” representation. Then, to learn more about the fascinating history behind these “two” companies, check out their online history pages at the links below.

Monday Trivia – Menendez Mows ‘Em Down Answer and Winner (May 12, 2014)

Photo MarkMenendez.com

Photo MarkMenendez.com

Congratulations to Andy Williamson for winning this week’s trivia contest sponsored by GYCB! For the answers, please read below.

In early 1998, Mark Menendez was a 34 year-old Kentucky pro with a spotty record over seven years of B.A.S.S. competition. He’d qualified for the 1997 Bassmaster Classic, but had only a single Top-10 finish to his credit, just eight months earlier. He turned that around in March with a victory in the Alabama Top 100 on Pickwick and Wilson Lakes.

While the majority of the field stayed in Pickwick, Menendez locked through to Wilson each day where he jerkbaited his way to three consecutive limits totaling 60-03, a tiny bit over 4 pounds per fish. Most were smallmouths, although he did land a few largemouths.

Despite the winner’s impressive catch, the weights fell off relatively quick thereafter and it took only 36-08 to make the top ten. The difficulty in catching better limits was caused largely by heavy winds, up to 30 miles per hour at times, that made navigation and positioning difficult if not treacherous. [Read more…]