Season at a Glance: Bassmaster Trail 1978 – Part Six

In 1978 Bobby Murray became the second angler to win two Bassmaster Classics. Photo by Stan Fagerstrom.

In 1978 Bobby Murray became the second angler to win two Bassmaster Classics. Photo by Stan Fagerstrom.

[Editor’s note: This is the final part of a six-part series on the 1978 Bassmaster Trail. Click the following links to read Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four and Part Five.]

In the last installment of Season at a Glace – 1978 Bassmaster Trail we went over the Classic VIII contestants. Today we’re looking back at Classic VIII, an event held on Mississippi’s Ross Barnett Reservoir – or “The Rez” as it’s known to locals.

B.A.S.S. had visited The Rez numerous times before and with good reason – the lake flat produced. But by 1978, the lake was in its mid-life crisis, and not only were keepers hard to come by, there weren’t many fish at all. Top that off with the fact that the lake was 2 1/2-feet low and this seemed to be a recipe for a Classic disaster. [Read more…]

Zorro 1977

1977 Zorro Ad.

1977 Zorro Ad.

Stan Sloan will forever hold the distinction of being the first angler to win a Ray Scott event – winning the first All-American held on Beaver Lake in 1967. Sloan could also claim another first, that being the man who designed the built the bait that won the first Bassmaster Classic in 1971 at Lake Mead, NV. Over the course of his professional bass fishing career, Sloan never fished a full year on the Bassmaster Trail. The closest he came to that was the 1973 season where he fished five events. Most years he only fished two or three events, yet he made the Classic the first five years in a row.

Aside from being one of the top anglers in the early history of competitive bass fishing, Sloan was also a corrections officer, but more importantly, he was a superb bait maker. His Zorro Aggravator spinnerbaits were some of the most-used spinnerbaits of the time – winning numerous events in the early years. [Read more…]

Classic Patches – 1971 through 1980

Bassmaster Classic I Patch. Winner Bobby Murray. Venue Lake Mead, NV.

Bassmaster Classic I Patch. Winner Bobby Murray. Venue Lake Mead, NV.

I Travel a lot for my day job, often times more than three weeks a month. The past four months have been especially difficult in that I’ve been on the road for more than 90-percent of that time. You know you travel a lot when you know, by name, flight attendants and hotel concierges – and I seem to know my share of them.

I bring this up for a couple of reasons. First I want to apologize to the readers and supporters of the site for not delivering better pieces – ones that I’ve either promised or need to do. Hopefully my day job will calm down some in the near future and I’ll be able to get back to the historical pieces I’ve had on the back burner for some time now. [Read more…]

Season at a Glance: Bassmaster Trail 1978 – Part Five

1978 Bassmaster Classic Press Guide courtesy of Ken Duke.

1978 Bassmaster Classic Press Guide courtesy of Ken Duke.

[Editor’s note: This is Part Five of a six-part series on the 1978 Bassmaster Trail. Click the following links to read Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four.]

The 1978 Bassmaster Classic would feature the top-24 anglers from the Bassmaster Trail qualifiers plus one angler from the Federation. In years past, qualification was determined by a points system, 50 for 1st place, 49 for 2nd place, etc. This year, though, B.A.S.S. moved to a total weight system – one they’d use for a number of years thereafter.

In this installment of the 1978 Season at a Glance, we’re looking into the anglers who qualified for Classic VIII in the order of their Angler of the Year placement. Note that the data is taken from a 1978 Bassmaster Classic Media and Press guide provided by Ken Duke. [Read more…]

Kiekhaefer’s Greek God

A 1946 Kiekhaefer Corporation Mercury ad.

A 1946 Kiekhaefer Corporation Mercury ad. Even in 1946 bikini-clad ladies were used to sell fishing-related equipment.

Back before there were Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki, there were three individual outboard motor companies that ruled the roost. From before World War II and after, these companies had the majority of the market share of all outboard sales, often sharing almost equal portions of it. Those companies were Mercury, Johnson and Evinrude. Today we’re going to look at the start of the black motor – Mercury.

Mercury outboards was technically started in the mid-‘30s under the name of Thor and built by Thorwald Company. Then in 1939 a man by the name of Carl Kiekhaefer took over the company, for reasons other than outboard motor manufacture. Although Thorwald Company’s main business was outboard motor production, the Kiekhaefers bought the company to change it into a magnetic separators manufacturer. [Read more…]

Season at a Glance: 1978 Bassmaster Trail – Part Four

Alabama not only broke the combined weight record for a Federation Championship, they won an unprecedented back-to-back victory. Photo February 1979 issue of Bassmaster magazine.

Alabama not only broke the combined weight record for a Federation Championship, they won an unprecedented back-to-back victory. Photo February 1979 issue of Bassmaster magazine.

[Editor’s note: This is Part Four of a six-part series on the 1978 Bassmaster Trail. Click the following links to read Part One, Part Two and Part Three.]

So far we’ve covered the six Bassmaster Classic qualifying events for the 1978 Bassmaster Tournament Trail along with the mid-season Bass Champs event. Today we’re looking at the 1978 Bassmaster Federation Championship, which was held on Lake Eufaula, AL, in August, 1978.

Up to this time no state team had won back-to-back championships, although the Tennessee team had won twice, the inaugural event in 1973 and again in 1976. Other winners had been Missouri (1974), Louisiana (1975) and Alabama (1977). [Read more…]

Season at a Glance: 1978 Bassmaster Trail – Part Three

Roland Martin wins his 5th AOY in 1978. Photo February 1979 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Roland Martin wins his 5th AOY in 1978. Photo February 1979 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

[Editor’s note: This is Part Three of a six-part series on the 1978 Bassmaster Trail. Click the following links to read Part One and Part Two. We’re sorry for the lack of a story yesterday – we were experiencing server problems and hope we got it figured out.]

By the beginning of May, the Bassmaster Trail was half way through the 1978 season with three Classic qualifiers completed along with the Bass Champs event. By that point the Bassmaster Angler of the Year race was getting pretty heated with Californian Dave Gliebe in the lead by 10 ounces followed by Jerry Rhyne. The top 10 was fairly stacked with anglers such as; Roland Martin (3rd), Larry Nixon (5th), Tom Mann (6th), Bobby Murray (7th) Rick Clunn (8th). See the table below for the entire top 40 in the 1978 AOY race. [Read more…]

Bass Rod Technology 1950

Heddon Bamboo Casting Rods from their 1950 catalog.

Heddon Bamboo Casting Rods from their 1950 catalog.

I recently procured a number of semi-old Heddon catalogs dating from the early 50s through the late 60s and have been pouring over them to see what the technology of the day was. There are a lot of familiar faces in the catalogs such as the Zara Spook, River Runt, Meadow Mouse, and Lucky 13 – to name a few. It’s really cool to go back and see some of the history of these world-class baits in their original design.

The earliest catalog I have is from the year 1950 and is the subject of this piece. It’s 81 pages long and doesn’t only have a listing of all their tackle, it has pages on how to fish their gear, who was fishing their gear (Homer Circle was one of the more well-known by today’s standards), how they made their gear, etc. It’s no wonder Heddon was the powerhouse of tackle manufacturing of the time. [Read more…]

Season at a Glance: 1978 Bassmaster Trail – Part Two

Larry Nixon, in his second season of Bassmaster competition was proving he was th real deal. Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

Larry Nixon, in his second season of Bassmaster competition was proving he was th real deal. Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

[Editor’s note: This is Part Two of a six-part series on the 1978 Bassmaster Trail. Over the course of the next two weeks we’ll cover the 1978 season, the Classic qualifiers and the 1978 Bassmaster Classic. To read Part One, click here.]

The first Bass Champs event was held in 1977 and pitted the top 10 from the previous Bassmaster Classic against 10 of the top anglers (2nd through 11th) from the B.A.S.S. Federation Championship – the 1st-place angler would go to the Bassmaster Classic. It was an event that didn’t count for much – there were no points towards AOY or Classic qualification – other than a decent pay day for the winner through 10th place and the thrill provided the amateurs of fishing against the toughest pros in competitive bass fishing. [Read more…]

More Bombers

1977 Bomber Speed Shad and Model A being sold in American Bass Fisherman magazine.

1977 Bomber Speed Shad and Model A being sold in American Bass Fisherman magazine.

A couple of weeks ago we did the first part of the 1978 Bassmaster season and in that article, we mentioned Hurley Board’s Lake Gaston win. Board attributed his win not just to sticking to his game plan but also to the use of a Bomber Speed Shad.

After that event, the Speed Shad became the predominant bait on both Gaston and Bugg’s (Kerr depending upon what side of the boarder you’re on) reservoirs. In fact, original Speed Shads are still in high demand for the North Carolina/Virginia boarder waters.

That article sent me on a mission to try and find an old Speed Shad ad to share with you – and I found one from 1977. Not only that, but I found three other Bomber ads dating from the same year, two of which feature crankbait legend, Floyd Mabry. [Read more…]

Plastic Worms 1962

1962 Burke Flexo-Products ad.

1962 Burke Flexo-Products ad.

We’ve discussed a number of times the advent of the contemporary plastic worm and some of the successful baits and manufacturers of the ‘70s and ‘80s. But we’ve talked little about those early PVC wonders. A couple years ago we did a piece on some old Creme, Bagley’s and DeLong baits Stan Fagerstrom showed us in his garage but other than that, we haven’t talked much about the ads from the ‘60s or earlier.

So, in order not to leave out the ‘60s plastic worm offerings, we have a few ads from that era to show you what was hot – or maybe just trying to be sold to the angler as revolutionary. [Read more…]

Western Bass Patches

The original mid-'70s Western Bass Fishing Association patch.

The original mid-’70s Western Bass Fishing Association patch.

A little over a year ago we did a short piece on the patches of western bass organizations. In that story we looked at two patches from the original western organizations, Western Bass Fishing Association and the Southwest Association of Bass Champions, that started in the early ‘70s along with the organization that bought and consolidated the two previous organizations, U.S. Bass. In this piece, thanks for Bass Fishing Hall of Fame inductee, Bill Rice, we have a more complete set of patches to share.

A little history before we start, though. Western Bass Fishing Association started in April, 1973 in order to bring competitive bass fishing to western anglers. The organization was based out of southern California and operated by Western Outdoor News. Not too long after that, the Southwest Association of Bass Champions (SWAB) was started in Arizona. [Read more…]