Old Bass Boats – 1978 Part 1

1978 Sebring Bass Boat ad.

1978 Sebring Bass Boat ad.

This column seems to be the one most frequented by readers so we’re going to give you more of what you like – Old Bass Boats 1978 style. In Part 1, we’re going to start out with the various tournament organizations’ specialty boats. This phenomena all started with Ray Scott and the 1971 Bassmasterr Classic when he purchased from Rebel 25 identical boats for use by the 24 Classic contenders on Lake Mead. After the event the boats were put up for sale and became another form of income for the fledgling tournament organization. [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…]

Fenwick – The Gold Standard of Rods

Early Fenwick HMG Graphite rod ad.

Early Fenwick HMG Graphite rod ad.

I would hate to venture how many rod companies are out there today – it seems every small town across America has at least one. I’m not knocking this surge in rod companies by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it’s actually opened up a lot of different rod building concepts and, which in turn have had a big impact on the way rods are made today.

Back in the 60s and 70s, though, that wasn’t the case. At that time you had Browning who made the Silaflex, the Garcia Conolon line of rods, Heddon (who would actually make custom rods to order, and a couple other players. Factory rods were just that, factory rods and not too impressive. Many of these companies offered their blanks to the numerous custom shops that dotted the United States and the serious angler generally went that rout instead of purchasing some off the shelf. [Read more…]

Hank Calls it Quits…Sort of

Photo HankParker.com

Photo HankParker.com

Professional bass fishing is full of anglers who should probably get on with their life’s work off of the water, but can’t seem to give up the lure of competition. Some of them are in their twenties and thirties and don’t have the skills to get the job done, while others have passed their physical peak and are no longer competitive. There are even some who fall somewhere in between, suptuagenerians who were once stars but who are now only competitive on occasion.

To cite the old cliché, athletes die twice, and the first time is when they stop competing. [Read more…]

More Cuba – The 1978 ABF Bass Tournament

Anglers flew to Mexico in order to get to Cuba. Read the original caption from the Mar/Apr 1978 issue of American Bass Fisherman to see who was signing up. Photo American Bass Fisherman magazine.

Anglers flew to Mexico in order to get to Cuba. Read the original caption from the Mar/Apr 1978 issue of American Bass Fisherman to see who was signing up. Photo American Bass Fisherman magazine.

Last week when Pete posted the piece on the relaxing of political ties between the U.S. and Cuba – and the renewed possibilities of U.S. anglers being able to fish the mythical lakes on the island – it jogged my memory of the first (maybe the only) bass tournament ever held on the island. That event was sponsored by the now-defunct American Bass Fishing organization who used Dan Snow as the conduit for getting a number of American anglers from the U.S. to Cuba via a tortuous path through Mexico. [Read more…]

Bagley’s Bait Company – 1977

1977 Bagley's Ad taken from American Angler Magazine.

1977 Bagley’s Ad taken from American Angler Magazine.

We’ve written a couple pieces on the Jim Bagley Bait Company over the course of the last couple years (you can see two of them here and here), but I personally never get tired of looking at their ads from days past. Recently I was scouring all my 1977 magazines for another piece and noticed after a while, how many ads Bagley had placed in the various magazines of the time and decided to scan them all.

The year 1977 was a banner year for the company due to the fact that Rick Clunn had just won back-to-back Bassmaster Classic and caught some of his fish in each event on Bagley’s baits. This seems to have done a couple of things – namely provide a bunch of sales for the company which, in turn, allowed them to step up their ad campaign in order to sell more. [Read more…]

Old Bass Boats – 1977 Part 3

1977 Bass Cat ad.

1977 Bass Cat ad.

In Part 1 and Part 2 of Old Bass Boats – 1977, we covered the boat manufacturers who placed ads in the 1977 vintage magazines. Those manufacturers ranged from Alumacraft to Glastron and Holiday to Rhyan Craft. Today we feature from Sea Nymph to Venture and then four organizational Championship boats from American Angler, American Bass Fisherman, National Bass and Bassmaster.

Here are the remaining boats of 1977. [Read more…]

Old Bass Boats – 1977 Part 2

1977 Arrow Glass Bass Boat.

1977 Arrow Glass Bass Boat.

Yesterday we talked about the 1977 model-year boats from Alumacraft to Glastron. Today we’re going to start with Holiday and end with Rhyan Craft.

As stated yesterday, 1977 had 38 bass boat companies advertising in the magazines we looked through. A huge increase from the years prior. Many of the companies producing boats back then were new, even in 1977. But there are still a few we’re going to show, that are still around today.

Here’s the boats of Part 2. Remember, click on the pictures to see enlarged versions of the ads. [Read more…]

Old Bass Boats – 1977 Part 1

1977 Terry Bass Boat Ad.

1977 Terry Bass Boat Ad.

In this installment of Old Bass Boats, we again have to split the piece into multiple parts due to the volume of bass boat manufacturers now placing ads in bass magazines. As stated in the last installment, Old Bass Boats – 1976 Part 1, the 1975 ad campaign saw 16 manufacturers advertising their goods. In 1976 that number jumped up to 26 and this year that number jumped to a staggering 38 companies placing ads in bass magazines. What is truly amazing about that number is that was not all the companies out there who were making bass boats. [Read more…]

Bagley’s Better Baits 1975

Bagley's Better Baits ad from January 1975.

Bagley’s Better Baits ad from January 1975.

I’ve been a fan of Jim Bagley’s creations (and Lee Sisson’s too) pushing 40 years now. I bought my first Bagley’s bait somewhere in the 1976 timeframe, a baby bass colored Honey B, and it was the bait I caught my first crankbait fish on – a 1 1/2-pound largemouth at Lake Irvine’s Santiago Flats. Since that time I’ve had a sort of fetish with the company, although it’s obvious that I didn’t know all they made.

I recently received a 1975 American Bass Fisherman magazine from a close friend and while thumbing through the pages came across this ad from that era. The ad touts that that six of the top 10 from the American Bass Fisherman World Championship caught their fish on the baits shown. What grabbed me was I’d only seen one of these baits in the flesh, seen another in an old ad during the time and had never seen the other two baits until I got this magazine. [Read more…]

American Bass and California Lunker Club?

American Bass Fisherman and California Lunker Club apparently were thinking of combining forces in the late 1974 time frame. It never stuck as Dave Coolidge, president of the CLC sold CLC to Western Bass. Article from the January/February issue of American Bass Fisherman magazine.

American Bass Fisherman and California Lunker Club apparently were thinking of combining forces in the late 1974 time frame. It never stuck as Dave Coolidge, president of the CLC sold CLC to Western Bass. Article from the January/February issue of American Bass Fisherman magazine.

We’ve done a lot of reporting on the old bass associations that have popped up and fizzled out over the years. Two of those we’ve spent a lot of time on were the American Bass Fisherman (ABF) and the California Lunker Club (CLC). ABF was actually taking a stab at B.A.S.S. for their anglers and doing a pretty good job at it until George Oates got convicted for fraud and the organization eventually sold out to National Bass Association, which folded a couple years later.

The California Lunker Club, on the other hand, was the brain child of Dave Coolidge and designed as an insurance policy for anglers in the event they caught a big fish. Join CLC for $10 per year and if you caught a big’un, you got you fish mounted for free.

CLC started in 1971 but by the time 1972 rolled around, bass tournament fever was sweeping the nation – California included. Coolidge held his first event in 1972 and the rest is history. [Read more…]

Stak & Go – The Stackable Trailer

Stak & Go Trailer ad circa 1975.

Stak & Go Trailer ad circa 1975.

With OPEC flexing their muscles in the ‘70s and ‘80s with regards to oil, the bass industry was coming out with a lot of unique concepts on how to cut fuel costs. More efficient hull designs, more efficient motors and smaller tin boats became popular amongst those who wanted to continue fishing yet save enough money to buy a pack of worms or an extra crankbait.

One of the most unique inventions of the period, though, was the stackable trailer. Why use two tow vehicles for two boats when you could buy a trailer for two? [Read more…]