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…]

San Vicente – Then, Now and the Future

Target For Lunker Hunters by Chuck Garrison. Spring 1977 issue of Western Bass magazine.

Target For Lunker Hunters by Chuck Garrison page one. Spring 1977 issue of Western Bass magazine.

If you’ve followed the southern California bass scene since the 70s, there’s no doubt you’ve heard of Lake San Vicente – simply called San V by locals. Recently I was reading a 1977 issue of Western Bass magazine and came across an old article penned by the late Chuck Garrison about the famed lake. It brought back memories, but it also brought to mind what could be brewing in the near future. I’ve included the article in full here for all to read in order to give you an idea of what a lake it was in its early days. It’s possible that we could see a resurrection of sorts as this old lake gets a face lift. You’ll see why as you read more.

While San Diego lakes such as Miramar and Lower Otay made national headlines in the early ‘70s, it was San V that stole the limelight in the mid to late ‘70s with an onslaught of teeners caught by lunker hunters such as “Lunker” Bill Murphy and Bobby Sandberg. [Read more…]

CLC 1 – May 1974

The first issue of only four issues printed of the California Lunker Club Newsletter. May, 1974. With full permission.

The first issue of only four issues printed of the California Lunker Club Newsletter. May, 1974. With full permission.

We’ve posted a few stories (here and here) in the past about the California Lunker Club and its meager beginnings in 1971 to offer California bass anglers an insurance policy to mount a fish. Not long after that founder Dave Coolidge expanded the CLC into a tournament organization, the first in California, in order to bring like-minded bass anglers together. The concept was friendly competition and also provide a forum to learn from each other and make friends.

The concept took hold and within a couple years the organization grew to a point that Coolidge couldn’t afford it anymore. That’s when Western Bass, formed in 1973, stepped up and took CLC off of Coolidge’s hands. [Read more…]

New Western Technique – Controlled Structure Fishing – Sure to Sweep the Country.

Dee Thomas and Frank Hauck after winning the Western Bass Association's Lake Nacimiento event in May 1974

Dee Thomas and Frank Hauck after winning the Western Bass Association’s Lake Nacimiento event in May 1974

May 19, 1974

Paso Robles, CA – A new technique, coined “Controlled Structure Fishing,” has been introduced and it’s been met with mixed reviews. The technique’s given the duo of Dee Thomas and Frank Hauck a trip to the winners circle in five out of the last seven events. Why has it been met with mixed reviews? Some may say it’s jealousy, others say it’s a banned form of tule dippin’. Whatever you say it is, it’s been mighty successful for Thomas and Hauck, and even though they had to adjust their equipment for the latest Western Bass Fishing Association’s event on Lake Nacimiento, they were able to pull off another win even after chopping 4-1/2 feet off their preferred Lew’s Hawger rods and flipping their boat halfway through the first day of the event.

[Read more…]

A Look Back at 2012 Part One

Dee Thomas, father of flipping, wins another event with the long rod - this time Lake Havasu in 1977.

Dee Thomas, father of flipping, wins another event with the long rod – this time Lake Havasu in 1977.

On March 5, 2012 the Bass Fishing Archives became a real entity. None of us here knew if it would become a success or not – frankly we didn’t care. All we cared about was documenting the history of the sport so it wouldn’t be forgotten. In these last 9 months, it’s become obvious to us that there are a lot of you out there too that hold the history of bass fishing in high regard. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t visit the site.

So this week through January 2, 2013 we’re gonna post some of the top stories on the Bass Fishing Archives. These are the stories that received the most reader views over the last 12 months. We hope you enjoy them and we’ll see you on January 2 with a bunch of new stuff! [Read more…]

Bass Club News via the May 1974 CLC

May 1974 California Lunker Club Magazine Bass Club Reports. Courtesy of Dave Coolidge.

I know this is really southern California-centric but I’m posting it for two reasons. One, I want to put out some old material for my friends in California and two, it’s a calling card for any of you readers who may have similar reports stashed away in your closet.

For those of you who reside in Cal (or lived there) and fished during those early years of competitive bass fishing, I hope you enjoy reading these club reports. Not many of these clubs exist today, if any, but I’m sure you’ll recognize a lot of the anglers, some of which are still competing. [Read more…]

A Look in the Western Rear View Mirror

Don Crozier hoists his winning fish from a 14-foot aluminum boat he used in the tournament. Photo courtesy of Dave Coolidge CLC magazine 1974.

Although the South Eastern part of the country had had organized bass tournaments since the mid-60s, the Western part of the country, namely California, fell a little behind the curve. This was mostly due to the fact that the state had made it illegal to fish for more than a couple-hundred dollars and the fishermen at the time were not interested in leaving the confines of their clubs – or zip codes.

The California Lunker Club (CLC) changed all of that, though, in 1972. As written before (see The California Lunker Club: Dave Coolidge – Part One and Part Two), Coolidge formed the first organized tournament organization in California and within 2 years it became such a success that it was purchased by Western Outdoor News and assumed into the newly-formed Western Bass Fishing Association. Competitive bass fishing had made its mark in the West. [Read more…]

SoCal Sticks of the Past – “Lunker” Bill Murphy

“Lunker” Bill Murphy. Photo reprinted with permission from Dave Coolidge.

Bill Murphy needs no introduction when it comes to bass fishing. He is arguably one of the fathers of trophy bass hunting and his tenure on the water yielded an almost-uncountable number of fish over ten. To top this off, Murphy did a lot of his best work during the early stage of the Florida Revolution in San Diego – a time when the big-fish population was being born. He learned his skills on the water and taught himself the ways of the big girls. He had no instructor or mentor – he was the Yoda of the day. [Read more…]

Some Western Records of the Past(?)

Some of the first recorded California records. Reprinted from the June, 1974 CLC. Reprint permission from Dave Coolidge.

Here’s a snap shot  of some “old” records from the annals of California bass fishing lore. These records, all held by California Lunker Club members, reveal quite a bit of interesting information. For one, out of the 10 lake records held by CLC members, only three are “teeners,” the rest being all under that magic 13-pound mark. And, of all the fish that weighed under that mark, only one was a Florida. Initiallly, Floridas were only stocked in the San Diego lakes but eventually they spread throughout the state via CA-DFG  stocking programs. For me, it’s really nostalgic to see the northern strain records for lakes I fished as a kid. [Read more…]

The Birth of the Flippin’ Stik – Part One

Dee Thomas explains the concept of Flippin’ to Fenwick’s Dave Myers.

This is part one of a two-part series on the advent of the Flippin’ Stik. I had the pleasure of discussing the subject with Dee Thomas, the father of flipping, and Dave Myers, the brains behind the design of the blank. In this installment, Thomas talks about his first tournaments, how he felt he couldn’t compete and the eventual protests from fellow competitors surrounding the long rod. To read Part Two, click here.

 

Dee Thomas’ early tournament endeavors were met with mixed results and mixed reviews. Most tournament bass anglers at the time considered his use of 12-foot rods as ‘unsportsmanlike’ and ‘something only a meat hunter would use.’ The 12-foot rod wasn’t something ‘a serious tournament angler would even consider.’

[Read more…]

The California Lunker Club: Dave Coolidge – Part Two

This is part two of a two-part article on the first California bass tournament organization. This article was completed in part by interviewing Dave Coolidge, the founder of the California Lunker Club (CLC) and taking excerpts from the August 1974 issue of the CLC magazine. Excerpts are italicized. To read Part One, click here.

In Part One, Dave Coolidge talked about the humble beginnings of the CLC and how he brought together bass anglers from San Diego to Los Angeles. In Part Two, Coolidge discusses those early tournament days, the difficulties he had with CA DFG officials that Catch-and-Release was good and how he turned public perception of bass tournaments around in California.

[Read more…]

The California Lunker Club: Dave Coolidge – Part One

This is part one of a two-part article on the first California bass tournament organization. This article was completed in part by interviewing Dave Coolidge, the founder of the California Lunker Club (CLC) and taking excerpts from the August 1974 issue of the CLC magazine. Excerpts are italicized

Competitive bass fishing in the west has to pay homage to one dedicated angler – the man that started it all in California. Yes, before him, there were bass clubs and club tournaments but until January 1972, there was no tournament organization in California, let alone the west as a whole.

The person to blame, so-to-speak, for the beginning of western bass tournaments is Dave Coolidge. What started out as a simple organization to help anglers pay for their wall-mounts, the California Lunker Club (CLC) turned into the first tournament organization in the west.

This article is about Dave Coolidge and his dream to bring bass anglers throughout California together into a cohesive group where learning and sharing would expand the sport.

[Read more…]