Lonnie Stanley’s Sam Rayburn History

Famous lure designer and angler, Lonnie Stanley holds a Rayburn pig.

Famous lure designer and angler, Lonnie Stanley holds a Rayburn pig.

Sam Rayburn Reservoir, named for the Texas legislator who was the longest serving Speaker of the House in the history of the United States House of Representatives, was impounded in the mid-1950s, and opened “for business” in 1965. The lake was built for flood control and as a source of hydroelectric power, but it quickly became known for its bass fishing, drawing anglers from long distances who wanted to fish for fun, catch big fish, or participate in tournaments.

The piney woods of East Texas have been blessed with a great many quality tournament venues in addition to Rayburn, including Toledo Bend, Lake Livingston and Lake Conroe, and as a result the region has also produced a huge number of top tournament pros. In addition to the “Hemphill Gang” – which consisted of stars Larry Nixon, Tommy Martin, Harold Allen and John Torian, there were other shining stars including but not limited to David Wharton, Randy Dearman, Randy Fite, Bo Dowden (from across the border in Louisiana), and of course Rick Clunn. [Read more…]

How Stanley Jigs Was Born

Lonnie Stanley may not have invented the jig, but he sure made it and the spinnerbait much better baits.

Lonnie Stanley may not have invented the jig, but he sure made it and the spinnerbait much better baits.

The jig and pig is certainly not new to bass fishing. Jigs in various forms had been staples in anglers’ tackle boxes for generations before Bo Dowden won Bassmaster Classic X on the St. Lawrence River in upstate New York. Since that time, though, the simple combination of a hook, lead head, skirt and weedguard has been perpetually refined.

Lonnie Stanley, a two-time B.A.S.S. winner and five-time Classic qualifier, was one of the major players in those developments. He started Stanley Jigs in the early 1980s, and while he’s no longer the principal owner of the enterprise, he still works there nearly every day, designing new lures. [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…]

Classic XLV Videos: How They Started – Kevin Short

Kevin (K-Pink) Short and two of hi Day 1 Classic fish. Photo/Video Brenda Serrano.

Kevin (K-Pink) Short and two of hi Day 1 Classic fish. Photo/Video Brenda Serrano.

The Bassmaster Classic Media Day offers media folks a great opportunity to find out from the anglers themselves how they think the Classic will pan out. It’s always great to hear what they think and who they feel will do well in the biggest event of the fishing year. [Read more…]

Classic XLV Videos: How They Started – Mike McClelland

Mike McClelland holds two fish from his day-1 Classic XLV catch. Photo/Video Brenda Serrano.

Mike McClelland holds two fish from his day-1 Classic XLV catch. Photo/Video Brenda Serrano.

The Bassmaster Classic Media Day offers media folks a great opportunity to find out from the anglers themselves how they think the Classic will pan out. It’s always great to hear what they think and who they feel will do well in the biggest event of the fishing year. [Read more…]

Classic XLV Videos: How They Started – David Walker

David Walker receives a Certificate of Appreciation from the Department of the Army for saving a man's life during Classic Practice. Photo/Video Brenda Serrano.

David Walker receives a Certificate of Appreciation from the Department of the Army for saving a man’s life during Classic Practice. Photo/Video Brenda Serrano.

The Bassmaster Classic Media Day offers media folks a great opportunity to find out from the anglers themselves how they think the Classic will pan out. It’s always great to hear what they think and who they feel will do well in the biggest event of the fishing year. [Read more…]

Classic XLV Videos: How They Started – Ott DeFoe

Ott DeFoe talks to Bassmaster emcee Dave Mercer about his day-1 Classic performance. Photo/Video Brenda Serrano.

Ott DeFoe talks to Bassmaster emcee Dave Mercer about his day-1 Classic performance. Photo/Video Brenda Serrano.

The Bassmaster Classic Media Day offers media folks a great opportunity to find out from the anglers themselves how they think the Classic will pan out. It’s always great to hear what they think and who they feel will do well in the biggest event of the fishing year. [Read more…]

Classic XLV Videos: How They Started – Paul Elias

1982 Classic winner Paul Elias. Photo/Video Brenda Serrano.

1982 Classic winner Paul Elias. Photo/Video Brenda Serrano.

The Bassmaster Classic Media Day offers media folks a great opportunity to find out from the anglers themselves how they think the Classic will pan out. It’s always great to hear what they think and who they feel will do well in the biggest event of the fishing year. [Read more…]

Classic XLV Videos: How They Started – Randall Tharp

Randall Tharp talks to Bassmaster emcee Dave Mercer after a tough day 1. Photo/Video Brenda Serrano.

Randall Tharp talks to Bassmaster emcee Dave Mercer after a tough day 1. Photo/Video Brenda Serrano.

The Bassmaster Classic Media Day offers media folks a great opportunity to find out from the anglers themselves how they think the Classic will pan out. It’s always great to hear what they think and who they feel will do well in the biggest event of the fishing year. [Read more…]

Classic XLV Videos: How They Started – Jacob Wheeler

Jacob Wheeler talks about how he got his start in competitive bass fishing. Photo/Video Brenda Serrano.

Jacob Wheeler talks about how he got his start in competitive bass fishing. Photo/Video Brenda Serrano.

The Bassmaster Classic Media Day offers media folks a great opportunity to find out from the anglers themselves how they think the Classic will pan out. It’s always great to hear what they think and who they feel will do well in the biggest event of the fishing year. [Read more…]

Classic XLV Videos: How They Started – Chad Morgenthaler

Chad Morgenthaler talks to Bass Fishing Archives' Terry Battisti. Photo Brenda Serrano.

Chad Morgenthaler talks to Bass Fishing Archives’ Terry Battisti. Photo Brenda Serrano.

The Bassmaster Classic Media Day offers media folks a great opportunity to find out from the anglers themselves how they think the Classic will pan out. It’s always great to hear what they think and who they feel will do well in the biggest event of the fishing year.

But we at the Bass Fishing Archives like to look at this event in another way, to find out some of the anglers’ history – primarily how they got their start bass fishing or how they decided they could make a living catching green and brown fish. Yesterday, that’s exactly what we did. We sat down with eight anglers and asked them, “What’s your story?” [Read more…]

My First Bass – Dave Lefebre

Dave Lefebre at the FLW Cup talks about the first bass he caught. Photo Heidi Roth.

Dave Lefebre at the FLW Cup talks about the first bass he caught. Photo Heidi Roth.

We all remember our first bass – or at least the first bass we set out to catch. The memory always holds a deep place in our hearts. But just because bass pros make their living at catching bass doesn’t mean the thought of their first largemouth or smallmouth doesn’t bring back a flood good memories. In fact, it was usually that first fish that paved the way for them choosing their profession. Dave Lefebre is no different. [Read more…]