When East Meets West – Revisited

Recognize this angler and event?

Recognize this angler and event?

Over the years, B.A.S.S. has fished a variety of events out west, and I always find it interesting to look back at those events because of the mix of styles and personalities that would occur. A perfect example of this would be the tourney held on Elephant Butte Reservoir, New Mexico , April 2-4, 1998. Pete covered this event almost a year ago to the day for Bass Fishing Archives (see link), but I thought it was worth revisiting while the television coverage is still available online. Additionally, we’ve added a lot of new readers since that time, so it never hurts to revisit some of  the more interesting topics we’ve covered.   [Read more…]

The Boats of Japan

Popeye’s Japan 2006. Photo Terry Battisti

Although this may not qualify as an “historic” piece, last week we posted a story about international bass boats and a question was posed by a reader whether I or anyone else had seen the small versions that Ranger produces. Well, in fact I have.

On one of my first trips to Japan (2006) I was lucky enough to spend some time touring the local tackle shops and boat dealerships around Tokyo. My guide and close friend, Dodge Katayama, took me to what is the biggest tackle and boat dealer in all of Japan – Popeye’s. The shop was on what I’d estimate at least 5 acres of land, which is huge when it comes to a shop in Japan. The tackle store alone was between the size of an Academy and a Bass Pro or Cabelas. The boat shop was about the same size as any you’d see in the U.S. [Read more…]

International Bass Boats – A Look Into Our Past

A 1960s Bassmaster event or??? Photo Basser Magazine 1986.

Looking at the lead picture one might think they were looking at a picture from an early 1960s bass tournament. Instead, what you’re looking at is a picture taken in 1986 at one of the biggest bass events held in the world – even today – the Japan Cup.

When I first wrote this story a week or so ago I wanted to show what type of boats anglers in other countries use to fish tournaments. Then John Johnson at BassFan beat me to the punch by posting a story about Scott Martin and his trip to China. [Read more…]

Scorecard Snapshot – A Stepping Stone? Answer and Winner

Photo FLWOutdoors.com

Congratulations to Paul Wallace for winning the Bass Fishing Archives Trivia Contest with his correct answer! Read on for the answer.

A 20th place finish in the 1995 Georgia Invitational on Lake Lanier marked the top B.A.S.S. performance for Japanese angler Masaki Shimono. In a tournament where just over 10 pounds a day was good enough for 2nd and less than 6 pounds a day earned you a check, he notched exactly 21 pounds.

Shimono earned a check in his first B.A.S.S. tournament, 1991’s Megabucks event on Lake Chickamauga (which was of course won by Larry Nixon), then earned three more over his subsequent 22 tournaments. He fished his last tournament on the circuit on Lake Hartwell in 1996 with career earnings of $8,442. [Read more…]

Scorecard Snapshot – A Stepping Stone?

Photo FLWOutdoors.com

A 20th place finish in the 1995 Georgia Invitational on Lake Lanier marked the top B.A.S.S. performance for Japanese angler Masaki Shimono. In a tournament where just over 10 pounds a day was good enough for 2nd and less than 6 pounds a day earned you a check, he notched exactly 21 pounds.

Shimono earned a check in his first B.A.S.S. tournament, 1991’s Megabucks event on Lake Chickamauga (which was of course won by Larry Nixon), then earned three more over his subsequent 22 tournaments. He fished his last tournament on the circuit on Lake Hartwell in 1996 with career earnings of $8,442. [Read more…]

Who’s That Covering the 1986 US Open?

Basser Magazine 1986 vol. 5 no. 2.

A week or so ago we posted a story about Basser Magazine sending reporters to the US to cover both the 1986 Bass Masters Classic and the ’86 US Open. Well, although this may look like a story on the ’86 Open, it’s not. It’s about the author of this article. If you expand the picture you’ll probably notice a familiar name – Norio Tanabe.

Tanabe was more than just another bass fishing writer.

Japan sent over a number of anglers that year to fish but evidently Tanabe was working two jobs – that of a scribe and that of an angler. [Read more…]

Bassin’ Across the Pond

Basser Magazine 1986 vol 5 no 2.

Most people are aware of Japan’s obsession with bass fishing and lure design. Japanese anglers such as Takahiro Omori, Norio Tanabe, Shin Fukae and Morizu Shimizu have come over and made an impact in the U.S. bass ranks and companies like Lucky Craft, Mega Bass and Yo-Zuri have changed the way anglers in the U.S. look at lures.

The interesting thing is very few Americans outside the west knew bass fishing even existed in Japan until the 1998 timeframe, when Seiji Kato fished the Bassmaster Western Invitational at Elephant Butte, NM and gave the winning bait – a Pointer-78 – to his second-day partner Dennis Hoy (see Scorecard Snapshot – Lure of the Rising Sun). [Read more…]

Scorecard Snapshot – A New York Tragedy Answer and Winner

Congratulations to Brian Waldman for winning the Bass Fishing Archives Trivia Contest with his correct answer! Read below for the answer.

The 1986 Bassmaster New York Invitational was held on New York’s Hudson River. It wasn’t the first time the tournament circuit visited the historic river – they’d been there as recently as 1984 – and they’ve returned there multiple times since.

David Fenton averaged over 16 pounds a day to win there in ’86, his lone B.A.S.S. victory in 89 tries. Much of the field struggled, though. It took just over 10 pounds a day to make the top 20, not even 8 pounds a day to make the top 50 and right at 6 pounds a day to finish better than 100th.

While some anglers may have left Catskill, NY grousing about their bad fortune during the tournament, three of the 12 anglers who zeroed had a real tragedy befall them.

Do you remember what happened? [Read more…]

Scorecard Snapshot – A Very Close Call

The February 2004 FLW Tour event on the Atchafalaya Basin featured an even 200 anglers in the field, but for me it’s notable not just for who did fish, but for who didn’t make it to the event.

Do you remember which angler was supposed to fish that tournament but never made the first cast? [Read more…]

Scorecard Snapshot – Which of these anglers isn’t like the others?

Photo Bassmaster.com

Rick Clunn won his fourth Bassmaster Classic title in 1990, a record he now shares with Kevin VanDam. It was an outstanding performance, as he vaulted forward from 10th place (a deficit of nearly 10 pounds) after Day Two to claim the title.

Clunn’s personal effort on the James River was certainly noteworthy, especially considering the depth of the field, which included seven other Classic winners – George Cochran, Woo Daves, Hank Parker, Guido Hibdon, Ken Cook, Larry Nixon and Tommy Martin – in the 41 man field. Daves was a hometown favorite and both Parker and Hibdon had already won Classic titles on the James. Clunn’s 18-07 bag the final day was the largest limit weighed in during any of the three consecutive James River Classic.

However, there was one “outsider,” an angler whose credentials and background were different than all the rest. Can you guess who it was? For a hint, look to the bottom of the scoresheet. [Read more…]

Lew Childre – It’s All About Speed

Lew’s Speed Merchant ad. Note the company name, Lew Childre & Sanders – not Lew Childre & Sons. 1973 Bassmaster Magazine Fishing Annual.

I was reading through the 1973 Bass Master Fishing Annual and came across an article that piqued my interest about Lew Childre. Of course he’s primarily known for the Speed Spool but he also developed a line of rods, known as the Speed Stick, that was very popular in the 70s and 80s.

This article, though, was about a product I’d never seen in full – the Speed Stick concept. Evidently Lew’s mind never stopped working. He was dissatisfied with the way rods were built and the fact that custom rods took a long time to make. He also felt there had to be something better with respect to rod guides than the heavy carboloy, agate and stainless guides that were put on rods of the day. [Read more…]

Scorecard Snapshot – Lure of the Rising Sun

A bevy of BASS winners past and future fished the 1998 Bassmaster New Mexico Western Invitational on Elephant Butte Reservoir. Included among their ranks were Ish Monroe (4th), Skeet Reese (11th), Mike Reynolds (21st), Aaron Martens (25th), Mike Folkestad (T31st ), John Murray (42nd), Byron Velvick (53rd), James Niggemeyer (90th) and Robert Lee (T135th). The field was also full of western studs like Larry Hopper, Gary Yamamoto, Bill Siementel, Greg Hines, Rich Tauber and Don Iovino.

Despite the fact that it was a stacked field, this was one of the rare Bassmaster tournaments where a local won. On a stingy lake that produced only five cumulative catches over 20 pounds in the course of three days, Elephant Butte, NM resident Dennis Hoy claimed the crown, beating runner-up Rich Iannolo by over four pounds.

It was Hoy’s only Top 20 finish with BASS, but it was significant to the history of tournament fishing for another reason. Do you know what it was? [Read more…]