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…]

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…]

1963 World Series of Sport Fishing

The 1963 World Series of Sportfishing was won by Betty Mangold (women's division) and Ken White (men's division). Photo Don Fuelsch's 1963 Southern Angler's and Hunter's Guide.

The 1963 World Series of Sportfishing was won by Betty Mangold (women’s division) and Ken White (men’s division). Photo Don Fuelsch’s 1963 Southern Angler’s and Hunter’s Guide.

Before the Bassmaster Trail and way before the Bassmaster Classic there was only one fishing event that even came close to determining who the best angler in the world was. That event was Hy Peskin’s World Series of Sportfishing. We’ve talked about the WSOSF here before (a simple search to the right will bring up a few good stories) but only in an overall manner. Today we’re going to look at one specific event, the 1963 WSOSF, as written in Don Fuelsch’s Southern Angler’s and Hunter’s Guide. But, before we go there, here are some of the particulars of the WSOSF.

In order to qualify for the event, anglers had to win their state championship – or country championship as this was an international event. The WSOSF wasn’t just a bass event, either. Nearly all fish counted with bass gaining the most points. But, you couldn’t win with only black bass. You had to have fish in multiple species categories in order to ensure the win. [Read more…]

The First Season of the Red Man Trail

Red Man Tournament Trail Patch.

Red Man Tournament Trail Patch.

Many of us who immersed ourselves into the world of competitive bass fishing in the 1990s or after the turn of the century tend to assume that there were always stable nationwide organized circuits for the weekend angler. We may have known that what are now the BFLs were previously the Red Man circuit, but we don’t have a sense of when and where the Red Mans were born.

As Terry has detailed previously, old issues of CAST Magazine are a treasure trove of information about that era, and provide an incredible look back at the origins of the BFLs. [Read more…]

Smallmouth Magazine – Volume 2 Issue 1

Smallmouth Newsletter Volume 2 Issue 1, January, 1986, cover page.

Smallmouth Newsletter Volume 2 Issue 1, January, 1986, cover page.

It’s been a few weeks since we put out a piece looking back at the old issues of Tom Rodgers’ Smallmouth Newsletter. The last time we wrote, we finished the first year’s 12th issue (December, 1985). Now we’re on to the second year, volume 2.

The newsletter increased in size from ’85 to ’86 – now going to a full six pages or more for each issue and in some cases eight pages. Over the course of the next few months, you’ll also notice a few new names had been added to the list of authors. [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…]

Looking for Operation Bass Golden Blend Info

Golden Blend was a title sponsor for Operation Bass' attempt to give B.A.S.S. some competition. Unfortunately the circuit didn't last long and there's little information out there regarding it.

Golden Blend was a title sponsor for Operation Bass’ attempt to give B.A.S.S. some competition. Unfortunately the circuit didn’t last long and there’s little information out there regarding it.

Many modern fans of professional fishing assume that the FLW Tour was the first major competitor to B.A.S.S. Of course, that is not quite correct – over time, there were several national trails that tried to make a run at being the dominant circuit, or at least supplementing it. The truth is that the FLW Tour, founded under the Operation Bass umbrella, wasn’t even the first attempt by that organization to create some competition for Ray Scott’s baby.

Starting in the late 1980s, and running into the early ‘90s, Operation Bass operated the Golden Blend series of tournaments. They built upon the success of the original Red Man events, which catered to the “working man” – one-day weekend tournaments with low entry fees and a chance to qualify for the high payout All-American. [Read more…]

Smallmouth Magazine – Volume 1 Number 4

Smallmouth Magazine Vol I Number IV April 1985.

Smallmouth Magazine Vol I Number IV April 1985.

In continuing with our look back into the publication Smallmouth we bring you the next issue, Number 4, from April, 1985. Although only four pages in length, you can get a feel that the publication was gaining some steam. The content was solid and with Billy Westmorland and Tom Zenanko on the masthead, you expected something worth reading.

As was becoming the norm for the newborn publication, Tom Rodgers dedicated two columns out of 12 for the awareness of conservation. To start off, on page 2, he has a small piece about the Arizona Game and Fish Department and their efforts to renew the smallmouth fishery at Bartlett Reservoir. No one thinks of Arizona as being a smallmouth haven but back in the early 70s two lakes, Apache and Bartlett, had trophy smallmouth fisheries. Apache continued to be the gem through the 90s when it came to the trophy bronzeback but Bartlett was drained in 1977 and never recovered to what it once was. It was nice to see Rodgers mention a lake thousands of miles from his home in South Carolina – all because of the brown fish. [Read more…]

Mark Menendez – How He Started

Mark Menendez topped a field of 137 anglers in the LBL division on Lake Barkley in 1988. Photo September/October 1988 issue of Bass Fishing magazine.

Mark Menendez topped a field of 137 anglers in the LBL division on Lake Barkley in 1988. Photo September/October 1988 issue of Bass Fishing magazine.

In today’s video feature Mark Menendez talks about how he got his start in competitive bass fishing on the Operation Bass circuit. He remembers the two gentlemen that got him started, how his entry fees the first year were partially paid, practicing out of a 16-foot aluminum boat then jumping into another angler’s glass boat – an angler usually a lot older than him – and having to convince them he was on fish. [Read more…]

The Bearded Viking – Al Lindner

Al Lindner hoists a mixed bag of largemouth bass and walleye. Photo September/October 1971issue of The Lunker Hole magazine.

Al Lindner hoists a mixed bag of largemouth bass and walleye. Photo September/October 1971issue of The Lunker Hole magazine.

We’ve written a number of pieces here that have either been about or have something to do with Al Lindner and the Lindner angling legacy. So excuse me for writing another. Personally, I don’t think you can ever write too much about someone who’s contributed so much to the sport.

What brought this piece about was an article I found recently in a 1971 issue of The Lunker Hole magazine – the magazine put out by the Bass Caster’s Association (BCA). As I turned the pages, I came across some pictures of a familiar face – that of Al Lindner’s. The title of the article, Bass Beard – The Viking, kind of made me chuckle a bit.

The accompanying photographs of Lindner show him in typical form – holding big bass and wearing polarized sunglasses. [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…]

Smallmouth Magazine

Smallmouth Magazine published by Smallmouth Inc, began in 1987 and lasted five years. Photo cover of the March/April 1990 issue.

Smallmouth Magazine published by Smallmouth Inc, began in 1987 and lasted five years. Photo cover of the March/April 1990 issue.

When Ray Scott founded B.A.S.S. in 1967, the “B” stood for “Bass” – not specifically largemouth bass. It was meant to be inclusive, certainly with smallmouths and spotted bass under its umbrella. Later, long after he’d sold the organization, they expressly embraced bass diversity to include the so-called “B.A.S.S. Slam” of nine different species. Nevertheless, for a majority of bass anglers, in the early years the de facto meaning of the “B” was largemouth, since green bass were generally more readily available nationwide. There was certainly coverage of the other species of bass, but it was limited, and B.A.S.S. did not hold a major tournament on a traditional northern fishery until 1977 when Jim Rogers won the New York Invitational on the St. Lawrence River (Terry previously discussed Roger Lures and the associated tackle store here). [Read more…]