Bass Facts From Tom Mann

Tom Mann image from the Dec. 1974 Fishing Facts story.

Tom Mann image from the Dec. 1974 Fishing Facts story.

In the December 1974 issue of Fishing Facts magazine, Spence Petros was able to catch up with Tom Mann while he was in Chicago. Tom, of course, was the legendary force behind such baits as the Jelly Worm, the Little George, and the “Pig” line of crankbaits. According to his write-up in the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, “Not content with just manufacturing fishing lures, while the owner of Mann’s Bait Company, he also founded and was the C.E.O. of Allied Sports Company, from 1969-1983. As the manufacturer of the “Humminbird Depth Sounder”, Allied Sports eventually became a stock company and was renamed Techsonic Industries: one of the largest selling depth sounder companies in the world. He also founded Southern Plastics, in 1977, a company that today is the world’s largest private brand supplier of soft plastic lures.”

Below are some of Spence’s questions paraphrased, with Tom’s answers excerpted from the interview. [Read more…]

Don Doty – A Classic Qualification from the Back Seat

Photo January/February 1981 issue of Western Bass magazine.

Photo January/February 1981 issue of Western Bass magazine.

To many of you here reading this, the name Don Doty won’t mean much at all. In fact, his name hasn’t been associated with the sport since the late 80s. Even though his name is only recognized by a few older western anglers and maybe a few of the older Bassmaster pros, he will always be remembered for a record he holds that will never be broken.

Don Doty is the only angler to qualify for a Bassmaster Classic as a pure non-boater.

In the old days, when pro-on-pro draw tournaments existed, many times when the draw for partners happened, both anglers had a boat. There were a few methods in which the two anglers decided which boat would be used. For example, if one angler could convince the other he had better fish going, they might opt to use that anglers’ boat. Another method was, if you drew Roland Martin, Jimmy Houston or Ricky Green, there was no argument, you fished out of their boat. The other method was a coin toss. [Read more…]

It’s Called Crispin’

Jimmy Crisp with two of the fish that helped him beat Larry Nixon in the 1983 Western Bass $100,000 Invitational on Table Rock Lake. Photo November 1983 issue of Pro Bass.

Jimmy Crisp with two of the fish that helped him beat Larry Nixon in the 1983 Western Bass $100,000 Invitational on Table Rock Lake. Photo November 1983 issue of Pro Bass.

Rapala has long been associated with bass fishing ever since Lauri Rapala’s creations made it from Finland to the United States in the ‘50s. The Original Floating Rapala would continue to be one of the most popular baits until it started losing favor with anglers as different lure manufacturers popped up and newer baits, including Rapala’s Fat Rap, took over shelf space.

By the early 1980s the Floating Rapala still sold but sales were down a fraction what they’d been in the decades prior. Then one angler changed all that with one win – a big win – in the summer of 1983 on famed Table Rock Lake, MO.

That angler not only breathed life back into the Floating Rapala, he arguably brought to light a new technique and what is still considered today one of the most important methods in fishing – jerkbaiting. [Read more…]

Forgotten Angler – Dave Hawk

"Eighty Years" on Bass by Dave Hawk. Printed 1958.

“Eighty Years” on Bass by Dave Hawk. Printed 1958.

It may seem like this week is Book Review week and you’re probably right. Over the past few months I’ve spent too much time on airplanes and in hotels and when I travel this much, I like to take a few easy-to-accomplish books with me. Today’s piece is one of the results of all this travel.

For those of you who have heard of Dave Hawk, this piece may not come as a surprise to you. For those of you who haven’t heard of him, which I would wager is a vast majority of you, what will be talked about here may open your eyes to a couple of major inventions of the sport. [Read more…]

Bass History in Photos – A Quartet of Smallmouth Greatness

Editors Note: The old adage is that “A picture is worth a thousand words.” So many times while looking through old books and magazines, we’ll come across photos that seem to just reach out and grab our attention for one reason or another. Oftentimes, there really isn’t a story or post ready or needed to go along with these shots. As such, we’ve decided to add a new category to the Bass Fishing Archives site titled ‘History in Photos.’ These posts will simply be a picture with a caption, no story attached. Hopefully you’ll find these old photos as interesting as we do, and perhaps you, our readers, can be the ones to lend some storyline to them via your comments.

(l to r) Jerry McKinnis, Charlie Brewer, Inky Gilmore and Billy Westmoreland. "This was a Lake Cumberland, Kentucky catch; the temperature was 9 degrees and the wind was strong." - December 1973, Fishing Facts

(l to r) Jerry McKinnis, Charlie Brewer, Inky Gilmore and Billy Westmoreland. “This was a Lake Cumberland, Kentucky catch; the temperature was 9 degrees and the wind was strong.” – December 1973, Fishing Facts

The Fishin’ Machine

Ricky Green holds his second 1st-place Bassmaster trophy from his win on Sam Rayburn in 1974. Photo May/June 1974 issue of  Bassmaster Magazine.

Ricky Green holds his second 1st-place Bassmaster trophy from his win on Sam Rayburn in 1974. Photo May/June 1974 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

In 1985 one of the most-respected boat companies came out with a new-concept boat that rocked the bass boat industry. The boat had all the amenities needed for high-level competition. They were fast, offered a passenger rod trough, rod locker ventilation and a console that looked more like it should be in an F-16 than a boat. The boat was the Cajun Ricky Green Fishin’ Machine.

By 1985 Ricky Green had been fishing as a full-time professional for a dozen years. He fished his first tournament at the age of 24 – the 1968 Arkansas State Championship at Greers Ferry – and won it. In that event he met Jimmy Houston, Larry Nixon and Jerry McKinnis. [Read more…]

Secrets of the 1967 World Series of Sport Fishing Pros

DwightKeeferBefore there was the Bassmaster Classic, one of the largest and most recognized fishing tournaments was the World Series of Sport Fishing, held from 1960-1968. Winners of note included such greats as Harold Ensley, Virgil Ward, Glen Andrews, and Dwight Keefer. Terry did a great piece on Dwight Keefer, the 1967 winner of the event, back in July 2012. However, Fishing Facts sent one of their then editors, George Pazik, to cover the event and interview the 32 pros fishing. He wrote a piece in the November 1967 issue of Fishing News covering what he learned from those interviews, and it provides an interesting, if not entertaining look at the birth of the tournament fishing, as well as the tips and strategies employed over 45 years ago.

Here are the 7 key points from the article: [Read more…]

Remembering A Texas Legend – Floyd Mabry

Mabry2If you search for any length of time through many of the old magazines from 30 or so years ago, one set of ads will look very familiar, the old Bomber ads featuring Floyd Mabry. Many probably can recall Mabry as an early bass fishing expert who traveled throughout the country fishing with and promoting Bomber baits.  He even earned the nickname “Mr. Bomber”, and he was a heavy tackle, play with ’em in the boat, cranking kind of guy. What many may not know though is the story behind this Texas Fishing legend. [Read more…]

A Big Bass Pioneer

L.J. Brasher’s Big Bass Wall of Fame, from Bassmaster Jan./Feb. 1980

I was surfing across the web the other night when I stumbled upon a story featuring L.J. Brasher. L.J. was one of the first, or at least one of the more well publicized strictly big bass chasers, tromping around the backroads of Florida looking for off the beaten path potholes harboring overlooked giant bass. He would fish for days at a time, chunking giant musky Jitterbugs all night long.   The year was 1980. Hank Parker had just won BASSMASTER Classic IX using a hot new technique called flipping developed out on the west coast. Lake San Vincente and the San Diego area in California was the talk of the big bass world, where a then 39 year old big bass angler named Bill Murphy spent hours developing a lead-core trolling method with repainted Rapala’s in rainbow trout color, plying the deep open waters during the winter. [Read more…]

Sticks of the Past: Jack DeBord – “The Midwest Angler”

While many of us are familiar with the stories and achievements surrounding the “household names” in this sport, part of what makes the history and story of bass fishing so great are the less publicized regional and local personalities. One such individual here in the Midwest was an angler by the name of Jack DeBord.

Jack was a Muncie, Indiana native born in 1936. He graduated from Royerton High School in 1955, a small unincorporated town that Wikipedia lists as being located “near Pizza King and the fire station.” After graduating, Jack did a stint with the Navy, joining the Muncie Police Deptartment upon his return. After a move out to California that saw him working on and with dragsters, he returned to central Indiana and started pursuing his love for fishing. Initially, he wrote and was a contributor to several fishing publications, “helping get the pro bass circuit off the ground,” as one local write-up put it. [Read more…]

MO Sticks of the Past – Dwight Keefer

Dwight Keefer holding a nice largemouth. Photo Dwight Keefer.

The name Dwight Keefer may not be a household name amongst today’s fishing crowd but in the mid-60s and throughout the 1970s, the name was taken seriously amongst anyone who ventured into the realm of tournament fishing. Having won the Kansas Open Fishing Tournament in September 1967 gave him the opportunity to fish the 1967 World Series of Sport Fishing Championship held one month later in Wisconsin on Long Lake. Keefer ended up winning that event hands down – as a college sophomore.

After his wins, Keefer went on to finish college and become a sales rep for the Shakespeare Corporation – balancing competitive fishing with his sales job. In 1972 he fished two BASS events and qualified for the second BASS Master Classic held on Percy Priest Reservoir in Tennessee.

The following story is about Dwight Keefer, his early days of competitive fishing and his use of Midwest finesse tactics at a time when if you didn’t throw 20-pound string, you were considered a fool. [Read more…]

NC Sticks of the Past – Wendell Mann

Wendell Mann, the first Chapter (Federation) angler to fish a BASS Master Classic. Photo Bass Master Magazine Jan/Feb 1974.

At the time there was no better fisherman in North Carolina. He was versatile and could fish deep or shallow. He started me fishing and taught me how to be versatile and to always be on top of what was going on, no matter where it was from. He was my mentor.” 3-Time BASS Master Classic Qualifier Jeff Coble

From weekend warriors to the triple-A level, bass anglers worldwide dream of being in the Bass Master Classic to test their skills against the best in the world. In 1973, unknown to them, amateur anglers’ dreams came true when the first Federation angler would be invited to fish against the best in the nation at the preeminent event in bass fishing.

In 1973 Ray Scott held the first National Federation Championship, then called the BASS Chapter Championship. States held qualifying events to determine their six-man teams and these teams would head to the Championship to be held on Pickwick Lake TN.

B.A.S.S. had set aside some money to present to the top five state teams to go towards their own states’ environmental funds. It was to be a tournament to decide which state had the best bass anglers and make an impact on the environment.

What no one knew at the time was this National Championship would also determine the first angler to go to the Big Show. This story is about that angler – Wendell Mann of Snow Camp, North Carolina. [Read more…]