Early “Slow Rolling” – Earlier Than You Thought?

A 1-oz. Go-Devil spinnerbait

A 1-oz. Go-Devil spinnerbait

Spinnerbaits have been one of the most popular lures among bass anglers ever since they first came out. Many noted anglers could claim to have made their professional reputations by using the lures, guys such as Jimmy Houston, Ricky Green, and Hank Parker. Many others have thrown them to win events throughout the history of tournament angling.

Beyond your typical average spinnerbait, one of the first big “revolutions” occurred in the 1980s with the sudden rise in popularity of the willow leaf blade. Previous to that, most spinnerbaits sold were equipped either with Colorado blades, or less commonly Indiana blades. Willow blades were touted for their effectiveness around grass, and it wasn’t too long before some companies figured out you could make a very heavy spinnerbait combined with the decreased lift of the willow-style blade, and the technique of “slow rolling” was soon winning tournaments across the country. However, all this happened more than 20 years after another small company had created and sold a line of spinnerbaits specifically for covering the depths. [Read more…]

Pork: The Forgotten Bait – Part One

A Lutz Pork Ad from 1964. Lutz was one of three pork rind manufacturers from the early part of the 20th Century through the '60s, before anglers quit using the bait or Uncle Josh bought them out.

A Lutz Pork Ad from 1964. Lutz was one of three pork rind manufacturers from the early part of the 20th Century through the ’60s, before anglers quit using the bait or Uncle Josh bought them out.

[Editor’s note: This is a two part series on pork rind and its rise, fall and rise again, fall again pattern in bass fishing.]

Poll 100 bass anglers between the ages of 15 and 30 about pork rind and I’ll bet you get a lot of strange looks. Ask them if they’ve ever used it bass fishing and I bet you’ll get a 100-percent response of “no.” Then take a poll of anglers from 40 to 60 and ask the same question. I would be willing to bet a 100-count bag of Senkos they’d predominantly say “yes.” Then ask them when the last time they actually used it was.

I’d bet few have even had it in their boat for 20 years or more. [Read more…]

Doodle Socking 1961

Doodle Socking for Bass by Don Fuelsch. Don Fuelsch's 1961 Southern Angler's Guide.

Doodle Socking for Bass by Don Fuelsch. Don Fuelsch’s 1961 Southern Angler’s Guide page 2.

The controversy and allegations that flipping were just forms of doodle socking have been around since Dee Thomas won the 1975 Arkansas Invitational on Bull Shoals Lake. The short-line may have looked like doodle socking to the untrained eye but it was more of a system than doodle socking ever dreamed of being.

The interesting fact of the matter is that Thomas, who invented his technique, was a died-in-the-wool doodle-socker until his tournament competition made him move from his 12-foot Lew’s Hawg Hauler rods to something shorter. It was this, maybe, unwanted rule change that led him to develop one of the most widely used techniques in bass fishing history. [Read more…]

Categorizing Crankbait Depths

Bagley crankbaits, photo credit R. Yoder Graphics

Bagley crankbaits, photo credit R. Yoder Graphics

The bassin’ world has seen its share of crankbait crazes, usually tied to an approximate depth range that a “hot” bait will run. For example, we seem to have recently come out of a shallow phase with the popularity of squarebills, and are now re-entering a deepwater phase with baits like the 6XD and 10XD, especially with “ledge events” being held during the summer. From a historical perspective, everybody surely remembers the ‘kneel and reel’ period made famous by Paul Elias, as well as the David Fritts deep crankbait era. Somewhere in there was the popularity of shallow runners such as the Mann’s 1-, or the Rat-L-Trap. Some lasted longer than others, but in each case, a series of events would make one style of bait the most popular way of cranking at the time. [Read more…]

Save A Pig

ANCO Creations Save A Pig ad circa 1982.

ANCO Creations Save A Pig ad circa 1982.

The title of this piece may give you the idea we’re going P3TA on you – absolutely not. But if you’re old enough to remember the pork rind revival of 1980, this won’t just make sense, you probably have a couple of these little gems behind the workbench in your garage.

Around the time when the ‘70s turned into the ‘80s a renaissance of sorts took place in the Arkansas/Missouri area. Bassmaster Staff Writer Dave Precht wrote about the resurgence in the January 1980 issue of Bassmaster Magazine (see Jig & Pork Frog Revival, pgs 78-84) citing that Uncle Josh, the only commercial-scale manufacturer of pork rind at the time, couldn’t keep up with the demand that only four states – Arkansas, Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma – were requiring. [Read more…]

A Follow Up on Flipping and Living Rubber Jigs

The Brawley Bass Bug, one of the earliest living rubber jigs on the market

The Brawley Bass Bug, one of the earliest living rubber jigs on the market

I recently added a lot more magazines to my bass fishing library, and as I’m going through them, I’m coming across some great historical articles. One of those I just read was in the April-May 1977 In’Fisherman magazine. The article is titled “Seek the thickest cover…Dave Gliebe’s Frontal Tactics for Largemouth On Hill-Land Reservoirs.” The story covers more than a dozen pages, documenting what are largely “the basics” of flipping, though they refer to what Gliebe was doing as “‘lever jigging’…an outgrowth of a widely used California system called ‘flipping,’ which itself is a variation of the old ‘doodle-socking’ (vertical jigging) system.”. [Read more…]

Spy Baiting – Hot Technique for the 1950s

Spy Baiting - The "hot" new technique out of Japan.

Spy Baiting – The “hot” new technique out of Japan.

I read a quote from Ron Lindner once that paraphrasing, basically stated that if you wanted to know what the next big thing to make ‘waves’ in the fishing world would be, all you had to do was look back about 20-25 years and see what was “hot” then, because every basic lure or presentation has already been developed, and things that are “new” now are likely just modifications of a previously “hot” technique, only coming full circle again. In fact, I just found that 2008 article, and Ron said, “You don’t always need to reinvent the wheel. Just recycle an old jalopy, slap on a fresh coat of paint, and give it a sexy new name and vivid color scheme. If it worked then, it’ll probably work now.” Such is the case with today’s topic – Spy Baiting. [Read more…]

Moynagh & the Football Jig

Professional bass angler Jim Moynagh, then, and now.

Professional bass angler Jim Moynagh, then, and now.

While the football head was invented by our bassin’ friends out west (see Terry’s story, “The Football Head – Just a Jig Head“), I think I can safely say that for most bass anglers east of the Rocky Mountains, we likely got our first introduction to the bait back in 1995 by a guy named Jim Moynagh. That was the point in bass fishing history when the former angler/researcher for the Hunting and Fishing Library series of books won the Don Shelby Invitational Tournament on Lake Minnetonka, beating out David Fritts by more than 10 pounds and pocketing $50,000. I say former because it was right around the same time that Jim had been laid off from that research position after 9 years of work, but it would turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Two years later (1997), Jim would go on to win the $1 million Forrest Wood Open tournament, also on Lake Minnetonka, pocketing another $200,000 in first place prize money using the same bait and technique, and his professional angling career was cemented. [Read more…]

Bodacious Bass!

VHS Greatness: "Bodacious Bass"

VHS Greatness: “Bodacious Bass”

If I had to pick a moment in bass fishing history when live bait become “the deal” for targeting giant bass, at least on a nationally known level, I’d personally point to the coverage of Ray Easley’s 21-pound beast caught on 8-pound line and a live crawdad back in 1980 from Lake Casitas. While the use of crawdads was popular to big bass chasers prior to that, the overall coverage to those of us not in California was a mixed bag. Previous to that time, it seemed like as much attention was devoted to tactics such as deep water lead core trolling (Doug Crandall), deep running crawdad crankbaits (Cliff Alderson), or worm fishing (Bill Beckum) as to live bait. Even ‘Lunker’ Bill Murphy was tagged as a deep-trolling lead-core specialist over other techniques (stitching, etc.) he later became famous for. [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…]

Burke’s Dedly Dudly – Buzzbait or Spinnerbait?

The 1972 Burke catalog, featuring their new "Dedly Dudly."

The 1972 Burke catalog, featuring their new “Dedly Dudly.”

A couple weeks ago, Terry posted a piece on the Harkin’s Lunker Lure, one of the first true buzzbaits on the market, and probably the one that put such baits and the technique on the bass fishing map. That generated an offline discussion among Terry and myself, along with George Kramer and Rick Clunn, about some of the earlier versions of similar baits. One that got mentioned was the Dedly Dudly, which actually came out a couple years earlier than the Harkin’s bait and was created by the famous Burke Fishing Lures company.

Here’s what we found out on this particular bait. [Read more…]

The Crazy Head Lure Company

Charlie Brewer. Photo courtesy of Charlie Brewer Jr., Charlie Brewer on Slider Fishin' 1978.

Charlie Brewer. Photo courtesy of Charlie Brewer Jr., Charlie Brewer on Slider Fishin’ 1978.

In the world of bass fishing there’s huge controversy over who and where finesse fishing got its start. There are good arguments for many parts of the nation and who played their part, but personally it doesn’t matter to me anymore. Necessity is the mother of invention and when it comes to fishing, there is no group more ingenious than bass anglers who want to catch more fish.

That’s what this story is about. A man who loved to catch fish and would go to extreme lengths to do so and in the process, develop a whole new philosophy pertaining to bass fishing.

That man was Charlie Brewer – his invention, Slider Fishing. [Read more…]