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…]

Don Iovino – Western Doodle King

Don Iovino Bassmaster Classic XLV. Photo/Video Brenda Serrano.

Don Iovino Bassmaster Classic XLV. Photo/Video Brenda Serrano.

Not many people outside of the west know about Don Iovino – but you should. Iovino may not have been the angler who invented finesse fishing but in the west he was the guy who was the major proponent of light-line fishing and the use of electronics. Iovino was the guy who wasn’t just talking about fishing in deep water – and folks in the south, we considered deep water anything over 45 feet – but also fishing with lines as light as 6-pound test. [Read more…]

This Month in Bass Fishing History – September 2014

In 2009 Gary Dobyns won the 2009 US Open on Lake Mead.

In 2009 Gary Dobyns won the 2009 US Open on Lake Mead.

Let’s return to this great concept that Brian started up. Another month, another quick look at the anniversaries of major events:

5 YEARS AGO: Western legend Gary Dobyns won the US Open for the first time at age 50, beating 2014 winner (and now three-time champion) Clifford Pirch by over 3 pounds to take the title after numerous near misses. According to the BassFan report of the event, Dobyns battled nausea and dehydration to take the brass ring with a total catch of 32.91 pounds over three days. His primary tools were a Gary Yamamoto Hula Grub, a Lucky Craft DBS4 and a Lucky Craft Gunfish 95. The boat included as part of the prize package was the 40th that he’d won in competition. [Read more…]

Don “The Doodle King” Iovino – An Era Ends

Don Iovino weighs one of the last fish of his 40-year tournament career at this year's WON Bass U.S. Open. Photo Don Iovino.

Don Iovino weighs one of the last fish of his 40-year tournament career at this year’s WON Bass U.S. Open. Photo Dan O’Sullivan.

The first time I met Don Iovino was in 1978 at a seminar at a tackle shop called Anglers West in Diamond Bar California – I was all of 14 years old and wanted to learn everything I could about bass fishing.

In those days you couldn’t open a Western Outdoor News, Western Bass magazine or SWAB periodical without seeing Iovino’s name within its confines. He was winning or placing high in nearly every event he entered and doing it in a most unorthodox manner – some new thing he’d developed called doodling. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Name That Angler Answer and Winner (July 28, 2014)

Can you name this youthful Elite Series angler?

Can you name this youthful Elite Series angler?

Congratulations to Steve M for winning this week’s Monday Trivia Contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits. For the answers, read below, and come back for next week’s edition.

All pros have to get their start somewhere, and this veteran apparently was whacking on the panfish from an early age. He’s still active at the highest levels of professional competition, despite having started his career as a national pro in the mid-80s. Beyond that, we won’t tell you much until Thursday.

In order to win this week’s contest, be the first to correctly answer the following four questions: [Read more…]

Jay Yelas – From Cheeseballs to Classic Winner

Jay Yelas ICAST 2014. Photo Brenda Serrano.

Jay Yelas ICAST 2014. Photo Brenda Serrano.

Around the 1988 time frame I was still working at the tackle shop and going to college. Although I wasn’t fishing, I kept up on what was happening on the tournament scene from the anglers who came into the shop. What happened in ’88 seemed to be a changing of the guard. Long time western pros such as Don Iovino, Bobby Garland, Fred Ward and Larry Hopper had a new angler to contend with – a kid just out of college named Jay Yelas.

I vividly remember some of the local anglers coming into the shop who fished the Red Man circuit in the day – guys that knew “The River Lakes” like the back of their hand. They were donating entry fees to Yelas’ graduate studies – his field of study being professional bass fisherman. [Read more…]

West vs. East

Western Legend Don Iovino graces the cover of the 1995 September/October issue of Bass West Magazine. 1995 was the first year of publication and this was Volume 1 Number 4.

Western Legend Don Iovino graces the cover of the 1995 September/October issue of Bass West Magazine. 1995 was the first year of publication and this was Volume 1 Number 4.

There’s always been a rivalry between the Western U.S. and the Eastern U.S. when it comes to bass fishing. It’s just a plain hard fact of the sport. Having grown up in the Western U.S. and lived there for nearly 50 years, I experienced it firsthand. It was like nothing “bass fishing” existed east of Oklahoma. Yeah, there were the freak fish caught by David Zimmerlee and Ray Easley in 1973 and 1981 and there was Dee Thomas, Gary Klein and Dave Gliebe who ventured back to the cradle of bass fishing and made names for themselves – but they too were freaks of sort – making an imprint on the scene with heavy line and big rods.

Talk to anyone in the East between the late 1970s and 1990s about Western bass fishing and I’m sure they would say one of two things: 1) They have bass in the West? or 2) They fish with sissy rods and 6-pound line. [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…]

San Vicente – Then, Now and the Future

Target For Lunker Hunters by Chuck Garrison. Spring 1977 issue of Western Bass magazine.

Target For Lunker Hunters by Chuck Garrison page one. Spring 1977 issue of Western Bass magazine.

If you’ve followed the southern California bass scene since the 70s, there’s no doubt you’ve heard of Lake San Vicente – simply called San V by locals. Recently I was reading a 1977 issue of Western Bass magazine and came across an old article penned by the late Chuck Garrison about the famed lake. It brought back memories, but it also brought to mind what could be brewing in the near future. I’ve included the article in full here for all to read in order to give you an idea of what a lake it was in its early days. It’s possible that we could see a resurrection of sorts as this old lake gets a face lift. You’ll see why as you read more.

While San Diego lakes such as Miramar and Lower Otay made national headlines in the early ‘70s, it was San V that stole the limelight in the mid to late ‘70s with an onslaught of teeners caught by lunker hunters such as “Lunker” Bill Murphy and Bobby Sandberg. [Read more…]

CLC 1 – May 1974

The first issue of only four issues printed of the California Lunker Club Newsletter. May, 1974. With full permission.

The first issue of only four issues printed of the California Lunker Club Newsletter. May, 1974. With full permission.

We’ve posted a few stories (here and here) in the past about the California Lunker Club and its meager beginnings in 1971 to offer California bass anglers an insurance policy to mount a fish. Not long after that founder Dave Coolidge expanded the CLC into a tournament organization, the first in California, in order to bring like-minded bass anglers together. The concept was friendly competition and also provide a forum to learn from each other and make friends.

The concept took hold and within a couple years the organization grew to a point that Coolidge couldn’t afford it anymore. That’s when Western Bass, formed in 1973, stepped up and took CLC off of Coolidge’s hands. [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…]

It Gitzit – The Genesis of the Tube

Garland Fat Gitzit ad from January 1982.

Garland Fat Gitzit ad from January 1982.

For those of you bass anglers that were west of Las Vegas, NV during the ‘70s, the name Bobby Garland will definitely bring back some memories. Garland’s Bass’N Man Lure Company was probably best known at the time as the company that developed the Spider Jig – the forerunner of what other companies would call Hula Jigs. But Garland didn’t only make the Spider Jig.

Garland, and his brother Gary, started out as crappie anglers and made the first dipped crappie jigs that I know of in the 1960s. They then bridged into making Mini Jigs, just bigger crappie jigs, and the Skinny Squid for bass. In fact, the Skinny Squid, a 5-inch long hollow worm, predated the Knight Tube Worm by at least five years.

Then came the Spider Jig. The skirt was a 3-inch piece of hollow plastic cut with razor blades to form the tentacles. This was then slipped on the Garland Spider Head along with a double tail trailer that Garland bought OEM from Mister Twister. The jig was developed as a swimming jig and was made primarily in shad-based hues in order to mimic baitfish – although he did offer the skirts and trailers in other colors. [Read more…]