Anglers Marine – 33 Years Later

Anglers Marine Ad. Photo Western Bass Magazine March-April 1984.

Anglers Marine Ad. Photo Western Bass Magazine March-April 1984.

Bass fishing in the west may not be as big as it is in the southern states but believe me, what they lack in numbers of lakes and anglers, they make up for with exceptional fishing and high-quality anglers. And, where ever you have bass anglers, you’re bound to have marine dealerships that sell bass boats. It’s not a very difficult concept to grasp.

In the early 70s through the 80s, there were numerous boat dealerships that dealt with bass boats in the southern California region. Here’s a short list and the boats they sold just to give you an idea of what I’m talking about. [Read more…]

Patch Pirate Part II – Western Bass Organizations

Early western fishing organizations. On the left Southwest Association of Bass and on the right the Western Bass Fishing Association. Both organizations would eventually be bought and turned into the U.S. Bass organization.

Early western fishing organizations. On the left Southwest Association of Bass and on the right the Western Bass Fishing Association. Both organizations would eventually be bought and turned into the U.S. Bass organization.

In the first segment of Patch Pirate we presented four patches from three different organizations that were prevalent in the Midwest and Southern parts of the United States in the 70s and 80s. Today we’ll look at three organizations that made up the bulk of organizations in the West – namely Western Bass Fishing Association (WBFA), the Southwest Association of Bass (SWAB) and U.S. Bass. [Read more…]

Early SoCal – Lake Henshaw

Lake Henshaw article from the February/March 1974 issue of American Bass Fisherman.

Lake Henshaw article from the February/March 1974 issue of American Bass Fisherman.

Recently I was reading a February/March 1974 issue of American Bass Fisherman magazine and was surprised when I saw a couple of articles about the west. What surprised me about them was; 1) ABF – or better known as the American-Florida Bass Fisherman – was based out of Florida, a continent away from the fledgling California bass scene and 2) one of the articles was penned by BFA contributor Bill Rice, while the other was about a pretty obscure reservoir just north of San Diego. This piece is about that reservoir, Lake Henshaw. [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…]

History in Photos – An Homage to Bill Murphy

Lunker Bill Murphy, 1972

Lunker Bill Murphy, 1972

A few weeks ago Brian started a piece here called “History in Photos.” Well, today I thought I’d give my part in that with a person who deserves all the words in the world – then some.  Here are some photos supplied by Bill Rice of Lunker Bill that I’m sure few have seen. Bill Rice, thanks for the photos and Lunker Bill, thank you for all you did for us. In these photos with Lunker Bill is his longtime partner Jim Patten. [Read more…]

The California Fishing Association – 1985

Today's Fisherman 1985 1After running through some old magazines this past weekend I had to post this piece regarding the history of team tournaments in southern California. It’s not as old as a lot of the stuff we’ve posted here but it brought back a lot of memories for me and I’m sure it’ll do the same for a number of those who fished the SoCal region back in the ’80s.

The organization was the California Fishing Association owned and run by long-time California bass angler Tom Meredith. The organization started the year prior in 1984 after the decline of Western Bass team events. The organization would only last another year and would be bought by Bucky Fallon and Bob Young and would eventually become the American Bass Association, which is still running today – not to be confused with the other ABA that ran Bassmaster’s Weekend Series). [Read more…]

More Western Winners – 1989 West Coast Bass

1989 West Coast Bass Tournament Winners.

1989 West Coast Bass Tournament Winners.

Okay folks, sue me because I’m on a Western rant this week. Problem is I have a ton of Western material and I need to give the West some love. A couple days ago we posted a short that looked back at the winners of the 1979 Western Bass Team trail and today we’re going 10 years forward to 1989 and the West’s premier tournament series, West Coast Bass.

The interesting thing about these pages from the January/February 1990 issue of West Coast Bass are the names of the winners – in many cases nationally known anglers. It doesn’t take one long to go down the first page and see flipping legend Dee Thomas. Dee needs no introduction and has been written about a number of times here on the Bass Fishing Archives. He’s also been inducted into both the Professional Bass Fishing and Freshwater Fishing Halls of Fame. [Read more…]

The Western Bass Pro Shops of the ’80s

Fangard Catalog ad from 1982 Western Bass Fishing Association magazine courtesy of Bill Rice.

Fangard Catalog ad from 1982 Western Bass Fishing Association magazine courtesy of Bill Rice.

Bass Pro Shops came out with their first flat-bound catalog in 1974 and featured everything that the bass angler needed when it came to bass fishing – right? Well, for the most part that could be true. Problem is every region or even lake has its own hot bait and even if Johnny Morris based his fledgling BPS from the concept of “having all the hot local stuff” it was literally impossible to do so. There ws no way that they could know what hot baits or techniques were being used all over the United States.

This is where small local mail order companies started popping up in all the local magazines and papers. We’ve talked about a few of them here on the Bass Fishing Archives before (here and here) and today we’ll touch on another one, this time western-bent Fangard. [Read more…]

Frank E. Hauck – The Living Rubber Connection

Dee Thomas (L) and Frank Hauck (R) sipping a cold one after their win on Lake Nacimiento in 1974. Photo California Lunker Club Newsletter June 1974. Notice the "Lew's Hats on their heads.

Dee Thomas (L) and Frank Hauck (R) sipping a cold one after their win on Lake Nacimiento in 1974. Photo California Lunker Club Newsletter June 1974. Notice the “Lew’s Hats on their heads.

I’ve been waiting for some more information prior to posting this piece but with the passing of Charlie Reed last week, I felt I couldn’t wait any longer. This piece is a tribute to Frank Hauck – inventor and bass fisherman.

Readers of the Bass Fishing Archives may well remember the name Frank Hauck. He’s been written about here a few times before – namely with his early tournament partner Dee Thomas (here and here). Hauck was not only the guy who convinced Thomas to start competitive fishing, he was Thomas’ first sponsor. But what he is little known for outside his native northern California is his contribution to the tackle industry – namely jigs. [Read more…]

The Football Head – Just a Jig Head

Larry McCain developed the football head jig in 1965 - not because he thought it would work better but because it would come out of the mold easier. Photo Spring 1977 issue of Western Bass magazine.

Larry McCain developed the football head jig in 1965 – not because he thought it would work better but because it would come out of the mold easier. Photo Spring 1977 issue of Western Bass magazine.

Along around the 2000 timeframe, I was reading an article in In-Fisherman regarding a “new style” leadhead called the Rocker Head. As I read about how this jig would rock-and-roll over rocky structures and fall straight to the bottom quickly, I thought of a jig that I’d grown up fishing and had all these same attributes.

A few paragraphs into the article, I came to realize that the jig they were describing was indeed the jig that had been invented in the mid-60s in southern California – the football head. [Read more…]

Western Bass Volume 1 Number 1

The first issue of what would eventually become Western Bass magazine. Photo courtesy of Bill Rice.

The first issue of what would eventually become Western Bass magazine. Photo courtesy of Bill Rice.

For the early western bass angler, there was only one option to get up-to-date information on how to bass fish prior to 1973. That was by subscribing to Bassmaster Magazine. Of course you could subscribe to Sports Afield, Outdoor Life or Field and Stream but you had to wade through a lot of meaningless jibber having to do with hunting along with other species of fish.

Then in 1973 Western Bass Fishing Association filled a niche for the western angler by debuting the first western-centric bass journal called the Bassman’s Tournament Journal. In this newsprint publication they gave tournament results and some tips on how the best western pros of the day were catching their fish.

The photo here of Volume 1 Number 1 was provided by Bass Fishing Archives supporter Bill Rice and is the only photo I know that exists – let alone an actual copy of the paper. The text is difficult to make out at best but I was able to read the photo caption and transcribe it for you to read. It reads: [Read more…]

Pisces Bass Club – The Club To Belong To

Pisces Bass Club Article. Photo courtesy of Bill Rice. Origin unknown.

Pisces Bass Club Article. Photo courtesy of Bill Rice. Origin unknown.

My first recollection of the Pisces Bass Club was from around the 1972 time frame when I first subscribed to southern California’s weekly fishing paper, Western Outdoor News (WON). Thumbing through the paper each week I’d see pictures of huge bass that were taken out of the San Diego lakes by anglers such as “Lunker” Bill Murphy, Mike Folkestad and others. The photo captions would generally go like this: “Lunker” Bill Murphy (Pisces) caught this such-and-such pound bass stitching a worm off Murphy’s Rock at Lake Wholford….”

I had no clue what the Pisces in parenthesis meant, maybe he was that astrological sign, but I do know one thing, (Pisces) was in a lot of picture captions and not just “Lunker” Bill’s pictures. [Read more…]