The 1977 American Angler Oklahoma National

Old school Okiebug patch from Don Butler's Okiebug spinnerbait lure company, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Old school Okiebug patch from Don Butler’s Okiebug spinnerbait lure company, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Recently I was able to get a hold of a couple old Okiebug patches – a standard Okiebug patch that many anglers displayed prominently on their jumpsuits of the day and another that really intrigued me.

The patch that really caught my attention was from an American Angler Pro-Bass Tour tournament held in 1977 at Lake Eufaula, Oklahoma. The event, dubbed as the Oklahoma National, was sponsored by Okiebug. What got my attention first was Don Butler, owner of Okiebug, was close friends with Ray Scott – having been the first life member of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society and also the guy who sent Scott $10,000 in order for him to pay for a direct mailing campaign he was trying to get rolling.

1977 American Angler Pro-Bass Tour Oklahoma National Bass Tournament, Lake Eufaula, Oklahoma sponsored by Okiebug

1977 American Angler Pro-Bass Tour Oklahoma National Bass Tournament, Lake Eufaula, Oklahoma sponsored by Okiebug

I thought it was interesting that Butler would sponsor an event held by a competing tournament organization. To the end of Butler’s life, he and Scott remained close friends so I guess this event didn’t have any impact on their relationship. In July 2008, shortly after Butler’s death, Ray Scott wrote a nice piece on Bassmaster.com about Butler. Here’s a link to the story.

So I have the patch and that got me thinking whether or not I had the American Angler issue the tournament report might be in. So I dug through my magazines and low-and-behold I had the Fall issue. I looked at the contents page, turned to page 64 and was happy to see the tournament report.

Fall 1977 edition of American Angler magazine

Fall 1977 edition of American Angler magazine

I have scanned the report in full for you all to read for yourselves but let me take a minute to mention a few items. First off, look at the top 7. If that isn’t a list of who’s who in bass fishing I don’t know how to impress. Jack Wade, Roland Martin, Rick Clunn, Ricky Green, Tommy Martin, Dave Gliebe and Jim[my] Houston round out that list of anglers.

Fall 1977 Edition of American Angler magazine.

Fall 1977 Edition of American Angler magazine.

If you go a little further down the list you see Emmett Chiles (12th place), Don Butler (13th place), Jack Hains (15th place), Marvin Baker (21st place), Randy Dearman (27th place) and Roger Moore (34th place). All these guys made an impact on the Bassmaster Trail at some point in their careers. What’s impressive to me is they dominated this event and it also shows that the thought of a two-tour (or more) angler was alive and well back in the early days of competitive bass fishing.

  • Gosh, can’t wait for Jack (Wade) to see this. It will be a real nice boost for him to take a trip down memory lane.

    • Thanks Rick. That’s what we’re here for.