I know we’ve already done Old Bass Boats – 1974 but having recently come across some more ads of boats from that year, I felt in order to be complete, I need to add these to the mix. The boats shown below range from companies that we covered in that earlier article but there’s also some newcomers to the ring. For example there are a couple of new Ranger ads that I’d never seen. There was also a really early Bass Cat ad I’d never seen – it may have been their first ad.
So, without wasting anymore time or bandwidth, here are some more boats from 1974.
Bass Cat – The brainchild of Ron Pierce, Bass Cat started business in 1971 and within 3 years they’d become one of the most widely used boats amongst the pros. This isn’t just a statement, it was fact. Look at the list of anglers who were using the Mountain Home, Arkansas company’s boats. Basil Bacon, Lanny Verner, Jim Rogers, Rayo Breckenridge, Skip Fisher and Tommy Martin were all running Cats in 1974. Between them they either won their respective Angler of the Year or won its Championship. Rayo, of course, won the 1973 Bassmaster Classic, while Tommy Martin won two PSI National Championships (I think this translates to single events) and Basil Bacon won the PSI Angler of the Year award.
MonArk – This is a crazy ad by the Monticello, AR boat company. I don’t know if they wanted to conserve film or they thought they could fool the average reader but MonArk took the same picture and reversed it in this ad to make it look like they were showing both sides of their Super Pro boat model. The Super Pro was one of those early I/O boats that was okay for the front seater but a dreaded day for the guy in the back. Not much was said regarding what this model had in the way of creature comforts or even specifications but it looks to be at least 17-feet in length and probably pushing the 1700-pound mark.
Osprey – Ever hear of International Fiberglass Fabricators? That’s what I thought. Well, in light of OPEC’s gas war with the U.S., they had an ad in 1974 for their 13-foot 8-inch Osprey Bass Boat. They offered two models, one with a 15-inch transom rated for a 25-horse motor and another with a 20-inch transom rated for a 40-horse motor – yikes! Rated by the Boating Institute of America (BIA) I’d hate to have been in that model rated for a 40-horse – with stick steer even. I bet that thing flew. I’m not sure how long the company was around but I sure would have hated to have been their lawyer.
Ranger – The first ad shown here is probably one of the coolest ads I’ve seen in a while. Just a guy in a boat fishing against a nice backdrop. Not many words written, just the picture of the Ranger II. But move on to the next ad and it makes you wonder.
The second ad isn’t a Ranger ad per se but an ad from a boat dealership, Ditto’s Sales and Service, located in San Mateo, FL. What struck me about the ad was twofold. One they’re advertising a complete Ranger rig for $3998.40 and then below they’re advertising the new Ranger 150A and 170A boats. Now, the boat for four-grand was a Ranger Trio (what was that?) model – not the Allison model. Two, why the heck didn’t Ranger place an ad in the magazine for their new Allison series of boats? Doesn’t make much sense to me.
Skeeter – I bet this one took you by surprise -didn’t it? A Skeeter Sweet Thing? Really now? They bill it as a family fishing boat but to be honest, it looks more like today’s pontoon boats, built for drinking, skiing and fishing catfish and crappie. For one, there’s no room up front for a trolling motor let alone an angler. Second, at 15-feet 9-inches, you may have to leave half of your 4-person family home. To top all this off it’s rated or a 120-horse motor.
The more interesting thing about the ad, though, is their talk about the new tunnel hull bass boat called the Eagle I. I don’t recall ever seeing one of those in the west and wonder how long they were produced. I bet at 18-feet and with Skeeter’s generous horsepower rating, that boat flew.
Terry – One of the oldest, if not the second oldest, actual bass boat companies, Terry’s boats hadn’t changed much since the late 60s. Not only that, their choice of front man, Grits Gresham, still hadn’t changed. You can’t tell much from the ad what model this was but it looks to be their 18-foot version. Also impressive about the ad is the number of dealers shown – and these were just in Florida alone. With that type of distribution in one state I’d really like to know what their national distributorship looked like.