Young anglers nowadays probably have no idea how anglers fished back in the day. Boats of the ‘60s, ‘70s and even through the ‘80s were sold one way – with “captain’s chairs” fore and aft. In fact, the higher-end boat companies not only sold their boats with these chairs, they offered chairs with arms as an upgrade. Nearly everyone sat when they were fishing – standing only when they hooked a fish or got a snag.
The trend to stand while fishing took a while for the everyday angler to catch on. In the small boats of the day, remember boats at the time were between 15- and 17-feet long, it was difficult to stand in rough water and no one wanted to take the chance of leaving the seats behind in the event the weather kicked up.
Then around the late ‘70s early ‘80s we started seeing butt seats that provided an angler who stood, something to rest against or stabilize themselves in rough water. But that wasn’t the only advantage of the butt seat, it provided a much better view when under power of the big motor.
One of the first ads I remember for butt seats was in a late ‘70s Bass Pro Shops catalog. They were sold in two different pin sizes to accommodate most boats and had a screw adjustment to change the height of the seat and some even allowed the angler to adjust the angle of the seat – much like the 1982 Fangard ad shown above.
If memory serves me, it wouldn’t be until the mid- to late-‘80s before boat manufacturers started offering butt seats as options on boats.
Yes, today’s boat manufacturers still offer the old standard “captains chairs” with their boats but I wonder how many they actually sell. The last 5 boats I’ve owned, the butt seats have never been in the boat, and most of the serious anglers I know, don’t even use a butt seat anymore. The lack of seats just provides more room to maneuver and get to below-deck storage.
But then again how can I judge an angler who sits vice the angler who stands. There have been many anglers over the course of time who’ve sat and are considered world-class fishermen. Billy Westmorland, Rayo Breckenridge and John Powell all sat. And to this day, Bill Dance primarily sits when he’s fishing bass. Who can argue any of these anglers’ success? I can’t. But I do prefer to stand.