In Part 1 and Part 2 of Old Bass Boats – 1977, we covered the boat manufacturers who placed ads in the 1977 vintage magazines. Those manufacturers ranged from Alumacraft to Glastron and Holiday to Rhyan Craft. Today we feature from Sea Nymph to Venture and then four organizational Championship boats from American Angler, American Bass Fisherman, National Bass and Bassmaster.
Here are the remaining boats of 1977.
Sea Nymph – Sea Nymph had been making boats since the 40s but evidently hadn’t delved into the bass boat market until 1976 based on this ad. A quick check on iBoats.com revealed this to be the case assuming the information on the site is accurate – which is questionable due to the fact they didn’t have my 1978 Bass-N-Jon listed.
In any event, Sea Nymph offered two different bass-style boats in 1977 – the SS-160 and SS-161. The company was quick to point out these were not bass-specific boats but also pike, muskie or crappie boats. Obviously, Sea Nymph didn’t want to paint themselves into the corner and alienate anglers.
Both boats were made from identical hulls, 16-feet one-inch in length, with a 70-inch beam. The SS-160 had full casting decks and under-deck storage while the SS-161 didn’t have the decks and is more what would be considered a walleye boat today.
The curious thing about the boats is that although they were built with the same hull, the 160 was rated for a 70-horse motor, while the 161 was rated for a 55-horse. It would make some sense if the 161 was tiller-only control but as you can see from the picture, it came with a console.
Sebring – Here’s another company I don’t know anything about – C&S Enterprises Sebring. Hailing out of Huntsville, AL, it’s unknown when Sebring came into the market as this is the first ad we’ve run across from the company.
The ad was placed in all the 1977 National Bassman magazines and from the looks of it, the boat was outfitted quite nicely for the day. Although they list a ton of standard features for the boat, missing is most important – length, beam and horsepower ratings.
Skeeter – The oldest bass boat company of them all, Skeeter either didn’t have a new model for 1977 or they just decided to continue running their 1976 ad featuring the Wrangler and the SS-7. Also presented in the ad was they were still offering the Kevlar option and they were also bold to state that their Wrangler was the “only 16-foot boat legally rated for a 150-horse motor.”
On the Skeeter pro-staff at the time were names like Phil Greene, Elroy Krueger, Bo Dowden, Jack Hans, Freddie Grant, Wesley Fredieu, Tom Shockley, Dave Hilton, Dave Gliebe and John Fox.
Stryker – In 1976 Stryker placed its first ads in the bass magazines and it continued to do so in 1977. This ad, again taken from a 1977 National Bassman magazine, didn’t really offer anything more than the model name and the standard features of the boat. No length, beam or horsepower ratings.
What the ad does do is really show the deck layout of essentially all bass boats from this era. There is virtually no dry storage and any thought of a flipping deck is lost. Back then you stored your tackle boxes on the deck of the boat and if it rained, you had the arduous task of drying all your tackle after your trip. Oh how fun that was.
Super Perow – I had to include this ad from Modern Marine in this installment of Old Bass Boats – primarily for the Yaker crowd. The use of Kayaks for bass fishing may seem new but if you get right down to it, the boys of east Texas and Louisiana have been doing it all along. The deal is their boats weren’t called Kayaks, they were called Perows.
The cool thing about this boat is they offered an electric trolling motor built into the hull that had mechanical steering (see inset picture). Pretty advanced for the day.
Terry – Terry Bass boats by 1977 had made a name for themselves and were amongst the best boats of the day. In 1977 they introduced two new vee-hull boats, the 6.2m and 5.3m, which measured out at 20-feet 4-inches and 17-feet 8-inches respectively. The 6.2m was rated for a 200 horse motor while the 5.3m was rated for a 150.
Their second ad of that year displayed their popular 4.7m and the third ad featured the ABF 15. It was during this time that Terry decided to embrace the fact that the United States was moving from the British system of measurement to the metric system and decided to convert all their models accordingly – hence models like the 6.2m (meter) and 460cm (centimeter).
Stated in the second ad they also mention having 10 glass models boats and 31 aluminum models, although I don’t recall ever seeing one of their tin boats.
Tide Craft – In years past Tide Craft had elected only running one, maybe two ads in the nationagazines. In 1977, though, they opted for three. In the first ad they display their new multipurpose boat the 316 F/S. This fish and ski model claimed to be 18 boats in one. At 16 feet in length, it could handle up to a 115-horse motor and had an 80-inch beam.
Next on the advertising list was their new 16-foot 316 HPB. This boat was to fill the gap between their 315HPB and the 318 HPB, which I assume were 15 and 18 feet in length.
The final Tide Craft ad found was taken from a 1977 Western Bass magazine. No information is provided as to what hull it is but it has to be an 18-footer. I’m also guessing it was Larry Hopper’s boat as Hopper at the time was sponsored by D.A.M Quick. If this is indeed the case, my best friend bought this boat from Hopper in the 1979 time frame and I got a chance to fish out of it.
Venture – The last of the bass boat manufacturer ads to be found in the literature is this one from Venture Boats. When it comes to ads, this one is awesome. It features a nice clean picture of a boat hauling bass down the lake but, most importantly, it lists all their models and specs to boot.
In 1977 Venture offered what appears to be six models from 15 feet to 18 feet with outboard and I/O options to name a few. They list their standard features and also give the buyer what type of trailer will be placed under their new boat.
Now on to the Bass Tournament Organization Boats.
American Angler Grand American – The 1977 American Angler’s Grand Ameican boat was built off of a Skeeter Wrangler hull and was to be the boat of the All-Pro Championship. Like the Classic boats offered up by B.A.S.S., American Angler made sure their boats were fully decked out with all the finest equipment of the time, even Skeeter’s Kevlar hull.
The boat featured a 150-horse Mercury motor, a Ram Glide 12/24 trolling motor, Lowrance depth finder, electric anchor winch, Blakemore batteries, transom saver, Roadmaster trailer and more for the cost of $6,495. Amazing to look back at these boats prices.
Bassmaster Classic Boat – The year 1977 marked the 7th year B.A.S.S. put on the famed Bassmaster Classic and this was the 6th year Ranger boats had been chosen to provide the boats. Actually, they were asked the inaugural year but Ranger burned the the ground and Rebel had to step in and accommodate.
The hull for the ’77 Classic rig wasn’t stated but it was probably the 1750. List priced with all the accoutraments, this version of the came out to $8,531 but B.A.S.S. was offering a 22-percent discount. Features included on this pro-tested boat were, Radio Shack’s One-Hander CB radio, Silvertrol 12/24 trolling motor, Boat Reins, Johnny Reb Lectranchor system, Power Pedestal seats, Lowrance LFG-360 depthfinders, and more.
American Bass Fisherman Golden Grand Prix – American Bass Fisherman’s year-end championship boat was provided by ProCraft. The model 1640 was being sold for $5,999.95 and buyers were made an interesting offer from ABF for their purchase. By committing with a $600 deposit, the buyer would be an observer at the 77 Championship for 3 days, get free room and board at the championship, get to enjoy the hospitality room, get a picture of them with a championship pro in their new rig, and be the first to use their new rig at the championship.
The boat came with a 1978 140-horse Evinrude motor, H&H custom trailer, Silvertrol 12/24 trolling motor and batteries, and Lowrance depthfinders.
Bassmaster Bass Champs – Bassmaster put together a special event in 1977 that featured the top-10 Classic champs against the top-10 Federation champs and called it the BASS Champs tournament. Because of this, they needed a new special event boat and for that, they went to aluminum boat manufacturer DuraCraft for it.
The 1977 BASS Champs boat was a 16-foot bass boat powered by a Johnson 35-horse motor. Features included a 6-gallon gas tank, Motor-Guide III electric motor, “Allied Sports’” (Humminbird) Super Sixty depth finder, and more. The cost of the boat package came to $3,595 and was quite a deal for this much aluminum boat at the time.
National Bass Gold Medalist – National Bass’ Gold Medalist boat was based off of a Hurst B-175 platform powered by a Mercury Black Max 175-horse motor. The hull was Kevlar reinforced and rated for up to a 180-horse motor.
Below the boat was a Double H trailer and other features included a Garcia flashers/chart recorder, Humminbird Super Sixty flasher, Garcia Oxygen/Temperature probe, electric anchor, and more.
The value of the boat was listed at over $10,000 but the actual price was not mentioned in the ad.
Well, that concludes this version of Old Bass Boats. Next time we’re back, we’ll be looking at the year 1978. In the meantime, if you have any old pictures from boats pre-1978, please feel free to send them into us with the model, year built, any equipment you had on the boat and what you thought of the boat. When we get a few of your pictures, we’ll post them on the site. Send your emails to Terry at firstname.lastname@example.org.