Let’s Look Back: I was among the first to get “hooked” – Part 2

I had a chance to test these great hooks before they were ever brought into the USA. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

I had a chance to test these great hooks before they were ever brought into the USA. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

The guy on the other end of the phone line asked a question I’ve been hearing off and on now for a long time.

“Stan,” the guy asked, “Exactly when did you start writing about fishing?  I know you’ve been doing it for a long time now.  I’ll bet you’ve seen lots of changes in the fishing gear that’s available now compared to what it was when you first started.” [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back: I was among the first to get “hooked” – Part 1

For years now Gamakatsu has had some of the world's top bass fishing professionals helping with its hook design and refinement. Aaron Martens, a past winner of the Bassmasters Classic, is one of them. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

For years now, Gamakatsu has had some of the world’s top bass fishing professionals helping with its hook design and refinement. Aaron Martens, a past Bassmaster Angler of the Year winner, is one of them. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

I’m one of the luckiest old backlash picker-outers west of the Mississippi River – maybe east of the big river too.

If you’ve read my “Let’s Look Back” columns in the past you’re aware I’ve touched on this before in doing these columns.  Having been writing about fishing since shortly after the fall of the Roman Empire is one of the reasons I talk about being as fortunate as I have been.

Another, and it’s one of the reasons I welcomed the chance to do these columns when given opportunity to do them. Writing a column with the heading “Let’s Look Back” you see, gives me a chance to look back over my shoulder and write about some of the wondrous experiences I’ve had a chance to be in on. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Victorious Velvick Answer and Winner (April 20, 2015)

Byron Velvick broke the 3-day, 5-fish limit weight record in 2000 on Clear Lake. Photo May/June 2000 issue of Bass West Magazine.

Byron Velvick broke the 3-day, 5-fish limit weight record in 2000 on Clear Lake. Photo May/June 2000 issue of Bass West Magazine.

Congratulations to Adam Hinkle for winning this week’s trivia contest!!!  For the answrs read below.

Fifteen years ago this month, Byron Velvick won the 2000 Bassmaster California Western Invitational on Clear Lake by a margin of more than 11 pounds. It wasn’t like he was beating up on the Little Sisters of the Poor, either, as the three anglers directly behind him were Skeet Reese, Aaron Martens and Brett Hite. Other western/national powers like Dean Rojas (6th) and Ish Monroe (9th), as well as legends like Gary Dobyns (13th) and Mike Folkestad (16th) also made the top 20, but all fell well short of Velvick’s 83-05 total.

Velvick certainly wasn’t a newcomer to the sport, having previously won the 1990 and 1996 U.S. Open Championships, but the Clear Lake victory marked the first of his three B.A.S.S. wins to date. In winning, he also set the B.A.S.S. record for total weight in a three-day, five-fish-limit event. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Victorious Velvick (April 20, 2015)

Byron Velvick broke the 3-day, 5-fish limit weight record in 2000 on Clear Lake. Photo May/June 2000 issue of Bass West Magazine.

Byron Velvick broke the 3-day, 5-fish limit weight record in 2000 on Clear Lake. Photo May/June 2000 issue of Bass West Magazine.

Fifteen years ago this month, Byron Velvick won the 2000 Bassmaster California Western Invitational on Clear Lake by a margin of more than 11 pounds. It wasn’t like he was beating up on the Little Sisters of the Poor, either, as the three anglers directly behind him were Skeet Reese, Aaron Martens and Brett Hite. Other western/national powers like Dean Rojas (6th) and Ish Monroe (9th), as well as legends like Gary Dobyns (13th) and Mike Folkestad (16th) also made the top 20, but all fell well short of Velvick’s 83-05 total.

Velvick certainly wasn’t a newcomer to the sport, having previously won the 1990 and 1996 U.S. Open Championships, but the Clear Lake victory marked the first of his three B.A.S.S. wins to date. In winning, he also set the B.A.S.S. record for total weight in a three-day, five-fish-limit event. [Read more…]

The Bassmaster Classic – 1991 through 2000

Ken Cook hoists the 1991 Classic trophy for winning at the Chesapeake Bay, MD. Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

Ken Cook hoists the 1991 Classic trophy for winning at the Chesapeake Bay, MD. Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

By 1991 the Bassmaster Classic had become the event anglers aspired to win – weekend warriors through tour-level pros. The event had grown from a small gathering of anglers and media huddled together at the ramp in 1971 at Lake Mead, NV to sold-out stadiums in 1990. Although the event was centered around the anglers who qualified and the eventual winner, it grew into what we now know as Classic week filled with fan days, media events and one of if not the biggest public tackle shows in the world. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – The Last Class from the West Answer and Winner (February 9, 2015)

The July-August 2002 cover of Bass West magazine showing the four anglers who made the Bassmaster Classic from the Western Opens. Back row from left to right are Mike O'Shea and Aaron Martens. Kneeling in front are Luke Clausen and Jack Gadlage.

The July-August 2002 cover of Bass West magazine showing the four anglers who made the Bassmaster Classic from the Western Opens. Back row from left to right are Mike O’Shea and Aaron Martens. Kneeling in front are Luke Clausen and Jack Gadlage.

Congrats to Andy Williamson for winning this week’s trivia contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits! JKarbow also had the right answers but came in a little late on time. For the answers, please read below. 

As we prepare for the 2015 Bassmaster Classic this month, it’s easy to overlook how the landscape for professional anglers from the western United States has changed over the past few decades. The full-time pros in this year’s Classic field include Brett Hite (Arizona), Jared Lintner (California), Justin Lucas (Alabama, but originally from California), Aaron Martens (same as Lucas), James Niggemeyer (Texas, but originally from California), Brandon Palaniuk (Idaho), Clifford Pirch (Arizona), Dean Rojas (California) and Skeet Reese (California). While Brian Snowden is typically associated with the Ozarks region, he too cut his bass-fishing teeth in California. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – The Last Class from the West (February 9, 2015)

Bass West cover from the July-August 2002 issue.

Bass West cover from the July-August 2002 issue.

As we prepare for the 2015 Bassmaster Classic this month, it’s easy to overlook how the landscape for professional anglers from the western United States has changed over the past few decades. The full-time pros in this year’s Classic field include Brett Hite (Arizona), Jared Lintner (California), Justin Lucas (Alabama, but originally from California), Aaron Martens (same as Lucas), James Niggemeyer (Texas, but originally from California), Brandon Palaniuk (Idaho), Clifford Pirch (Arizona), Dean Rojas (California) and Skeet Reese (California). While Brian Snowden is typically associated with the Ozarks region, he too cut his bass-fishing teeth in California.

In the past, most western pros who wanted to make a run at the mostly-southeastern Bassmaster Tour moved to the east, like Gary Klein and Jay Yelas. There were a few holdouts, like Rich Tauber, Dave Gliebe, and Mike Folkestad, but they never approached the numbers that compete on the tours today. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Quit While You’re Ahead? Answer and Winner (Sept 29, 2014)

Robert Byrd weighs a stout fish in his only Bassmaster win in 1989. Photo July/August 1989 issue of Bassmaster Magazine. Gerald Crawford.

Robert Byrd weighs a stout fish in his only Bassmaster win in 1989. Photo July/August 1989 issue of Bassmaster Magazine. Gerald Crawford.

Unfortunately no one won this week’s trivia contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits. Duke Jenkle made a good effort and got 2 of 3 answers right. For the answer, please read below.

Twenty five years ago, professional bass fishing was well-enough established that there were full-time pros and those who aspired to be like them. But for one week in May of 1989 Robert Byrd made it look easy to come from nowhere and beat the best of the best. Well, it wasn’t quite out of nowhere. The 52 year-old Texas guide had a substantial knowledge base, but it was nevertheless impressive that he won the first B.A.S.S. event he entered, the Alabama Invitational on Lake Guntersville. Byrd caught 60 pounds 7 ounces of Guntersville bass over three days to beat runner-up Charlie Reed by over 6 pounds. The money line (50th place out of 325 contestants) was 37-07. [Read more…]

The Original Scrounger – 1976

Scrounger Lures ad from 1976.

Scrounger Lures ad from 1976.

There are a multitude of companies out there today that make a jig head which employs a plastic lip in order to provide movement to the head and trailer. Companies like Davis Bait Company, Kalin, Luck-E-Strike and Sworming Hornet are an example of manufacturers that produce this genre of heads today.

But it all got started in San Marcos, CA back in the early 70s by a company named North American Waters – makers of the Scrounger. Back then the Scrounger was offered in two sizes, 1/8 and 3/8 ounce, and with that you got the bill that they placed on it at the factory. No spares, no different sizes. [Read more…]

How They Began – John Murray

John Murray holds one of his numerous western trophies after winning yet another western event. Photo courtesy of Bill Rice.

John Murray holds one of his numerous western trophies after winning yet another western event. Photo courtesy of Bill Rice.

To folks east of the Mississippi the name John Murray probably rings a bell as an angler who came out east in the late 90s with anglers such as Skeet Reese, Aaron Martens and Byron Velvick. They know he’s won a couple events, generally makes the Classic and probably also know him as a better deep-water angler who’s always in contention when the tour travels to the northern-tier lakes or southern highland impoundments such as Smith Lake. This is all correct but there’s actually a lot more to John Murray than those stats.

In all actuality, Murray’s been fishing professionally since 1985 when his early mentor Art Price told him to leave the tackle shop he was working at. Since then he’s won 31 boats, fished 7 Bassmaster Classics and won the U.S. Open on Lake Mead twice. He’s fished every major tournament trail and a number of regional trails over the course of his 29-year career and overall he’s won nearly $2-million dollars casting for cash. Yes, he’s been around a while. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Folkestad’s Florida Folly Answer and Winner (August 5, 2013)

Mike Folkestad and Ray Scott talk at the 1992 Florida Invitational event. Photo mikefolkestad.blogspot.com.

Mike Folkestad and Ray Scott talk at the 1992 Florida Invitational event. Photo mikefolkestad.blogspot.com.

Well it took four weeks but we finally have a winner! Congratulations to  Al Hustosky for winning this week’s Bass Fishing Archives Trivia Contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits! For his efforts he won a $25 e-coupon good for anything on the GYCB website. Monday we’ll have another trivia question for you. For the answers to this week’s questions read below.

The 1992 Bassmaster Florida Invitational  was California pro Mike Folkestad’s lone win with B.A.S.S. in 60 tries. The western legend, who was formally inducted into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame earlier this year, finished in the top 10 on seven other occasions, including a second-place near miss at the 1997 Arizona Western Invitational on Lake Powell. [Read more…]

Blakemore Lures – A Look Back

Bert Hall, inventor of the Road Runner and Blakemore lures, hoist a string of walleye. Photo courtesy of TJ Stallings, TTI-Blakemore.

Bert Hall, inventor of the Road Runner and Blakemore lures, hoist a string of walleye. Photo courtesy of TJ Stallings, TTI-Blakemore.

When one thinks of some of the first lures designed for light-line finesse fishing two companies should come to mind. Of course there was the Bass Buster Lures Beetle Spin manufactured by early bass pioneer Virgil Ward. The second that should rattle your memory – especially with the latest number of underspins that have entered the market – is the Blakemore Road Runner.

Blakemore came to life in 1959 when Bert Hall and a fishing buddy started manufacturing the Road Runner in Branson, MO. Back then it was manufactured solely of marabou and was mainly designed for use on local lakes such as Taneycomo, Bull Shoals, Table Rock and the Arkansas River. The bait was designed to catch anything – and that it did. [Read more…]