Spinnerbaits 1977

Doc Moorehead's Floozy spinnerbait with a plastic curl-tail skirt. This skirt, which came out before Mister Twister's rendition, resulted in a law suit.

Doc Moorehead’s Floozy spinnerbait with a plastic curl-tail skirt. This skirt, which came out before Mister Twister’s rendition, resulted in a law suit.

After four days of Classic coverage we’re back home and back to the grind. So, we’re going to take a little diversion this week and look at old ads. First up on the list is spinnerbaits – a bait that played a huge role in the first six Classic wins – either as the main bait or as a supplement to the winning angler.

In 1971 Bobby Murray won on a Zorro, in ’72 Don Butler won on an S.O.B., in ’74 Tommy Martin used a Fleck Weed Wader, as did Jack Hains in ’75 and in ’76 Rick Clunn followed suit with the Weed Wader. [Read more…]

Lake Yojoa, the Lost Jewel of Honduras

Before El Salto and Guererro there was Yojoa Lake, Honduras.

Before El Salto and Guererro there was Yojoa Lake, Honduras.

I’m a sucker for adventure travel and a sucker for big bass, so when I came across this advertisement for Walker’s Bass Tours in the January 1985 issue of Bassmaster, I was intrigued by its promises about Lake Yojoa in Honduras. At the time, I was a Bassmaster magazine subscriber, and I vaguely remember Don Wirth’s stories of Harry and Charlie venturing to Central America, but at 15 years old I did not have the means to travel out of state to fish, let alone out of the country. [Read more…]

Old Book Reviews: Jerry McKinnis’s Bass Fishing

Jerry McKinnis' Bass Fishing

Jerry McKinnis’ Bass Fishing

As promised, I recently completed my reading of this book, which carries the sub-title, “Largemouth & Smallmouth Habits & Habitats. Tackle. Techniques. Maps,” on its cover. The book was published in 1974 (First printing), and features illustrations by Ralph Mark, and a cover credit to Bert O’Neal. Speaking of the cover, it has the somewhat unusual appearance (for a fishing book) of featuring Jerry with a big stringer of bass looking to his then wife, Nan.  She appears a couple other times in the book. The book sold for $3.95 and covered 95 pages.

The book is paperback and actually quite large, more like a magazine or a coloring book. All pictures and illustrations. of which there are plenty, are in black and white. The font is also slightly larger than normal making for a very quick read. You could easily finish this one off in a matter of hours some afternoon. [Read more…]

Build Your Own Bass Boat 70s Style

A couple weeks ago we posted a piece on building a bass boat control center. The article was based on an article written by Howard A. Bach in the 1973 Bassmaster Fishing Annual. While writing that piece it occurred to me how in the early days, especially in the West where there weren’t many bass boats, all that was required to bass fish was a boat, some tackle and a desire to catch bass.

This was evident in the early magazines because a large number of the articles had pictures of anglers fishing out of their small aluminum boats – not full-blown bass boats mind you – catching fish. A good example is the opening picture for this article. [Read more…]

A Look in the Western Rear View Mirror

Don Crozier hoists his winning fish from a 14-foot aluminum boat he used in the tournament. Photo courtesy of Dave Coolidge CLC magazine 1974.

Although the South Eastern part of the country had had organized bass tournaments since the mid-60s, the Western part of the country, namely California, fell a little behind the curve. This was mostly due to the fact that the state had made it illegal to fish for more than a couple-hundred dollars and the fishermen at the time were not interested in leaving the confines of their clubs – or zip codes.

The California Lunker Club (CLC) changed all of that, though, in 1972. As written before (see The California Lunker Club: Dave Coolidge – Part One and Part Two), Coolidge formed the first organized tournament organization in California and within 2 years it became such a success that it was purchased by Western Outdoor News and assumed into the newly-formed Western Bass Fishing Association. Competitive bass fishing had made its mark in the West. [Read more…]

Sports Illustrated’s Scientific Test

Sports Illustrated published a series of pieces on whether certain activities should be considered sports and in the March 19, 2001, issue, they addressed bass fishing:

Sport? Not A Sport?

This Week: Tournament Bass Fishing [Read more…]

Sports Illustrated Takes on Tournaments

From the beginning, Ray Scott, a carnival barker to the core, knew that in order to grow his fledgling B.A.S.S. organization he’d have to court traditional media. That meant inviting them to mystery lake Classics and finding other means of gaining their support.

Surprisingly, Sports Illustrated gave Scott’s crew a fair amount of support in the early years. In the pre-ESPN, pre-internet era, SI was everything, the final arbiter of what was legit and what was not. For the most part the magazine’s coverage of Ray’s brainchild was positive.

The first feature, entitled “A Big Bass Bash in Arkansas,” was published in 1969 and featured the following choice nuggets: [Read more…]

Boat Shops of the Past – Leach’s Sporting Goods

Leach’s Sporting Goods ad from 1976.

As a small kid in the early to mid ‘70s, my mom would take me to Leach’s Sporting Goods to buy worms, sinkers and hooks. Although I was there to but these goods, I could stand and stare for hours at the crankbaits hanging on the walls or the plastic grubs and worms located in the coffee cans on the shelves. It was a dream-like place for a kid bitten with the fishing bug.

What intrigued me most about Leach’s, though, was the “boat shop” out back. In the early days of my family’s fishing adventures we didn’t have a boat and resorted to renting when we went to the local lakes to fish. For those of you that fished southern Cal during those days, you remember the old (even at that time) wood and glass sleds they rented that might top out at 3 mph with a 6-horse Merc going downwind. [Read more…]

Is There Really Anything New in Bass Fishing?

Whopper Stopper Ad circa 1976.

As usual, I was cruising an old magazine the other day and this ad caught my eye. Every old-time basser at least remembers the old Whopper Stopper company (now owned by Pradco) and probably had their arm worn out from throwing the Hellbender – what a great bait that was. What originally made me stop, though, was the Bayou Boogie, a bait we’d today call a vibration bait, or Trap.

Upon further review of the ad something else caught my eye – the Dirtybird. Look at the Dirtybird close, though. Does it ring a bell in your head? Do patent suits come to mind? Does the name Chatterbait leap into your head? It should. [Read more…]

Season at a Glance: 1972 Bassmaster Trail – Part Two

This is Part Two of a three-part series on the 1972 Bassmaster Tournament Trail. To read Part One, click here.

After three events in the 1972 season, the race for the AOY was a dead heat between Roland Martin and Tom Mann, each with 100 points. Not only were Martin and Mann tied for first, but their lead of 34 points, was almost insurmountable for the rest of the field. Billy Westmorland, after three Top 30 finishes, was the closest with 66 points and Bill Dance, who’d finished in the Top 5 in the first two events, had fallen to fourth place with 65 points due to his poor showing at Ouachita. Glin Wells, with 64 points, rounded out the Top 5

The Top 24 at the midpoint of the year are shown below. [Read more…]

What Were They Thinking?

1976 Norman Redman Spinnerbait ad.

I posted something a few years back about my preference for a spinnerbait and still to this day, it hasn’t changed. Of course over the course of the last 30 years spinnerbait technologies have increased and now we have titanium wires and weight-distributed bodies. All this new stuff is great and serves a purpose but give me an old 1/4- to 1/2-ounce Norman Redman spinnerbait (red head of course) and I’m happy about 90% of the time.

[Read more…]

The Action Worm – Gimmick or the Real Deal?

Action Lures Breathing Worm ad from Western Bass Magazine, Fall 1976

The first time I came across the Action Lures’ Breathing Worm was around 1978. They were hanging on the wall at the shop I worked at – already having a number of birthdays there – collecting dust. They looked too gimmicky for me to lay down the $1.99 required to liberate them from their pegs, especially when my hard-earned $2.50/hr wage was generally spent on Bagley’s DB2s and Smitty hand pours.

Then one day an angler who I really respected came in and bought the entire stock. I asked him, what he was doing and he just smiled, paid the bill and left. [Read more…]