Classic Patches – 1981 through 1990

1981 Bassmaster Classic Patch.

1981 Bassmaster Classic Patch.

Back in early May we posted a piece about early Bassmaster Classic patches that Stan Fagerstrom had collected over the years – 23 years to be exact. In that first post we went through the first 10 years of Classic patches, 1971 through 1980. The post got a low of views and interest, especially from BFA contributor and supporter, Harold Sharp.

Harold was really interested in the first Classic patch – from Lake Mead 1971. In an email to me the day after the post, Harold asked where Stan had gotten that patch, because he doesn’t remember a patch ever being made and distributed to the anglers and writers. He had me ask Stan if he remembered how he came about the patch. I did so and Stan didn’t remember how he got it, just assuming he got it at the Classic like he had so many other patches over time. The mystery was on. [Read more…]

BFA Schedule Change

New BFA Logo GMFor the past 3-1/2 years we’ve been posting a new story every weekday that takes us back in the history of bass fishing. With the help of stellar writers such as Pete Robbins, Brian Waldman, Stan Fagerstrom and Harold Sharp, we’ve relived much of bass fishing’s history on a daily basis. We’ve taught a number of people some of the more obtuse history but more so, we’ve learned from our readers too.

Unfortunately, due to schedule, other commitments and responsibilities, we’re going to have to curtail that schedule to a minimum of once per week for the unforeseen future. You’ll see a post by me at least once per week and when Brian and/or Pete have the time or something interesting to share, they’ll provide content. Stan Fagerstrom has committed to continuing his look back on the sport he’s been involved with since 1946 (thanks Stan) in his monthly column, Let’s Look Back. So, at the minimum there will be one new post per week and possibly more. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Nixon up North Answer and Winner (June 8, 2015)

Nixon 1999 from fishingwithnixondotcom

Well, unfortunately no one won this week’s trivia contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits. For the answers, please read below. Come back next week for another shot.

From the start of his Bassmaster career in 1977 through his victory in the 1992 Bassmaster 25th Anniversary tournament on Beaver Lake, Larry Nixon won 13 tournaments, an average of nearly one a year. Included among that group of victories was his 1983 Classic win on the Ohio River and of course four Megabucks trophies. After that, however, he hit a dry spell.

Given Nixon’s incredibly high level of consistency over his career, there were of course some near misses:

  • He finished 2nd to Tommy Biffle at the 1993 Megabucks event on Lake Murray;
  • He finished 2nd to Davy Hite by 13 ounces at the 1996 Top 100 on Neely Henry; and
  • He finished 3rd at the 1999 Classic on the Louisiana Delta, trailing only Hite and the prior year’s champion, Denny Brauer.

[Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Nixon up North (June 8, 2015)

Nixon 1999 from fishingwithnixondotcomFrom the start of his Bassmaster career in 1977 through his victory in the 1992 Bassmaster 25th Anniversary tournament on Beaver Lake, Larry Nixon won 13 tournaments, an average of nearly one a year. Included among that group of victories was his 1983 Classic win on the Ohio River and of course four Megabucks trophies. After that, however, he hit a dry spell.

Given Nixon’s incredibly high level of consistency over his career, there were of course some near misses:

  • He finished 2nd to Tommy Biffle at the 1993 Megabucks event on Lake Murray;
  • He finished 2nd to Davy Hite by 13 ounces at the 1996 Top 100 on Neely Henry; and
  • He finished 3rd at the 1999 Classic on the Louisiana Delta, trailing only Hite and the prior year’s champion, Denny Brauer.

[Read more…]

Old Bass Boats – 1978 Part 4

1978 Ranger Combined 5For the past week we’ve been taking a trip down memory lane with respect to the main tool in any bass angler’s arsenal – the bass boat. Over the year we’ve covered bass boats from the ’50, ‘60s and the ‘70s. Today we’re going to finish with the boats of 1978.

So far we’ve covered everything from the 1978 list of bass boats from aluminum rigs such as Alumacraft, Dura Craft and Fisher Marine along with their glass counterparts, manufacturers like Bass Cat, Champion, Eldocraft, Hydra-Sport and MonArk. Today we finish with upstarts such as Omni and industry leader Ranger. In fact, the number of Ranger ads placed in 1978 is mind boggling. [Read more…]

Lonnie Stanley’s Sam Rayburn History

Famous lure designer and angler, Lonnie Stanley holds a Rayburn pig.

Famous lure designer and angler, Lonnie Stanley holds a Rayburn pig.

Sam Rayburn Reservoir, named for the Texas legislator who was the longest serving Speaker of the House in the history of the United States House of Representatives, was impounded in the mid-1950s, and opened “for business” in 1965. The lake was built for flood control and as a source of hydroelectric power, but it quickly became known for its bass fishing, drawing anglers from long distances who wanted to fish for fun, catch big fish, or participate in tournaments.

The piney woods of East Texas have been blessed with a great many quality tournament venues in addition to Rayburn, including Toledo Bend, Lake Livingston and Lake Conroe, and as a result the region has also produced a huge number of top tournament pros. In addition to the “Hemphill Gang” – which consisted of stars Larry Nixon, Tommy Martin, Harold Allen and John Torian, there were other shining stars including but not limited to David Wharton, Randy Dearman, Randy Fite, Bo Dowden (from across the border in Louisiana), and of course Rick Clunn. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Laissez les bon temps roulez Answer and Winner (May 18, 2015)

Kenyon Hill. Photo Bassmaster.com.

Kenyon Hill. Photo Bassmaster.com.

Congratulations to Al H. for winning this week’s trivia contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits!  For the answer, read below.

As the son of renowned bass biologist and product inventor Loren Hill, Kenyon Hill may have been destined to pursue a career in tournament fishing. He fished his first B.A.S.S. event in December of 1986 at the age of 22, and since then has qualified for four Bassmaster Classics and has won three events. He continues to fish the Elite Series in 2015. [Read more…]

John-Rude – 1946

Evinrude ad from 1946.

Evinrude ad from 1946.

A few weeks ago we posted a piece about the start of Mercury Motors in the early 40s. Today we have the two main competitors, or should I say Mercury’s competitors not only for the ‘40s but well through the turn of the century, Johnson and Evinrude.

For those of you who remember the Outboard Marine Company, or more commonly referred to as OMC, you remember that Johnson and Evinrude were both part of that conglomeration. But that wasn’t the case prior to 1936. In fact, both companies were competitors up until that time.

Ole Evinrude is credited by some to be the inventor of the outboard motor industry. In 1882, when he was five years old, his family emigrated from Norway to the U.S. and landed in Milwaukee, WI. By the time he was 25, he’d developed his first outboard motor – a 1.5 horsepower model that was introduced publicly in 1909. [Read more…]

Kiekhaefer’s Greek God

A 1946 Kiekhaefer Corporation Mercury ad.

A 1946 Kiekhaefer Corporation Mercury ad. Even in 1946 bikini-clad ladies were used to sell fishing-related equipment.

Back before there were Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki, there were three individual outboard motor companies that ruled the roost. From before World War II and after, these companies had the majority of the market share of all outboard sales, often sharing almost equal portions of it. Those companies were Mercury, Johnson and Evinrude. Today we’re going to look at the start of the black motor – Mercury.

Mercury outboards was technically started in the mid-‘30s under the name of Thor and built by Thorwald Company. Then in 1939 a man by the name of Carl Kiekhaefer took over the company, for reasons other than outboard motor manufacture. Although Thorwald Company’s main business was outboard motor production, the Kiekhaefers bought the company to change it into a magnetic separators manufacturer. [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…]

Let’s Look Back – Part 35

Two time Bass Classic winner Bobby Murray gets his share of fish on a Zara Spook.  And he didn't have to have quiet water to do it. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Two time Bass Classic winner Bobby Murray gets his share of fish on a Zara Spook. And he didn’t have to have quiet water to do it. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

America’s most popular sports fish doesn’t “always” do anything.

If you’ve read some of the millions of words I’ve written about largemouth bass over most of the past century you’ve undoubtedly seen me make that comment before. It’s my contention an angler can count on “usually” and “often” in their approach to this business of bass fishing. But stuff your “always” thinking where the sun don’t shine!

I’ve reached these sentiments after almost three quarters of a century of trying to put bass in the boat myself or watching and then writing about others trying to do the same. I hate to admit the number of times I’ve had things all figured out and then had those big mouthed buggers kick me and some of my bass fishing “facts” clear down to “Helen Gone’s” barn. [Read more…]