Season at a Glance: 1974 BASS Master Trail – Part Two

Al Lindner winner of the 1974 Tennessee Invitational on Watts Bar. Photo Bassmaster Magazine July/August 1974.

Editor’s Note: In Part One of the 1974 Tournament Trail, there was an error at the end piece where we posted the top-30 anglers for the AOY race after three events. The table that was inadvertently put there was actually the AOY standings after two events – not three. The table has been corrected and now reflects the standings after three events.

In part one of this series we went through the first three events of the ’74 BASS Master tournament season. In this installment, we’ll go through the final three events and also present the anglers who qualified for the 1974 Classic. To read part one click here. [Read more…]

Klein Wins at Clear Lake

Gary Klein 1981. Photo Western Bass magazine 1981

Here’s one for ya. Everyone worth their weight in tungsten knows who Gary Klein is. He’s fished 390 tour-level tournaments (346 with BASS and 44 with FLW) since 1979 of which he’s placed in the money 270 times (235 with BASS and 35 with FLW). He’s won 8 Bassmaster events and two FLW Tour events, qualified for the Bass Master Classic 29 times and the Forrest Wood Cup each of the six years he fished FLW. He has 88 top-10 finishes (77 with BASS and 11 with FLW) and has won a ton of cash in the process.

Klein won his first BASS event at the Bass Master Arizona Invitational held on Lake Powell in 1979 at the age of 21 and nearly won BassMaster Angler of the year that same year – Roland Martin beat him out by a little under two pounds. [Read more…]

MO Sticks of the Past – Dwight Keefer

Dwight Keefer holding a nice largemouth. Photo Dwight Keefer.

The name Dwight Keefer may not be a household name amongst today’s fishing crowd but in the mid-60s and throughout the 1970s, the name was taken seriously amongst anyone who ventured into the realm of tournament fishing. Having won the Kansas Open Fishing Tournament in September 1967 gave him the opportunity to fish the 1967 World Series of Sport Fishing Championship held one month later in Wisconsin on Long Lake. Keefer ended up winning that event hands down – as a college sophomore.

After his wins, Keefer went on to finish college and become a sales rep for the Shakespeare Corporation – balancing competitive fishing with his sales job. In 1972 he fished two BASS events and qualified for the second BASS Master Classic held on Percy Priest Reservoir in Tennessee.

The following story is about Dwight Keefer, his early days of competitive fishing and his use of Midwest finesse tactics at a time when if you didn’t throw 20-pound string, you were considered a fool. [Read more…]

Season at a Glance: 1973 Bass Master Trail – Part Three

Rayo Breckenridge holds the 1973 Bass Master Classic trophy. I wonder if he went to the same tailor as Ricky Green? Photo: Cover photo Jan/Feb issue of Bass Master Magazine.

This is Part Three of the three-part series on the 1973 Bass Master Tournament Series. To read Part One click here, to read Part Two click here and to read the ’73 Classic Anglers’ Profiles click here.


The third Bass Master Classic was again another “mystery lake” in the annals of Bass Master Classics. In the previous two events, Ray Scott had waited for the chartered jet to reach 10,000 feet before announcing the destination to the Classic contenders. This flight, though, would be different.

Scott not only waited to tell the contestants, he waited until the flight was almost over and they were flying a circle above Clark’s Hill Reservoir before he made the announcement. Here’s out it went according to Bob Cobb in the January/February issue of Bass Master Magazine.

“We’re going to circle the lake in a minute, anyone see anything familiar? That’s Clark Hill Reservoir…..Junior Collis, we’ve brought you home.”

It was Collis’ first Classic and he’d recently won one of the toughest events in B.A.S.S. history in May at Lake Keowee. Now Scott was taking him to his home lake. He was an obvious favorite right from the start. [Read more…]

The Writers – Bill Rice

Bill Rice hoisting a 12-02 Florida from San Diego’s Lower Otay Reservoir in 1971. Photo courtesy of Bill Rice.

Editor’s Note:  This series is dedicated to those people who penned the many articles we read in order to learn more about our sport and become better anglers. Sure it was the anglers who developed the techniques, lures and equipment we use today but it was the writers’ job to make sure these bits of information got to the masses. Without the writers to communicate this, the world of bass fishing would be very different today.


To kick off this series I turned to one of the most prolific writers in the history of the sport – Bill Rice. Although Bill may not be a household name to many of you east of the Continental Divide, talk to any bass angler in the west about Bill Rice and they’ll say, “He was there from the beginning.” In fact, Bill joined B.A.S.S. in 1968 and is one of the original 2500 Charter members.

After spending nearly 40 years in the industry, Rice retired in 2003 and now spends his time chasing fish all over the world.

This is a story of his lifelong contributions to the sport of bass fishing and his history. [Read more…]

Bass Master Classic I – A Little Snow and a Broken Rebel

As many know, the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society was founded shortly after the 1967 Beaver Lake Invitational. By 1970, the organization had been around for three years and the newness was quickly wearing off and membership was slowing down. With the need to continue the growth of the “Society,” Ray (Scott) and Bob Cobb came up with the idea to hold what would be the world championship of bass fishing and hopefully get the press talking about B.A.S.S. The idea was to hold a tournament with only the best anglers taken from the year’s standings and have them fish for a winner-takes-all purse.

In order to add a bit of mystery to the event, it was decided that the event locale wouldn’t be divulged until the last minute, when all qualified anglers were held captive. There would also be members of the press invited to the event to not only write about it but to fish with the pros each day. [Read more…]

Season at a Glance: 1972 Bassmaster Trail – Part Three

Don Butler looks on as his winning string of fish is weighed. Photo Bassmaster Magazine Jan/Feb 1973 issue.

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

The 1972 season ended with Roland Martin placing fourth or higher in all six events of the season and walking away with the ’72 AOY award. All that was left for him to accomplish was to win the 2nd-annual Bass Master Classic.

Again the World Championship of bass fishing would be held at a “mystery lake” somewhere in the country and anglers would only be allowed 10 pounds of tackle.

The previous year’s event at Lake Mead, NV had provided a long flight from Atlanta, GA to the tournament locale for anglers to get in the mindset of fishing the Nevada desert’s stingy waters. This year, though, the anglers would only have a 30-minute flight to get a grasp on the location.

Here are some words, as written by Bob Cobb, from the Jan/Feb issue of Bass Master Magazine regarding the atmosphere on the plane.

“The announcement aboard a ‘mystery flight’ on American Airlines out of Memphis, was greeted with SHOCK! The fizz in the bubbly being served made a louder noise than the two dozen fishermen, who had dreams of a much longer fight than 30 minutes.”

Most anglers thought the event would again be held at some deep, clear western reservoir or maybe even a shallow Florida lake. Instead, Tennessee’s Percy Priest Reservoir was chosen and the five Tennessee locals present were instantly given top billing amongst their competitors.

Ray Scott remarked on why Percy Priest was chosen as the venue and here are his comments.

“We brought the Classic here because Nashville is here. This is the center of the bass fishing universe. More champions have been spawned on Tennessee waters (11 in 32 events) than any state. Last year, we held the Classic in the West. It was only natural that it be returned to this area this year.” [Read more…]

The First Drive-Through Bass Master Classic Weigh-In

[Editor’s Note: Since starting this site, I have been blessed by numerous people sending me ideas for articles about things that are relevant to the history of bass fishing. One of these people is none other than the first Bass Master Tournament Director, Harold Sharp. Harold, as you may well know, is an encyclopedia when it comes to the history of BASS (with or without periods) and all bass fishing. Harold has been an integral part of this site already, always there for me to bounce ideas off of or to proof an article before it gets published.

Recently after reading the series on the 1971 Bass Master Tournament Trail, Harold sent me an email documenting how the first drive-through weigh-in came about. Here are his words on that historic event.]

The first Bass Master Classics were all secret events where the anglers, media, no one knew the location. The boats were trucked to the event site, in the dead of night, so no one would be tipped off, and then were stored prior to the event. [Read more…]

The Tackle of the 1971 Bass Master Classic

Bobby Murray hoists a stringer from the 1971 Bass Master Classic. Photo Bass Master Magazine Jan/Feb 1972 Issue.

Being somewhat of a tackle buff, I found it very intriguing when I read about the tackle that Bobby Murray used and swore by at the time of the 1971 Bass Master Classic. While doing my research for the 1971 Season at a Glance series, I was reading about that year’s Classic and Bob Cobb had actually pinned down Bobby Murray to ask him his tackle preferences. For those of you who started bass fishing post 1990 the tackle may seem odd and crazy. But for those of you who actually fished in this era, this review will bring back some memories – some good and others that’ll make you scratch your head in bewilderment, how did we get away with that gear?

So, without further adieu, here’s what Murray considered his top gear of the time (1). [Read more…]