Season at a Glance: 1977 Bassmaster Trail – Part Five

Clunn Ray Scott win 218x300 Season at a Glance: 1977 Bassmaster Trail – Part Five

Not a “natural lake specialist,” Rick Clunn would fight his demons and end up winning the 1977 Bassmaster Classic on Florida’s Lake Toho despite the fact he had never weighed more than 13 pounds in any event held in the sunshine state. Photo from a Bagley’s ad in the Feruary 1978 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

[Editor’s Note: This is the final part of the five-part series on the 1977 Bassmaster tournament trail. To read the other parts, click on the appropriate link – part one (the first half of the season), part two (the second half of the season), part three (the Federation Championship), part four (the Classic Contenders).]

Since 1971 Bassmaster Trail anglers fished not only to win, but to qualify for what had become fishing’s biggest event of the year, the Bassmaster Classic. Through six events anglers would accumulate points in hopes of making the year-end event that, even at that time, was being billed as the Super Bowl of bass fishing.

In 1977 the rules stated that the top 24 anglers from the AOY race would be selected plus an additional angler from the Federation Championship. There was also another rule, one that actually brought the Classic contender list up to 26, that stated if an angler fished every event in the year and won one, he’d also qualify for the Classic. Dave Gliebe did such and was the 26th man invited. [Read more...]

Shaw Grigsby Jr. – Pro-on-Pro vs. Marshal

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Shaw Grigsby Jr. ICAST 2014. Photo Brenda Serrano.

When this whole competitive bass fishing deal started back in the late 60s, cheating and rigged tournaments were some of the biggest obstacles that Ray Scott faced. In order to alleviate those dark shadows, Scott decided on a tournament format where anglers would be paired together, different pairings for each day. This would not only significantly decrease the chances that two anglers would go into cahoots with each other but also provided policing from within.

For nearly 30 years after that first Beaver Lake event, pros would be paired with pros on the Bassmaster and other trails throughout the country. The format had its benefits but also had its downfalls. [Read more...]

Jay Yelas – From Cheeseballs to Classic Winner

Jay Yelas edited 1 300x261 Jay Yelas – From Cheeseballs to Classic Winner

Jay Yelas ICAST 2014. Photo Brenda Serrano.

Around the 1988 time frame I was still working at the tackle shop and going to college. Although I wasn’t fishing, I kept up on what was happening on the tournament scene from the anglers who came into the shop. What happened in ’88 seemed to be a changing of the guard. Long time western pros such as Don Iovino, Bobby Garland, Fred Ward and Larry Hopper had a new angler to contend with – a kid just out of college named Jay Yelas.

I vividly remember some of the local anglers coming into the shop who fished the Red Man circuit in the day – guys that knew “The River Lakes” like the back of their hand. They were donating entry fees to Yelas’ graduate studies – his field of study being professional bass fisherman. [Read more...]

Categorizing Crankbait Depths

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Bagley crankbaits, photo credit R. Yoder Graphics

The bassin’ world has seen its share of crankbait crazes, usually tied to an approximate depth range that a “hot” bait will run. For example, we seem to have recently come out of a shallow phase with the popularity of squarebills, and are now re-entering a deepwater phase with baits like the 6XD and 10XD, especially with “ledge events” being held during the summer. From a historical perspective, everybody surely remembers the ‘kneel and reel’ period made famous by Paul Elias, as well as the David Fritts deep crankbait era. Somewhere in there was the popularity of shallow runners such as the Mann’s 1-, or the Rat-L-Trap. Some lasted longer than others, but in each case, a series of events would make one style of bait the most popular way of cranking at the time. [Read more...]

Monday Trivia – The Buck Stops at Truman (June 16, 2014)

Truman parker 228x300 Monday Trivia – The Buck Stops at Truman (June 16, 2014)Just 11 months after winning the 1988 Missouri Invitational, Hank Parker won the 1989 Bassmaster Classic on the James River and effectively retired from life as a touring pro, competing in just seven subsequent B.A.S.S. events. Those seven events included the subsequent Classic and three “SuperStars” events, in which he twice finished as the runner-up.

Accordingly, the 1988 tournament on Truman Reservoir was the last of Parker’s regular season victories. Fittingly given his superstar profile, he won it by more than 12 pounds over his nearest competitor, home-state angler Stacey King. In fact, Parker could have won without getting out of bed on Day Three, which was lucky because he only boxed two fish on the final day. His limit weighing 19-15 on Day One would’ve carried him to a top 25 finish even if he’d skipped the second and third days. [Read more...]

American Angler’s Tackle Selection 1979

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American Angler also tried to get into the fishing tackle sales business in the 70s. They weren’t that successful.

Last Friday we ran a feature on The Outhouse, B.A.S.S.’s mail-order tackle shop, that was in business from the mid-‘70s through maybe the mid-‘80s. This week we’re going to cover another one of the magazine tackle shops, this time American Angler’s Selection.

By the late 70s, the success of Johnny Morris’ Bass Pro Shops was obvious – so obvious that nearly every magazine publisher in bass fishing was getting into the mail-order tackle business. John Fox’s American Angler was another of the organizations to open shop.

In each of their magazines of the day they had a four to five page section devoted to their shop with tackle for the season. The problem with American Angler’s tackle was they didn’t sell too many “name brand” manufacturers gear and when they did, it was generally the cheap stuff. [Read more...]