Don “The Doodle King” Iovino – An Era Ends

Don Iovino weighs one of the last fish of his 40-year tournament career at this year's WON Bass U.S. Open. Photo Don Iovino.

Don Iovino weighs one of the last fish of his 40-year tournament career at this year’s WON Bass U.S. Open. Photo Dan O’Sullivan.

The first time I met Don Iovino was in 1978 at a seminar at a tackle shop called Anglers West in Diamond Bar California – I was all of 14 years old and wanted to learn everything I could about bass fishing.

In those days you couldn’t open a Western Outdoor News, Western Bass magazine or SWAB periodical without seeing Iovino’s name within its confines. He was winning or placing high in nearly every event he entered and doing it in a most unorthodox manner – some new thing he’d developed called doodling. [Read more…]

Early SoCal – Lake Henshaw

Lake Henshaw article from the February/March 1974 issue of American Bass Fisherman.

Lake Henshaw article from the February/March 1974 issue of American Bass Fisherman.

Recently I was reading a February/March 1974 issue of American Bass Fisherman magazine and was surprised when I saw a couple of articles about the west. What surprised me about them was; 1) ABF – or better known as the American-Florida Bass Fisherman – was based out of Florida, a continent away from the fledgling California bass scene and 2) one of the articles was penned by BFA contributor Bill Rice, while the other was about a pretty obscure reservoir just north of San Diego. This piece is about that reservoir, Lake Henshaw. [Read more…]

American Bass Fisherman 1974

Cover of the February/March 1974 issue of American Bass Fisherman.

Cover of the February/March 1974 issue of American Bass Fisherman.

We’ve talked a little about American Bass Fisherman on here before, most recently last week when we talked about a picture of an ABF patch. In that piece we mentioned that the original owner of ABF, George Oates, started the circuit to compete against B.A.S.S., that he got in trouble with the law and in the end John Fox ended up with it before it went bust.

Today we have a little to show you what American Bass Fisherman was like through their February/March 1974 issue. [Read more…]

History in Photos – An Homage to Bill Murphy

Lunker Bill Murphy, 1972

Lunker Bill Murphy, 1972

A few weeks ago Brian started a piece here called “History in Photos.” Well, today I thought I’d give my part in that with a person who deserves all the words in the world – then some.  Here are some photos supplied by Bill Rice of Lunker Bill that I’m sure few have seen. Bill Rice, thanks for the photos and Lunker Bill, thank you for all you did for us. In these photos with Lunker Bill is his longtime partner Jim Patten. [Read more…]

Western Bass Volume 1 Number 1

The first issue of what would eventually become Western Bass magazine. Photo courtesy of Bill Rice.

The first issue of what would eventually become Western Bass magazine. Photo courtesy of Bill Rice.

For the early western bass angler, there was only one option to get up-to-date information on how to bass fish prior to 1973. That was by subscribing to Bassmaster Magazine. Of course you could subscribe to Sports Afield, Outdoor Life or Field and Stream but you had to wade through a lot of meaningless jibber having to do with hunting along with other species of fish.

Then in 1973 Western Bass Fishing Association filled a niche for the western angler by debuting the first western-centric bass journal called the Bassman’s Tournament Journal. In this newsprint publication they gave tournament results and some tips on how the best western pros of the day were catching their fish.

The photo here of Volume 1 Number 1 was provided by Bass Fishing Archives supporter Bill Rice and is the only photo I know that exists – let alone an actual copy of the paper. The text is difficult to make out at best but I was able to read the photo caption and transcribe it for you to read. It reads: [Read more…]

The Writers – George Kramer

George KramerEditor’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.

For those of you outside the West, the name George Kramer may not ring a bell. For those in the West, though, the name resonates – longtime writer, longtime supporter, longtime critic. He’s the guy that came up with the California Top 40 – a ranking system that gives credit to the West’s best bass anglers each year. [Read more…]

Florida-Strain Bass Changed the World of Bass Fishing

Photo Bassmaster Magazine Spring 1970. Article by Bill Rice.

Editor’s Note: Bill Rice has been writing about bass fishing since the mid-60s. Earlier this year we did a story on his career and today he offers up this account of how the Florida bass got their start in California and the ensuing race to catch  the world record largemouth bass. We hope you enjoy this historical look at how the Florida-strain largemouths got to California. To read about Bill’s life and career, please click here.

Few of today’s bass anglers know the history of “big bass” – which actually began thanks to the vision of a Californian, spurred on by an inquisitive pro baseball player.  That man was Orville Ball, fisheries biologist and head of the recreation program for the City of San Diego Recreation Department from the mid-50s until around 1969.  It was back in 1959 after a fishing trip with friends that Ball had the idea to experiment with the introduction of Florida-bred largemouth bass into the waters of Southern California. [Read more…]

Bass Club News via the May 1974 CLC

May 1974 California Lunker Club Magazine Bass Club Reports. Courtesy of Dave Coolidge.

I know this is really southern California-centric but I’m posting it for two reasons. One, I want to put out some old material for my friends in California and two, it’s a calling card for any of you readers who may have similar reports stashed away in your closet.

For those of you who reside in Cal (or lived there) and fished during those early years of competitive bass fishing, I hope you enjoy reading these club reports. Not many of these clubs exist today, if any, but I’m sure you’ll recognize a lot of the anglers, some of which are still competing. [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…]