Season at a Glance: 1978 Bassmaster Trail – Part Three

Roland Martin wins his 5th AOY in 1978. Photo February 1979 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Roland Martin wins his 5th AOY in 1978. Photo February 1979 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

[Editor’s note: This is Part Three of a six-part series on the 1978 Bassmaster Trail. Click the following links to read Part One and Part Two. We’re sorry for the lack of a story yesterday – we were experiencing server problems and hope we got it figured out.]

By the beginning of May, the Bassmaster Trail was half way through the 1978 season with three Classic qualifiers completed along with the Bass Champs event. By that point the Bassmaster Angler of the Year race was getting pretty heated with Californian Dave Gliebe in the lead by 10 ounces followed by Jerry Rhyne. The top 10 was fairly stacked with anglers such as; Roland Martin (3rd), Larry Nixon (5th), Tom Mann (6th), Bobby Murray (7th) Rick Clunn (8th). See the table below for the entire top 40 in the 1978 AOY race. [Read more…]

Smallmouth Magazine – Volume 2 Issue 2

Photo Smallmouth Newsletter Vol 2 Issue 2, Feb 1986.

Photo Smallmouth Newsletter Vol 2 Issue 2, Feb 1986.

We’re back to Smallmouth Magazine – this time Volume 2 Issue 2 from February, 1986. This issue was the first where Billy Westmorland hadn’t penned an article for the newsletter, now in its sophomore year. In fact, the newsletter only had three feature articles in it, one from Harry n Charlie legend, Don Wirth, a second from columnist Frank Brooks and a third by Greg Matthews (a Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine reprint).

The Wirth article, a piece on where to go for trophy smallmouths, covered a number of Tennessee waters from the time that were producing smallies that broke the mystical 5-pound range – equivalent to the 10-pound mark for largemouth – Dale Hollow, Percy Priest and Woods Reservoir. Back then these waters were hard to beat – today you rarely hear of them producing big fish. [Read more…]

Season at a Glance: 1978 Bassmaster Trail – Part One

Some of the headlines from 1978 concerning the new 14-inch rule that B.A.S.S. imposed. From Bassmaster Magazine.

Some of the headlines from 1978 concerning the new 14-inch rule that B.A.S.S. imposed. From Bassmaster Magazine.

[Editor’s note: This is Part One of a six-part series on the 1978 Bassmaster Trail. Over the course of the next two weeks we’ll cover the 1978 season, the Classic qualifiers and the 1978 Bassmaster Classic.]

The 1978 Bassmaster Trail season would be one to go down in tournament fishing history. First off, between the end of the ’77 season and the start of the ’78 season, B.A.S.S. president Ray Scott decided to increase the length requirement for legal tournament bass from 12 inches to 14 inches. This new rule threw a wrench into the game that many of the top pros didn’t like. Here’s what some of them had to say: [Read more…]

Smallmouth Magazine – Volume 2 Issue 1

Smallmouth Newsletter Volume 2 Issue 1, January, 1986, cover page.

Smallmouth Newsletter Volume 2 Issue 1, January, 1986, cover page.

It’s been a few weeks since we put out a piece looking back at the old issues of Tom Rodgers’ Smallmouth Newsletter. The last time we wrote, we finished the first year’s 12th issue (December, 1985). Now we’re on to the second year, volume 2.

The newsletter increased in size from ’85 to ’86 – now going to a full six pages or more for each issue and in some cases eight pages. Over the course of the next few months, you’ll also notice a few new names had been added to the list of authors. [Read more…]

Smallmouth Magazine – Volume 1 Issue 12

Marketed by Uncle Josh for a few years, the Spinrite was originally manufactured by the Pedigo Lure Company. Just two weeks ago, the Pedigo Lure Company was resurrected and now offers the original Spinrite. I bet Billy would be proud.

Marketed by Uncle Josh for a few years, the Spinrite was originally manufactured by the Pedigo Lure Company. Just two weeks ago, the Pedigo Lure Company was resurrected and now offers the original Spinrite. I bet Billy would be proud.

We’re back at Smallmouth Magazine, this time with the final issue of the inaugural year 1985. After this segment, we’re going to take a break from Smallmouth Magazine for a couple weeks in order to get some other things published and then we’ll pick right back up with Volume 2.

In this issue, from December, 1985, we have the usual cast of Smallmouth contributors, Tom Rodger, Billy Westmorland and Tom Zenanko. But there’s also another well-known writer/angling guru by the name of Rich Zaleski who made his Smallmouth debut in this issue. We’ll talk a little about that later.

The magazine starts off with Tom Rodgers, publisher and president of Smallmouth, talking about their first year and what a success it was. What kind of got me about the piece was on two different fronts. First off I was amazed the membership fee was $29.95 per year for 1985. That’s a lot of Hoss Flies for a predominantly four-page newsletter. It was nice that Rodgers got enough sponsor support that he could lower the membership fees for 1986 down to $19.95. [Read more…]

Smallmouth Magazine – Volume 1 Issue 11

J. C. Reel and partner pose with seven smallies from Watts Bar that weighed over 36 pounds. November issue of Smallmouth Newsletter.

J. C. Reel and partner pose with seven smallies from Watts Bar that weighed over 36 pounds. November issue of Smallmouth Newsletter.

Continuing on with the first year of the Smallmouth Newsletters, today we’re talking about Volume I Issue 11, published for November, 1985. This issue starts out with a great piece by the late Billy Westmorland on how to catch smallies in November. As usual, Westmorland gives some great advice on the techniques he uses for late fall/early winter smallmouths – but it seems a little dated for today’s standards. Yes, smallmouths will always be caught on small baits but that myth has been over-shadowed in the last 10 years as anglers move to bigger and bigger baits for smallies – including swimbaits. Still this opening piece offers a lot of great suggestions with respect to fish movement and areas to look for. [Read more…]

Smallmouth Magazine – Volume 1 Issue 10

Don Wirth hold a nice smallie fishing the Do-Nothin' technique. Photo Smallmouth Newsletter Volume I Issue X October 1985.

Don Wirth hold a nice smallie fishing the Do-Nothin’ technique. Photo Smallmouth Newsletter Volume I Issue X October 1985.

The October issue of Smallmouth Newsletter went back to the original four-page layout of most of the other 1985 issues but this one was jam packed with some really good pieces. For one, the newsletter starts out with an article by Tom Zenanko on targeting Autumn smallies. A good overall piece that would give the would-be smallie angler a good idea what to expect when chasing the brown fish as the weather turned cooler.

The second page, though, had a really good piece by Bassmaster writer and Harry-n-Charlie legend, Don Wirth. Wirth wrote about using Bassmaster Classic winner Jack Chancellor’s Do-Nothin’ technique to wrangle smallies. In typical Wirth fashion, the article has a couple of good one-liners but most of all, it’s filled with great tips on how to fish the rig for smallmouths. [Read more…]

Smallmouth Magazine – Volume 1 Issue 9

Smallmouth Volume I Issue IX[Editor’s note: Monday Trivia won’t return until next Monday January 5, 2015 in observance of the Holiday season. In its place we bring you a continuation of the Smallmouth Newsletters from 1985]

The September, 1985 issue of Smallmouth was a full six pages filled with a lot of good content and hardly any advertisements. In fact, advertisements to date had been limited to a half column ad for companies such as Kunnan Rods, Fish Formula and Bass Hunter Lures.

Issue 9 starts off with a piece by Al Smith on fly rod smallmouth. It’s a good article on what is needed to target the brown fish in small, rarely fished streams. It’s another example of how Tom Rodgers was trying to get everyone involved with bass fishing, fly rodders included. [Read more…]

Smallmouth Magazine – Volume 1 Issue 8

David L. Hayes poses with his world record smallmouth bass. Smallmouth Newsletter Volume I Issue VIII August 1985.

David L. Hayes poses with his world record smallmouth bass. Smallmouth Newsletter Volume I Issue VIII August 1985.

In August 1985, Tom Rodger’s Smallmouth Newsletter continued as a four-page monthly with Billy Westmorland opening up the issue with some night-time tips on catching smallies in the hottest month of the year. The article itself is short but full of the best information from the time – but some of his suggestions now seem a bit dated. For example, his comments about spinnerbaits not being a good choice for daytime smallmouth fishing seems a bit crazy. Westmorland, who was a proponent of small lures for smallies, didn’t seem too confident in bigger baits – and who was to argue with Mr. Smallmouth? I just wonder if he’d lived longer whether or not he’d have changed his mind. [Read more…]

Smallmouth Magazine – Volume 1 Issue 7

Smallmouth Magazine Newsletter, Volume 1 Issue 7, July 1985 cover page.

Smallmouth Magazine Newsletter, Volume 1 Issue 7, July 1985 cover page.

Today we continue looking at the first year of Smallmouth, this time volume 1 issue 6. It’s a cool issue in that on the front cover, long-time bass fishing writer Darl Black has a feature on Lake Erie smallmouth fishing. Black gives a complete synopsis on the fishery and it’s really interesting to compare to the Lake Erie fishery we have today. For example, gone are the hordes of pelagic smallmouth that used to feed on the schooling herring in 40, 50 and even 60 feet of water. If you’re a Lake Erie enthusiast, it’s a great article to read. [Read more…]

Smallmouth Magazine – Volume 1 Issue 6

Smallmouth Newsletter Volume I Issue VI, June, 1985 Cover page.

Smallmouth Newsletter Volume I Issue VI, June, 1985 Cover page.

Carrying on with Smallmouth Magazine, courtesy of Mark Blahut, today we bring you Volume 1 Issue 6 published in June, 1985. Again, as with the May issue, this one has a bonus insert – obviously subscriptions and advertisers were starting to grow.

The newsletter starts off with Billy Westmorland giving more tips on tackle, this time rods and reels and a little bit on line. Brook Elliott gives a short piece about Michigan float trips offered by guide Grant Schliewe. The price of the 8-hour float trips, $125, really hammers home that this was from 1985. [Read more…]

Smallmouth Magazine – Volume I Number 5

Smallmouth Vol I Issue VIt’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve posted a piece on the early issues of Smallmouth so let’s get back to it. In this installment, we’re going to look at issue number five of the inaugural year, which came out in May. 1985.

This issue was the standard four-page newsletter as with previous issues but also came with a bonus page titled Smallmouth Fishing Forecast. Written by Bob Gooch, the article was more of a “State of the Smallmouth” address regarding fisheries throughout North America for 1985. It’s an interesting look back at what were the best smallmouth fisheries at the time. [Read more…]