Season at a Glance: Bassmaster Trail 1978 – Part Six

In 1978 Bobby Murray became the second angler to win two Bassmaster Classics. Photo by Stan Fagerstrom.

In 1978 Bobby Murray became the second angler to win two Bassmaster Classics. Photo by Stan Fagerstrom.

[Editor’s note: This is the final part of a six-part series on the 1978 Bassmaster Trail. Click the following links to read Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four and Part Five.]

In the last installment of Season at a Glace – 1978 Bassmaster Trail we went over the Classic VIII contestants. Today we’re looking back at Classic VIII, an event held on Mississippi’s Ross Barnett Reservoir – or “The Rez” as it’s known to locals.

B.A.S.S. had visited The Rez numerous times before and with good reason – the lake flat produced. But by 1978, the lake was in its mid-life crisis, and not only were keepers hard to come by, there weren’t many fish at all. Top that off with the fact that the lake was 2 1/2-feet low and this seemed to be a recipe for a Classic disaster. [Read more…]

Zorro 1977

1977 Zorro Ad.

1977 Zorro Ad.

Stan Sloan will forever hold the distinction of being the first angler to win a Ray Scott event – winning the first All-American held on Beaver Lake in 1967. Sloan could also claim another first, that being the man who designed the built the bait that won the first Bassmaster Classic in 1971 at Lake Mead, NV. Over the course of his professional bass fishing career, Sloan never fished a full year on the Bassmaster Trail. The closest he came to that was the 1973 season where he fished five events. Most years he only fished two or three events, yet he made the Classic the first five years in a row.

Aside from being one of the top anglers in the early history of competitive bass fishing, Sloan was also a corrections officer, but more importantly, he was a superb bait maker. His Zorro Aggravator spinnerbaits were some of the most-used spinnerbaits of the time – winning numerous events in the early years. [Read more…]

Season at a Glance: Bassmaster Trail 1978 – Part Five

1978 Bassmaster Classic Press Guide courtesy of Ken Duke.

1978 Bassmaster Classic Press Guide courtesy of Ken Duke.

[Editor’s note: This is Part Five of a six-part series on the 1978 Bassmaster Trail. Click the following links to read Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four.]

The 1978 Bassmaster Classic would feature the top-24 anglers from the Bassmaster Trail qualifiers plus one angler from the Federation. In years past, qualification was determined by a points system, 50 for 1st place, 49 for 2nd place, etc. This year, though, B.A.S.S. moved to a total weight system – one they’d use for a number of years thereafter.

In this installment of the 1978 Season at a Glance, we’re looking into the anglers who qualified for Classic VIII in the order of their Angler of the Year placement. Note that the data is taken from a 1978 Bassmaster Classic Media and Press guide provided by Ken Duke. [Read more…]

Fenwick – The Gold Standard of Rods

Early Fenwick HMG Graphite rod ad.

Early Fenwick HMG Graphite rod ad.

I would hate to venture how many rod companies are out there today – it seems every small town across America has at least one. I’m not knocking this surge in rod companies by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it’s actually opened up a lot of different rod building concepts and, which in turn have had a big impact on the way rods are made today.

Back in the 60s and 70s, though, that wasn’t the case. At that time you had Browning who made the Silaflex, the Garcia Conolon line of rods, Heddon (who would actually make custom rods to order, and a couple other players. Factory rods were just that, factory rods and not too impressive. Many of these companies offered their blanks to the numerous custom shops that dotted the United States and the serious angler generally went that rout instead of purchasing some off the shelf. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – The Last Class from the West Answer and Winner (February 9, 2015)

The July-August 2002 cover of Bass West magazine showing the four anglers who made the Bassmaster Classic from the Western Opens. Back row from left to right are Mike O'Shea and Aaron Martens. Kneeling in front are Luke Clausen and Jack Gadlage.

The July-August 2002 cover of Bass West magazine showing the four anglers who made the Bassmaster Classic from the Western Opens. Back row from left to right are Mike O’Shea and Aaron Martens. Kneeling in front are Luke Clausen and Jack Gadlage.

Congrats to Andy Williamson for winning this week’s trivia contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits! JKarbow also had the right answers but came in a little late on time. For the answers, please read below. 

As we prepare for the 2015 Bassmaster Classic this month, it’s easy to overlook how the landscape for professional anglers from the western United States has changed over the past few decades. The full-time pros in this year’s Classic field include Brett Hite (Arizona), Jared Lintner (California), Justin Lucas (Alabama, but originally from California), Aaron Martens (same as Lucas), James Niggemeyer (Texas, but originally from California), Brandon Palaniuk (Idaho), Clifford Pirch (Arizona), Dean Rojas (California) and Skeet Reese (California). While Brian Snowden is typically associated with the Ozarks region, he too cut his bass-fishing teeth in California. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – The Last Class from the West (February 9, 2015)

Bass West cover from the July-August 2002 issue.

Bass West cover from the July-August 2002 issue.

As we prepare for the 2015 Bassmaster Classic this month, it’s easy to overlook how the landscape for professional anglers from the western United States has changed over the past few decades. The full-time pros in this year’s Classic field include Brett Hite (Arizona), Jared Lintner (California), Justin Lucas (Alabama, but originally from California), Aaron Martens (same as Lucas), James Niggemeyer (Texas, but originally from California), Brandon Palaniuk (Idaho), Clifford Pirch (Arizona), Dean Rojas (California) and Skeet Reese (California). While Brian Snowden is typically associated with the Ozarks region, he too cut his bass-fishing teeth in California.

In the past, most western pros who wanted to make a run at the mostly-southeastern Bassmaster Tour moved to the east, like Gary Klein and Jay Yelas. There were a few holdouts, like Rich Tauber, Dave Gliebe, and Mike Folkestad, but they never approached the numbers that compete on the tours today. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Quit While You’re Ahead? Answer and Winner (Sept 29, 2014)

Robert Byrd weighs a stout fish in his only Bassmaster win in 1989. Photo July/August 1989 issue of Bassmaster Magazine. Gerald Crawford.

Robert Byrd weighs a stout fish in his only Bassmaster win in 1989. Photo July/August 1989 issue of Bassmaster Magazine. Gerald Crawford.

Unfortunately no one won this week’s trivia contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits. Duke Jenkle made a good effort and got 2 of 3 answers right. For the answer, please read below.

Twenty five years ago, professional bass fishing was well-enough established that there were full-time pros and those who aspired to be like them. But for one week in May of 1989 Robert Byrd made it look easy to come from nowhere and beat the best of the best. Well, it wasn’t quite out of nowhere. The 52 year-old Texas guide had a substantial knowledge base, but it was nevertheless impressive that he won the first B.A.S.S. event he entered, the Alabama Invitational on Lake Guntersville. Byrd caught 60 pounds 7 ounces of Guntersville bass over three days to beat runner-up Charlie Reed by over 6 pounds. The money line (50th place out of 325 contestants) was 37-07. [Read more…]

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.

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…]

Season at a Glance: 1977 Bassmaster Trail – Part Four

For the third time in his career, Bill Dance was the Bassmaster Angler of the Year in 1977.

For the third time in his career, Bill Dance was the Bassmaster Angler of the Year in 1977.

In the previous three parts of this series we covered the first half of the 1977 Bassmaster Trail, the second half of the trail and the Federation Championship. In Part Four we’re going to look at the Bassmaster Classic contenders, the 25 top anglers from the AOY race plus the Federation qualifier – Bill Stephens of Alabama.

Also of note, a misunderstanding was discovered in the 1977 February issue of Bassmaster Magazine – the Angler of the Year data we used for the last installment of this series. The Classic entry rules for 1977 stated they would be taking the top-24 anglers in the AOY race. Bassmaster printed the top-25 AOY standings and we took those to be the Classic contenders to include #25 Woo Daves. When looking at the Classic standings, though, we noticed that Dave Gliebe fished the event and not Woo Daves. [Read more…]

West vs. East

Western Legend Don Iovino graces the cover of the 1995 September/October issue of Bass West Magazine. 1995 was the first year of publication and this was Volume 1 Number 4.

Western Legend Don Iovino graces the cover of the 1995 September/October issue of Bass West Magazine. 1995 was the first year of publication and this was Volume 1 Number 4.

There’s always been a rivalry between the Western U.S. and the Eastern U.S. when it comes to bass fishing. It’s just a plain hard fact of the sport. Having grown up in the Western U.S. and lived there for nearly 50 years, I experienced it firsthand. It was like nothing “bass fishing” existed east of Oklahoma. Yeah, there were the freak fish caught by David Zimmerlee and Ray Easley in 1973 and 1981 and there was Dee Thomas, Gary Klein and Dave Gliebe who ventured back to the cradle of bass fishing and made names for themselves – but they too were freaks of sort – making an imprint on the scene with heavy line and big rods.

Talk to anyone in the East between the late 1970s and 1990s about Western bass fishing and I’m sure they would say one of two things: 1) They have bass in the West? or 2) They fish with sissy rods and 6-pound line. [Read more…]

The Whole Flippin’ Story

The Whole Flippin' Story as written in Fenwick's 1976 tri-fold pamphlet. Printed in the March/April 1978 issue of American Bass Fisherman. Page 1 of 5.

The Whole Flippin’ Story as written in Fenwick’s 1976 tri-fold pamphlet. Printed in the March/April 1978 issue of American Bass Fisherman. Page 1 of 5.

I will readily admit, I am a Dee Thomas groupie. I give all the credit to him for the flipping technique and concept, amidst the hate mails I get from others who say he didn’t invent it. I’ve taken a lot of time on this site to write pieces pertaining to the subject because I feel the whole story, although it’s been written and told over the years, hasn’t been told in a long time and needs to be consolidated in one place – preferably here at the Bass Fishing Archives.

On this site you’ve undoubtedly seen and hopefully read; Controlled Structure Fishing, Flippin’: A Concept 1, Flippin’: A Concept 2, Flippin’: A Concept 3, The Birth of the Flippin’ Stik 1 and The Birth of the Flippin’ Stik 2. As I said, we’ve devoted a lot of space here to the subject. [Read more…]

Season at a Glance: 1977 Bassmaster Trail – Part Two

Bill Dance wins his second Bassmaster AOY title in 1977. Photo 1978 February issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Bill Dance wins his second Bassmaster AOY title in 1977. Photo 1978 February issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

[Editor’s Note: This is Part Two of a five-part series on the 1977 Bassmaster Tournament Trail. Part One covered the first half of the regular season, Part Three will cover the BASS Chapter Federation Nationals, Part Four the Classic Qualifiers and Part Five the Bassmaster Classic. This part will cover the second half of the regular season.]

With the first half of the 1977 season in the books, Bill Dance had a commanding lead in the Angler of the Year points race, 59 points ahead of second-place angler Steve Goodwin. Also among the top 10 were Bassmaster stalwarts Roger Moore (3rd), Jimmy Houston (4th), Al Lindner (5th), Paul Chamblee (7th), Jack Hains (8th), Bill Ward (9th) and Larry Nixon (10th).

Relative newcomer and all-around top money winner for 1977 Dave Gliebe sat in the 11th position while veteram Ricky Green took up the 17th spot. On the bubble were two anglers you would expect more out of, Rick Clunn (22nd) and Roland Martin (23rd). Would they be able to make a charge in the second half of the season and qualify for the Bassmaster Classic? We’d have to wait and see. [Read more…]