Graphite Rods: An Industry Perspective – 1978

Testing a graphite rod circa 1978.

Testing a graphite rod circa 1978.

Over the last few years, we’ve done a few articles on the history of graphite rods – mostly based on Fenwick, the first company to utilize the material in production fishing rods. Fenwick first introduced their rods at the AFTMA show in 1973 and by early 1974 they were being marketed to anglers. In that first year rod costs were high, about $150 per rod, but worse yet, breakage was higher.

It was obvious the new space-age material was a winner, the problem was figuring out how to lay the material on a mandrel so its properties could be best exploited without breakage. [Read more…]

New Western Technique – Controlled Structure Fishing – Sure to Sweep the Country.

Dee Thomas and Frank Hauck after winning the Western Bass Association's Lake Nacimiento event in May 1974

Dee Thomas and Frank Hauck after winning the Western Bass Association’s Lake Nacimiento event in May 1974

May 19, 1974

Paso Robles, CA – A new technique, coined “Controlled Structure Fishing,” has been introduced and it’s been met with mixed reviews. The technique’s given the duo of Dee Thomas and Frank Hauck a trip to the winners circle in five out of the last seven events. Why has it been met with mixed reviews? Some may say it’s jealousy, others say it’s a banned form of tule dippin’. Whatever you say it is, it’s been mighty successful for Thomas and Hauck, and even though they had to adjust their equipment for the latest Western Bass Fishing Association’s event on Lake Nacimiento, they were able to pull off another win even after chopping 4-1/2 feet off their preferred Lew’s Hawger rods and flipping their boat halfway through the first day of the event.

[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…]

Season at a Glance: 1975 Bassmaster Trail – Part One

Photo Bassmaster Magazine March/April 1975 issue.

Photo Bassmaster Magazine March/April 1975 issue.

This is part one of a three-part series on the 1975 Bassmaster Tournament Trail. Part one will cover the first half of the tournament season, part two will cover the second half and part three will cover the 1975 Bassmaster Classic. There will also be sections on the 1975 Federation Championship and a lead-in article showing Classic contenders and their bios.

The 1975 Bassmaster Tournament Trail started off with a number of rules changes and introduced a new concept in tournament angling – fly-fishing tournaments. Although the horsepower race was already a concern, the ’75 season saw B.A.S.S. finally put into law horsepower restrictions on bass boats. The maximum horsepower allowed on any bass rig would be dictated by the new U.S. Coast Guard capacity plate issued with every boat. For those boats that didn’t have these plates, a restriction was placed on the boat depending on its length. [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…]

Flippin’: A Concept. Not Just a Technique – Part Three

Hank Parker flipping his way to a 1979 Classic Vistory. Photo BassMaster Magazine February 1980.

This is part three of a three-part series on the concept of flipping and the effect it had on the sport. In this final installment, we talked with Hank Parker and Denny Brauer about how th technique changed their careers. To read Part One click here and to read Part Two click here

Hank Parker

Although Hank Parker may not have designed a lure or piece of equipment having to do with flipping, he is arguably the angler who put the technique on the map for good.

Up until the ’79 Classic on Lake Texoma, flipping wasn’t much more than something serious anglers kept to themselves. Yes it had been the determining technique to win national events and had been written about in Bass Master Magazine – a six-part series in 1976 –still few anglers had adopted the long rod into their repertoire.

That all changed when Parker won the ’79 Classic – flipping had finally come of age. [Read more…]

Flippin’: A Concept. Not Just a Technique – Part Two

Dee Thomas congratulates Gary Klein on his first Bassmaster win at Lake Powell in 1979. Klein won the event flipping. Photo Bass Master Magazine July/August, 1979 Issue.

This is part two of a three-part series on the concept of flipping and the effect it had on the sport. In this installment, we talked with Gary Klein and Basil Bacon about their involvement with the early years of the technique. Click to read Part One and Part Three.


In part one of this piece, Dave Myers talked about the three factors that came together to form the concept of Flippin’. He also talked about how an angler could thoroughly pick apart a shoreline in half the time it’d take an angler using conventional methods.

For part two, I had the pleasure of interviewing two other anglers who took the ground rules developed by Thomas and added considerably to its foundation. Gary Klein and Basil Bacon both played pivotal roles in the progression of flipping and the way anglers approach shallow targets today

These two anglers not only helped flipping progress, they helped design new equipment, terminal tackle and baits to increase the effectiveness of the technique. [Read more…]

Flippin’: A Concept. Not Just a Technique – Part One

Although Thomas stopped fishing the Bass Master Trail in 1976, he continued to dominate the Western events. Here Thomas accepts the trophy for his win at Havasu in 1977.

This is part one of a three-part series on the concept of Flippin’ and the effect it had on the tournament fishing industry. Click to read Part Two and Part Three.


Although the first responses to Flippin’ weren’t too positive, it didn’t take long for anglers to realize its effectiveness. The technique was winning nearly all of the early tournaments in the west and even though anglers hated this form of tule dippin,’ what they didn’t realize was this form of fishing was way more than just a technique.

Yes Flippin’ is a technique in which to catch bass but, more so, it was a complete lure-presentation concept. The concept, once fully embraced, allowed the angler the utmost in lure control and speed.

In contemporary bass fishing, the phrase ‘power fishing’ means to cover a lot of water quickly, effectively, without any waste of motion while keeping the lure in the bass’ strike zone for the longest period of time. Flipping, and now-a-days pitching, defines this better than any other form of bass fishing. [Read more…]

The Birth of the Flippin’ Stik – Part Two

Dee Thomas wins the Bull Shoals Bass Master Invitational in 1975. Photo courtesy of Bassmaster.

This is the final part in the two-part series on the birth of the Flippin’ Stik.  Here Thomas and Dave Myers talk about the effort required to design and build the first Flippin’ Stiks. To read Part One click here.


After Thomas won the Western Bass Fishing Association’s San Antonio event, his normal way of fishing would change. But, in a fashion typical for Thomas, he was one step ahead of his competition.

“Because of all the flack we’d been getting for using the long rods, I’d already been experimenting with shorter Fenwick striper rods,” Thomas said. “Dave Myers, of Fenwick knew this and wanted to design a rod for me.” [Read more…]

The Birth of the Flippin’ Stik – Part One

Dee Thomas explains the concept of Flippin’ to Fenwick’s Dave Myers.

This is part one of a two-part series on the advent of the Flippin’ Stik. I had the pleasure of discussing the subject with Dee Thomas, the father of flipping, and Dave Myers, the brains behind the design of the blank. In this installment, Thomas talks about his first tournaments, how he felt he couldn’t compete and the eventual protests from fellow competitors surrounding the long rod. To read Part Two, click here.


Dee Thomas’ early tournament endeavors were met with mixed results and mixed reviews. Most tournament bass anglers at the time considered his use of 12-foot rods as ‘unsportsmanlike’ and ‘something only a meat hunter would use.’ The 12-foot rod wasn’t something ‘a serious tournament angler would even consider.’

[Read more…]