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…]

Unintensional Frankenstein – The Start of the Record Quest

Dave Zimmerlee poses with his California State Record largemouth bass and his rinky-dink rod and reel. Photo from the cover of Bass master magazine 1973 Sept/Oct Issue.

The bass fishing world was rocked on June 23, 1973, when southern California resident Dave Zimmerlee caught the first bass weighing more than 20 pounds since George Perry set the record 42 years earlier at Montgomery Lake, Ga.

Tiny 183-acre Lake Miramar yielded the then-California record. Weighing in at 20-15, the fish dwarfed the existing record of 17-14 caught by James Bates out of Lake Murray one year earlier.

In 1959, the California Department of Fish and Game joined forces with the Florida Fish and Wildlife to transport and release 20,000 Florida bass fingerlings into San Diego’s Upper Otay reservoir. Upper Otay would act as the brood pond for the Floridas which would then be transplanted into area lakes. The Floridas were chosen because they exhibited a growth rate almost twice as fast as their northern brethren and City Parks officials wanted a fish that would offer a sustainable population for its patrons.

Little did they know what would happen in the near future. [Read more…]