Monday Trivia – Laissez les bon temps roulez Answer and Winner (May 18, 2015)

Kenyon Hill. Photo Bassmaster.com.

Kenyon Hill. Photo Bassmaster.com.

Congratulations to Al H. for winning this week’s trivia contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits!  For the answer, read below.

As the son of renowned bass biologist and product inventor Loren Hill, Kenyon Hill may have been destined to pursue a career in tournament fishing. He fished his first B.A.S.S. event in December of 1986 at the age of 22, and since then has qualified for four Bassmaster Classics and has won three events. He continues to fish the Elite Series in 2015. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Laissez les bon temps roulez (May 18, 2015)

Kenyon Hill. Photo Bassmaster.com.

Kenyon Hill. Photo Bassmaster.com.

As the son of renowned bass biologist and product inventor Loren Hill, Kenyon Hill may have been destined to pursue a career in tournament fishing. He fished his first B.A.S.S. event in December of 1986 at the age of 22, and since then has qualified for four Bassmaster Classics and has won three events. He continues to fish the Elite Series in 2015. [Read more…]

Not so Bitter Anymore: The 1990 Golden Blend Championship

The cover of the January/February edition of Bass Fishing magazine, the publication of Operation Bass, had Jim Bitter front and center for his Golden Blend Championship win.

The cover of the January/February edition of Bass Fishing magazine, the publication of Operation Bass, had Jim Bitter front and center for his Golden Blend Championship win.

Back in November, we solicited information from readers about the history of the Operation Bass Golden Blend tournament series. We’d put together a basic outline of the circuit’s history, but we had little meat to put on those bones. Thanks to one of our great readers and supporters, Andy Williamson, we have a bit more to add.

In that original article, we mentioned Jim Bitter’s 1990 win on Lake Chickamauga. Specificially, we explained that “[t]he win marked a strong period in Bitter’s career, as he’d won MegaBucks IV on the Harris Chain two years earlier.” Left unsaid was the fact that it came on the heels of what is for many – fairly or unfairly – the defining moment of Bitter’s long career, his failure to win the 1989 Bassmaster Classic. As you may recall, Bitter had the winning fish in his hand, but when he went to re-measure it under the gaze of Tim Tucker’s camera, it slipped from his hand and back into the James River. Hank Parker ended up beating him by two ounces. Gone were not only the lasting glory of a Classic win, but also the $50,000 top prize. [Read more…]

The Bassmaster Classic – 1991 through 2000

Ken Cook hoists the 1991 Classic trophy for winning at the Chesapeake Bay, MD. Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

Ken Cook hoists the 1991 Classic trophy for winning at the Chesapeake Bay, MD. Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

By 1991 the Bassmaster Classic had become the event anglers aspired to win – weekend warriors through tour-level pros. The event had grown from a small gathering of anglers and media huddled together at the ramp in 1971 at Lake Mead, NV to sold-out stadiums in 1990. Although the event was centered around the anglers who qualified and the eventual winner, it grew into what we now know as Classic week filled with fan days, media events and one of if not the biggest public tackle shows in the world. [Read more…]

The Bassmaster Classic – 1981 through 1990

In 1981 Stanley Mitchell became the youngest angler to win a Bassmaster Classic. Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

In 1981 Stanley Mitchell became the youngest angler to win a Bassmaster Classic. Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

Yesterday we posted the first piece of this look back in Bassmaster Classic history – starting with the very first Classic held on Lake Mead, NV and ending with Classic X on the St. Lawrence River, NY. Today we continue with Classic XI and will move through Classic XX held in 1990.

1981: Bassmaster Classic XI – Lake Montgomery, AL

The second decade of the Bassmaster Classic started off in the hometown of B.A.S.S., Montgomery, AL. Forty-two anglers, including five from the Federation, would vie for the championship, including 21-year-old Stanley Mitchell of Fitzgerald, GA. Mitchell, the youngest angler to compete in Classic XI would not only claim that fact, he’d also become the youngest angler to ever win a Bassmaster Classic. [Read more…]

Pork: The Forgotten Bait – Part One

A Lutz Pork Ad from 1964. Lutz was one of three pork rind manufacturers from the early part of the 20th Century through the '60s, before anglers quit using the bait or Uncle Josh bought them out.

A Lutz Pork Ad from 1964. Lutz was one of three pork rind manufacturers from the early part of the 20th Century through the ’60s, before anglers quit using the bait or Uncle Josh bought them out.

[Editor’s note: This is a two part series on pork rind and its rise, fall and rise again, fall again pattern in bass fishing.]

Poll 100 bass anglers between the ages of 15 and 30 about pork rind and I’ll bet you get a lot of strange looks. Ask them if they’ve ever used it bass fishing and I bet you’ll get a 100-percent response of “no.” Then take a poll of anglers from 40 to 60 and ask the same question. I would be willing to bet a 100-count bag of Senkos they’d predominantly say “yes.” Then ask them when the last time they actually used it was.

I’d bet few have even had it in their boat for 20 years or more. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Guido Gitzem at the St. Johns Answer and Winner (Dec 22, 2014)

Kevin VanDam. Photo Bassmaster.com.

Kevin VanDam. Photo Bassmaster.com.

Merry Christmas and congratulations to Steve Q for winning this week’s trivia contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits! For the answers to this week’s contest, please read below. The next trivia contest will be posted January 5, 2015.

It’s hard to imagine that there was a time when a Kevin VanDam top-10 finish was anything other than a routine occurrence, but if you head back to 1991, the 22 year-old Michigan pro was just getting started and not quite yet a household name. Fishing his 8th B.A.S.S. event that February on Florida’s St. Johns River, Van Dam finished second to veteran Guido Hibdon, and just ahead of another legend, Roland Martin.

The 1991 Florida Invitational on the St. Johns marked VanDam’s best B.A.S.S. finish to that point, besting the 3rd-place finish he’d earned the prior September on New York’s St. Lawrence River[], a tournament in which he also fell one place behind Hibdon in the final standings. He “finally” earned his first bass victory in December of 1991 at Lake Lanier where he outlasted six former and future Classic winners in the top 10, including Denny Brauer (2nd), Rick Clunn (3rd), David Fritts (4th), Bob Hamilton Jr. (6th), Mark Davis (10th) and – you guessed it – Hibdon (7th). [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Guido Gitzem at the St. Johns (Dec 22, 2014)

Kevin VanDam. Photo Bassmaster.com.

Kevin VanDam. Photo Bassmaster.com.

It’s hard to imagine that there was a time when a Kevin VanDam top-10 finish was anything other than a routine occurrence, but if you head back to 1991, the 22 year-old Michigan pro was just getting started and not quite yet a household name. Fishing his 8th B.A.S.S. event that February on Florida’s St. Johns River, Van Dam finished second to veteran Guido Hibdon, and just ahead of another legend, Roland Martin.

The 1991 Florida Invitational on the St. Johns marked VanDam’s best B.A.S.S. finish to that point, besting the 3rd-place finish he’d earned the prior September on New York’s St. Lawrence River, a tournament in which he also fell one place behind Hibdon in the final standings. He “finally” earned his first bass victory in December of 1991 at Lake Lanier where he outlasted six former and future Classic winners in the top 10, including Denny Brauer (2nd), Rick Clunn (3rd), David Fritts (4th), Bob Hamilton Jr. (6th), Mark Davis (10th) and – you guessed it – Hibdon (7th). [Read more…]

Champion Bass Magazine

The premier issue fo Champion Bass, put out by the same publisher of Bass West magazine.

The premier issue fo Champion Bass, put out by the same publisher of Bass West magazine.

Champion BASS magazine is another one of the short-lived bass magazines that many of us hoped would serve as a long-term supplement to the efforts of stalwarts like Bassmaster and In-Fisherman.

Within this issue’s advertisements, founder Ray Crosby made it apparent that he intended this one for mature audiences only: “Due to the advanced information contained in Champion BASS, it is NOT recommended for beginning or amateur bass fishermen,” he wrote. He further stated that he would not cover tournament results or politics, just hard core tournament tactics. Toward that end, he assembled a team including Jay Yelas, Kevin VanDam, Gary Klein, Ken Cook, Shaw Grigsy, Guido Hibdon and David Fritts to serve as regular columnists on the topics of their expertise. Berkley’s Dr. Keith Jones also penned an article under the heading “Bass Biology.” [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Megabucks Two Answer and Winner (April 7, 2014)

Photo Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Photo Texas Parks and Wildlife.

We only had one person try to answer this week’s trivia contest and unfortunately one of the answers supplied was incorrect. Therefore, no one wins this week’s contest. Come on back next week and try again for a $25 e-coupon from Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits. For this weeks answers, read below.

Larry Nixon is generally thought of as the king of the Bassmaster “Megabucks” format. He won four Megabucks events, one in 1988 and one in 1991, sandwiched around two such victories in 1990. Two of those wins came on Florida’s Harris Chain of Lakes, but in the 1986 and 1987 hole course events on that same waterway Nixon did not come out on top.

Roger Farmer won the 1986 Megabucks event on the Harris Chain with 68 pounds of bass over four days to earn his lone B.A.S.S. win. In 1987, Lonnie Stanley claimed the Megabucks crown with Nixon finishing 21st before starting his Megabucks tear in 1988. [Read more…]

It Gitzit – The Genesis of the Tube

Garland Fat Gitzit ad from January 1982.

Garland Fat Gitzit ad from January 1982.

For those of you bass anglers that were west of Las Vegas, NV during the ‘70s, the name Bobby Garland will definitely bring back some memories. Garland’s Bass’N Man Lure Company was probably best known at the time as the company that developed the Spider Jig – the forerunner of what other companies would call Hula Jigs. But Garland didn’t only make the Spider Jig.

Garland, and his brother Gary, started out as crappie anglers and made the first dipped crappie jigs that I know of in the 1960s. They then bridged into making Mini Jigs, just bigger crappie jigs, and the Skinny Squid for bass. In fact, the Skinny Squid, a 5-inch long hollow worm, predated the Knight Tube Worm by at least five years.

Then came the Spider Jig. The skirt was a 3-inch piece of hollow plastic cut with razor blades to form the tentacles. This was then slipped on the Garland Spider Head along with a double tail trailer that Garland bought OEM from Mister Twister. The jig was developed as a swimming jig and was made primarily in shad-based hues in order to mimic baitfish – although he did offer the skirts and trailers in other colors. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Megabucks Two (April 7, 2014)

Photo Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Photo Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Larry Nixon is generally thought of as the king of the Bassmaster “Megabucks” format. He won four Megabucks events, one in 1988 and one in 1991, sandwiched around two such victories in 1990. Two of those wins came on Florida’s Harris Chain of Lakes, but in the 1986 and 1987 hole course events on that same waterway Nixon did not come out on top.

Roger Farmer won the 1986 Megabucks event on the Harris Chain with 68 pounds of bass over four days to earn his lone B.A.S.S. win. In 1987, Lonnie Stanley claimed the Megabucks crown with Nixon finishing 21st before starting his Megabucks tear in 1988. [Read more…]