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…]

The Lunker Hole Number 4

November/December 1970 issue of The Lunker Hole  magazine. The official magazine of the Bass Caster's Angling Society or what would be changed in 1971 to the Bass Caster's Association.

November/December 1970 issue of The Lunker Hole magazine. The official magazine of the Bass Caster’s Angling Society or what would be changed in 1971 to the Bass Caster’s Association. Notice the B.A.S.S. patch has been covered up with his name. Is this where FLW got their ideas to censor anglers?

Over the past week I was introduced to a new Facebook page called Mid-America Tournament Fishing History. Rick Pierce directed me to the page and what I saw really made my mouth water. There was a number of old magazine and news clips posted on the site from the defunct Mid-America Bass Fisherman’s Association, which operated in the 70s, along with a bunch of other pictures from various other organizations, such as the Bass Caster’s Association (BCA).

Just prior to being introduced to this new page, I happened to get in the mail two BCA magazines, one dated November/December 1970 (Number 4) and another from May/June 1971 (number 7). On the cover of Number 4 is Charlie Bumpas – who in his time fished five Bassmaster events between 1968 and 1970 and finished in the top 20 in each of them. [Read more…]

Season at a Glance: 1976 Bassmaster Trail Part Three

Rick Clunn wins his first of four Bassmaster Classic at the 1976 Bassmaster Classic at Lake Guntersville. Photo Cover February 1977 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Rick Clunn wins his first of four Bassmaster Classic at the 1976 Bassmaster Classic at Lake Guntersville. Photo Cover February 1977 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

[Editor’s Note: This is part 3 of a three-part series on the 1976 Bassmaster Trail season. To read Part 1 click here, to read Part 2 click here. To read about the 1976 Federation Chapter Championship, click here and to read about the Classic contenders, click here.]

Classic VI, as with all the prior five Bassmaster Classics, was a mystery lake and the venue wouldn’t be divulged until all participants were on the chartered DC-8 bound for the event. It was even stated in the Bassmaster Classic report that “even the pilot of the chartered jet didn’t know the final destination.” Once it was announced that Alabama’s Lake Guntersville would be the host of the ’76 event, the anglers began strategizing with maps provided by B.A.S.S. [Read more…]

Season at a Glance – The 1976 Bassmaster Classic Contenders

in 1976 Jimmy Houston wold win the Bassmaster AOY award in only his second full-time year on the Trail.  Photo 1976 Sept/Oct issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

in 1976 Jimmy Houston wold win the Bassmaster AOY award in only his second full-time year on the Trail. Photo 1976 Sept/Oct issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

[Editor’s Note: This is the fourth story on the 1975 Bassmaster Trail season. To read part one of the 1976 Season at a Glance click here, to read part two click here and to read about the Federation National event click here.]

The 1976 Bassmaster Classic and its contenders have a lot of interesting history packed into it. For one, there were four 5-time Classic contenders, one 4-time contenders, five 3-time contenders and seven 2-time contenders. To say the field was stacked would be an understatement. That’s 17 out of 25 anglers, or 68% of the 1976 Classic contenders had Classic experience.

As amazing it was for so many past-Classic anglers to qualify, it was just as amazing who didn’t qualify. For example, Roland Martin, who’d made every (5) Classic since its inception, missed qualification by 6 points and finished in the 26th spot. The other 5-time qualifier who didn’t make it was Tom Mann who finished in 38th place. [Read more…]

Season at a Glance: 1974 BASS Master Trail – Part Three

Anglers and fans gather at one of the Classic IV weigh-ins located at Joe Wheeler State Park. Photo February 1975 Issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Editor’s Note: This is the third part in a three-part series on the 1974 BASS Master Trail. Part one covered the first three tournaments of the season, while part two covered the three events. This part will cover the 1974 Classic. To read part one, click here and to read part two, click here.

 

The 1974 Bass Master season would end with 29 of the country’s best anglers vying for the coveted BASS Master Classic title. The Classic IV location would be another mystery-lake event, where anglers wouldn’t know the destination until they stepped on the plane. This time, the lake would be Wheeler Lake in Alabama, a short distance away from B.A.S.S. Headquarters in Montgomery. [Read more…]

1974 Bass Master Classic Preview – The Anglers

Before we go through the highlights of the ’74 Classic, I thought it would be good to introduce the anglers who made the Classic. In the February ’75 issue of Bassmaster Magazine, as was done in the January/February issue of ’74, B.A.S.S. not only gave the Classic report, the magazine also dedicated a substantial number of pages to the Classic qualifiers with respect to their bios. We’re going to go through these bios and touch on the anglers’ accomplishments up to this point in time. No byline was given but I assume it was Bob Cobb who penned the piece.

In this series of biographies, the anglers were asked two primary questions. The first question was, “how they tackle a new body of water,” and the second was, “what they thought of the new oxygen meters that were being sold.” We’ll go through the answers they provided to these questions along with giving a little more of their histories at this time. All photos from the February 1975 issue of Bassmaster Magazine. [Read more…]

1973 Bass Master Classic Preview – The Anglers

The January/February 1974 Issue of Bass Master Magazine not only had the tournament report for the ’73 Classic, it had a very in-depth look at the Classic contenders – the first time BASS Master had done this. Prior to Part Three of the 1973 Season at a Glance, I felt it best to publish this piece in order to give you more insight as to who fished and what they’d accomplished in the few short years B.A.S.S. had been around. Here are the anglers as they placed in AOY standings. All photos from the January/February 1974 Issue of BASS Master Magazine.

 

(1) Roland Martin (Tulsa, OK)

Roland for the third year in a row had taken the Bass Master AOY award. The only other angler at this time to have won an AOY was Bill Dance, who won it the first year it was inaugurated. Over the 72 and 73 seasons, Martin had been such a dominant player in the game that he’d beaten his opponents by more than a tournament’s worth of points by the end of the year. By this point he had also won seven titles and became only the third angler to win back-to-back events in a season.

His winnings had elevated him to the number-one spot in B.A.S.S. earnings ($36,235.20) and had placed in the money in 23 straight regular season events. All six of his finishes for the year were top-5 finishes. [Read more…]