Happy Birthday to a Twenty Year Old Dieting Deep Diver

Twenty years ago one of the best crankbaits that has ever been developed was born - the Bomber Fat Free Shad.

Twenty years ago one of the best crankbaits that has ever been developed was born – the Bomber Fat Free Shad.

Looking through the old “New Tackle for…” issues of Bassmaster, it quickly becomes clear that few new lures survive the open market for even a couple of years, let alone two decades. Of those that do live to fish another day or another year, many take a long time to gather a meaningful following. In that respect, the Bomber Fat Free Shad is something of an anomaly, a lure that was popular almost from the start, due in no small part to good design, a solid pro-staff and more than a bit of on-the-water advertising. While many of us can still remember its introduction, this year it celebrates its 20th birthday.

In 1994, PRADCO introduced the Pro Autograph Series of hard lures – proven baits that each bore a particular pro’s name and his suggested modifications or special paint schemes. They included the following lures: [Read more…]

Why Perry? – Part Two

Fritz Friebel held the world record for largemouth bass from 1923 through 1933, if you go by the old records kept by Field and Stream. His fish weighed 20-pounds 2-ounces and was taken from Big Fish Lake in Florida. Photo courtesy of Ken Duke.

Fritz Friebel held the world record for largemouth bass from 1923 through 1933, if you go by the old records kept by Field and Stream. His fish weighed 20-pounds 2-ounces and was taken from Big Fish Lake in Florida. Photo courtesy of Ken Duke.

[Editor’s note: This is Part Two of a two-part series on an analysis of the world record largemouth bass. In the first part, Ken Duke looked into the George Perry record and brought up the fact there had been a larger fish caught, weighed and analyzed in the late 1800s. In this part, Ken looks into another two fish that had been placed in world record status, one in 1923 and another in 1933 — the later a year after Perry caught what eventually became the recognized world record. To read Part One, click here.]

The Friebel Bass

While not exactly a contender for world record status once Perry’s catch was certified, Fritz Friebel’s 20 pound, 2 ounce largemouth from Big Fish Lake in Florida on or about May 19, 1923 is important to the record story because it helped set the stage for Perry and established that records have the potential to deliver publicity. [Read more…]

Why Perry? – Part One

Although this isn't a picture of George Perry and his world record bass, it is a fish he submitted to Field and Stream for their annual contest in 1936. The fish was "reported" to be 13 pounds and Perry won the contest that year in the Black-Bass category. Using your judgement, do you feel this fish weighed anywhere close to 13 pounds or was it a typo - maybe 3 pounds? Photo courtesy of Ken Duke.

Although this isn’t a picture of George Perry and his world record bass, it is a fish he submitted to Field and Stream for their annual contest in 1934. The fish was “reported” to be 13-pounds 14 ounces and Perry won the contest that year in the Black-Bass category. Using your judgement, do you feel this fish weighed anywhere close to 13 pounds or was it a typo – maybe 3 pounds? Photo courtesy of Ken Duke.

[Editor’s note: The following is a two-part analysis of the history of the world record largemouth done by former Bassmaster Magazine editor and veritable bass fishing historian, Ken Duke. We welcome the piece with open arms as Ken is one of, if not the foremost authority on bass fishing and its long storied history. We thank Ken for this well thought out piece – one that uncovers a lot of questions that may have never been asked before.]

If you’re a bass angler and a history buff, you know the story of George Perry’s world record largemouth bass. You know that Perry caught his giant bass in 1932, and that he held the top spot in the record books until his mark was “tied” by Japan’s Manabu Kurita in 2009. You know that 22 pounds, 4 ounces is a magic number in our sport.

But did you know that the number might just as easily have been 23-2 or 24-0? Did you know that instead of chasing George Perry, we very nearly chased H.W. Ross or George J. Nicholls?

It’s easiest to start this story in the middle — in South Georgia during the depths of the Great Depression. [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…]

Let’s Look Back – Part 17

I treasure the opportunity I had to have Jason Lucas as a personal friend.  Evidence of that can be found in the many letters he sent me.  I'm holding some of them here.

I treasure the opportunity I had to have Jason Lucas as a personal friend. Evidence of that can be found in the many letters he sent me. I’m holding some of them here.

It didn’t surprise me all that much when I got a question about my comments regarding Jason Lucas that appeared in my last Let’s Look Back column.

I wasn’t surprised, I suppose, because it’s something I’ve heard several times before.  This time a reader’s comment went like this: “If Jason Lucas was a personal friend of yours you surely must have fished with him a few times.  Was he as good as his Sports Afield columns and articles made him out to be?”

Jason Lucas was indeed a personal friend.  What’s more and as I’ve already shared, I’ve got his letters to prove it.  Be that as it may, I never got to fish with him.

How come?  Because, you see, as far as I know Jason never fished with anybody.  He made that clear in his Sports Afield writing.  He had also made it clear to me before he and his wife ever joined my wife and me when he came to visit us when we were still living in Washington State. [Read more…]

Lucas On Bass Fishing – The Advertisement

You'll be hearing more from us about "Lucas on Bass Fishing."

You’ll be hearing more from us about “Lucas on Bass Fishing.”

One thing is certain if you do much writing for this site, and that is the fact that you pretty much have to have one big pile of material to search through. I prefer to think of it as having one heck of a nice library of fishing material, both books and magazines. As you saw on Wednesday with Terry’s post on the book “Lunkers Love Nightcrawlers,” we’ll be delving into quite a few book reviews on the site since combined, we probably own most all of the good ones that have been written. [Read more…]

A Record That Won’t Be Broken

Rip Nunnery gets help hoisting his 15-bass limit from Blake Honeycutt (L), Bill Dance (C) and Ray Scott (R). Photo Fall 1969 issue of Bassmaster Magazine. A signed copy of this picture can be seen at Bob's Fishing Tackle in Norwalk, CA along with the mounted stringer of fish.

Rip Nunnery gets help hoisting his 15-bass limit from Blake Honeycutt (L), Bill Dance (C) and Ray Scott (R). Photo Fall 1969 issue of Bassmaster Magazine. A signed copy of this picture can be seen at Bob’s Fishing Tackle in Norwalk, CA along with the mounted stringer of fish.

[Editor’s Note:  Ken Duke of Bassmaster.com wrote a fantastic article in August 2009 about Rip and his catch. To read his article, “World’s Greatest Fishing Hole,” click here. Also to read a second article on Rip, “Twig Pigs and Bush Hogs,” click here. I’d also like to thank Ken for bringing a couple of things to my attention. First, Rip’s real name is spelled with one ‘s’ (heck I just called him Rip) and two, he passed in 2007, not 2004. Thanks Ken for the heads-up!]

Everyone knows who holds the all-time one-day B.A.S.S. weight record. Dean Rojas, right? Dean had a magical day on Toho back in 2001 and brought five bass to the scales that weighed 45-02. Rojas also held the 4-day weight record (108-12) for a couple years until it was broken in 2007 by Steve Kennedy (122-14) and again by Paul Elias with an absolutely stupid mass of fish that weighed 132-08. Folks, that’s 20 fish that averaged 6.625 pounds each.

Yeah, those records are all cemented in our melons and we can spout them out like Rain Man at any moment we need. But who knows who holds the all-time one-day record for the original 15-fish limit and what it weighed? [Read more…]

BBM – Before Bassmaster Magazine

Cover Sports Afield Magazine May 1956.

Imagine life without bass-centric magazines, bass-centric websites or even your ability to peruse Facebook and YouTube for bass fishing information. Imagine the only place to glean information for bass fishing was your local liars club – i.e. the local Ma-and-Pa Tackle Shop – or a monthly periodical, such as Sports Afield, which may only have one piece related to bass fishing in an issue. Seems foreign, huh?

Well, that’s the way life was during the pre-Ray Scott age. There was no Bassmaster Magazine, no bass fishing websites and no YouTube to teach you the latest and greatest techniques on how to catch your favorite gamefish. All there was were three magazines – Sports Afield, Outdoor Life and Field and Stream – and they were dedicated to the outdoorsman in general. [Read more…]