Let’s Look Back – Abe Schiller Part 3

Abe Schiller checks out some of the lures he's going to show the bass at Lake Mead.  When I fished with him while aboard the big Flamingo Hotel's cruiser back in the 1950s we rarely ran into other bass boats. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Abe Schiller checks out some of the lures he’s going to show the bass at Lake Mead. When I fished with him while aboard the big Flamingo Hotel’s cruiser back in the 1950s we rarely ran into other bass boats. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

Any time I take a look back at Las Vegas, Lake Mead and the earlier days of professional bass fishing it brings a mixture of memories – some good and some sad.

I expect many bass anglers will relate both Vegas and Lake Mead to the first Bassmasters Classic in 1971. I was there for that original Classic but my experience with both the city and the lake began well before that event took place. It’s also where some of that sadness I mentioned creeps into my memory.

I touched on some of that in my previous column. I told how I got my first look at Las Vegas in 1952. The beautiful Flamingo was then the only major hotel on what was to become the fabled Las Vegas Strip that we know today. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Jared the Jig Meister

Jim Jared on Lake Mead, site of his 1989 Invitational victory.

Jim Jared on Lake Mead, site of his 1989 Invitational victory.

Jim Jared of Dolan Springs, AZ has a reputation as one of the best jig sticks in the West. With a pair of BFL victories to his credit, along with 15 other Top-10s, he was always considered a threat to win local desert tourneys. And win he did, on one of the biggest stages of bass fishing when he took the top slot at the April 1989 B.A.S.S. Nevada Invitational held on Lake Mead. His 30 pounds of bass was enough to take home the $33,000 top prize, beating out a number of big name touring pros in the process. To win this week’s trivia contest, sponsored by Gary Yamamoto’s Custom Baits, answer the following 4 questions about Jim and that event. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Name That Angler Answer and Winner

Charlie Hartley as a smiling 12-year old with his 6-pounder from Lake Mead. Photo courtesy of Charley Hartley.

Charlie Hartley as a smiling 12-year old with his 6-pounder from Lake Mead. I wonder if he’s standing on his skateboard? Photo courtesy of Charley Hartley.

Congratulations to JWM for winning this week’s trivia contest! For the answers read below.

The angler pictured here was justifiably happy. It was his 12th birthday and he was at Lake Mead, Nevada. His father rented him a boat with a six-horsepower tiller outboard and he used a 6-inch Mann’s curly tailed worm (black with a chartreuse tail) to catch a six-pound largemouth. He couldn’t stop smiling.

This smiling, jean-shorted youth went on to be a smiling, non-jean-shorted tour-level pro.

In order to claim our weekly prize, you need to answer the following three questions: [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Name That Angler

Youth PicThe angler pictured here was justifiably happy. It was his 12th birthday and he was at Lake Mead, Nevada. His father rented him a boat with a six-horsepower tiller outboard and he used a 6-inch Mann’s curly tailed worm (black with a chartreuse tail) to catch a six-pound largemouth. He couldn’t stop smiling.

This smiling, jean-shorted youth went on to be a smiling, non-jean-shorted tour-level pro.

In order to claim our weekly prize, you need to answer the following three questions: [Read more…]

Bassin’ Across the Pond

Basser Magazine 1986 vol 5 no 2.

Most people are aware of Japan’s obsession with bass fishing and lure design. Japanese anglers such as Takahiro Omori, Norio Tanabe, Shin Fukae and Morizu Shimizu have come over and made an impact in the U.S. bass ranks and companies like Lucky Craft, Mega Bass and Yo-Zuri have changed the way anglers in the U.S. look at lures.

The interesting thing is very few Americans outside the west knew bass fishing even existed in Japan until the 1998 timeframe, when Seiji Kato fished the Bassmaster Western Invitational at Elephant Butte, NM and gave the winning bait – a Pointer-78 – to his second-day partner Dennis Hoy (see Scorecard Snapshot – Lure of the Rising Sun). [Read more…]

The U.S. Open 1981: An Event that Changed Bass Fishing – Part Three

Photo Western Bass Magazine Nov/Dec 1981.

This is part three of a three-part article on the first U.S. Open staged out of Lake Mead, NV in 1981. It was my pleasure to interview the inaugural U.S. Open winner Greg Hines about the event and the strategy he and Don Doty developed to take first and second place. To read part-one click here and to read part-two click here.

At the time there was no single tournament that offered a payout anywhere close to the Open. A typical payout for the time was $10,000 for first place with the purse dropping severely after that. At the Open, an angler could make a year’s wage or more by winning and more than double a typical winner’s purse by placing in second. [Read more…]

The U.S. Open 1981: An Event that Changed Bass Fishing – Part Two

Greg Hines holding $50,000 in cash on the third night of the 1981 U.S. Open. Photo Nov/Dec 1981 issue of Western Bass Magazine.

In Part One of this series we introduced the entrants of the event, talked a little about how it was a crap-shoot whether anyone would pay a $1,000 entry fee and finished by saying two anglers were spending copious amounts of time practicing for the event. Now we’ll look at the days leading up to the event along with the event itself.

 

Many months prior to the event it was quoted by a famous tournament organizer that, “There’s no way you’ll pull off a $1,000 entry tournament.” The naysayer couldn’t have been more wrong. Now the event had wheels – 161 of them to be exact – and there was no stopping the forward momentum.

An event of this magnitude, though, required a lot of planning and the folks at WBFA had their work cut out for them. The tournament would not only feature the main event itself, the tournament, but would also have a myriad of daily activities for the anglers’ wives and families. The event, as Vegas says, never slept. [Read more…]

The Writers – Bill Rice

Bill Rice hoisting a 12-02 Florida from San Diego’s Lower Otay Reservoir in 1971. Photo courtesy of Bill Rice.

Editor’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.

 

To kick off this series I turned to one of the most prolific writers in the history of the sport – Bill Rice. Although Bill may not be a household name to many of you east of the Continental Divide, talk to any bass angler in the west about Bill Rice and they’ll say, “He was there from the beginning.” In fact, Bill joined B.A.S.S. in 1968 and is one of the original 2500 Charter members.

After spending nearly 40 years in the industry, Rice retired in 2003 and now spends his time chasing fish all over the world.

This is a story of his lifelong contributions to the sport of bass fishing and his history. [Read more…]

The U.S. Open 1981: An Event that Changed Bass Fishing – Part One

The Press Guide from the 1981 U.S. Open. Courtesy of Bill Rice, long-time editor of Western Outdoor News and Western Bass.

This is part one of a three-part series on the first-ever U.S. Open hosted by Western Bass Fishing Association. The U.S. Open, at the time, had the largest payout ever for a bass tournament and drew anglers from all over the country. In this part, we’ll cover a bit of the history of what led up to the event along with an introduction of the anglers. I have to thank long-time editor of Western Outdoor News and Western Bass, Bill Rice, for the photos and for editing of this piece.

 

In 1981, competitive bass fishing was turned on its ear when Western Bass Fishing Association (WBFA) announced the plans to put on bass fishing’s highest-ever paying event at Lake Mead near Las Vegas, Nevada. Coined as the U.S. Open, the event had a $50,000 guaranteed first-place prize and over $180,000 in cash and prizes combined.

Numbers like these were unheard of at the time. The Bassmaster Classic, the biggest event in bass fishing at the time, was paying $40,000 to the winner and it wasn’t until 1983 when Bassmaster started the Super B.A.S.S. series of tournaments that the U.S. Open would be outdone from a winnings standpoint. [Read more…]