Mark Menendez – How He Started

Mark Menendez topped a field of 137 anglers in the LBL division on Lake Barkley in 1988. Photo September/October 1988 issue of Bass Fishing magazine.

Mark Menendez topped a field of 137 anglers in the LBL division on Lake Barkley in 1988. Photo September/October 1988 issue of Bass Fishing magazine.

In today’s video feature Mark Menendez talks about how he got his start in competitive bass fishing on the Operation Bass circuit. He remembers the two gentlemen that got him started, how his entry fees the first year were partially paid, practicing out of a 16-foot aluminum boat then jumping into another angler’s glass boat – an angler usually a lot older than him – and having to convince them he was on fish. [Read more…]

Lew Childre – More Forward Thinking

1975 Lew's Speed Guide Ad.

1975 Lew’s Speed Guide Ad.

We’ve talked about Lew Childre and the effect he had on bass fishing – fishing in general really – here on the Bass Fishing Archives many times before. The first piece we posted back in the first weeks of this venture was on his development of Speed Gears. Then in April, 2012 we posted a piece on his revolutionary reel, the Speed Spool. Finally in May, 2012 we posted a piece on his “Speed Merchant” custom rods that never made it but still made an impression on the industry.

Lew Childre left a lasting impression on the industry and we have him to thank nearly 40 years after he first came on the scene. Which brings us to today’s subject, the ceramic guide. [Read more…]

The Bantam 100

In 1978 Shimano Corp introduced the Bantam 100 casting reel - much to the chagrin of Lew Childre.

In 1978 Shimano Corp introduced the Bantam 100 casting reel – much to the chagrin of Lew Childre.

For the last 30-plus years you can’t talk about reels without the mention of Shimano. Shimano reels are known as some of the best designed and manufactured reels in the world. But back in the mid-70s, all they were really known for was bicycle gear and the fact their name was pressed into the side of the ever-famous Lew’s BB1 Speed Spool. Their entry into the fishing industry would change not only the face of angling but also the face of another reel company, Lew Childre and Sons.

In the early 70s tackle designer Lew Childre had already made his mark on the industry by developing a number of concepts and tools for the angler. He played a part in the development and marketing of ceramic guides and also changed the design of the heavy, not-so-sensitive pistol grip casting handle. [Read more…]

High-Speed – It’s all Relative

1973 ABU/Garcia ad for the ABU 5000. This was arguably the most popular reel ever made by any reel company. Note the small double handle. By the mid-70s, most anglers took this handle off and replaced it with a Gator Grip or BPS double handle.

1973 ABU/Garcia ad for the ABU 5000. This was arguably the most popular reel ever made by any reel company. Note the small double handle. By the mid-70s, most anglers took this handle off and replaced it with a Gator Grip or BPS double handle.

We’ve previously covered the Swedish reel manufacturer ABU with respect to their Cardinal series of reels marketed by Zebco in the late 60s through 80s. We’ve aso talked about their ever-famous 5000 series reels here a bit. But these ads I recently ran across really tell a lot about where we’ve come from and what anglers dealt with early in this bassin’ game.

The year is 1973 and nearly every hard-core bass angler is using the reels ABU made. Yeah, there were a few using reels made by Shakespeare and Pflueger (Lew Childre wouldn’t debut his BB1 Speed Spool for another couple years) but the vast majority were using the 5000 series of reels produced by ABU and marketed by Garcia. [Read more…]

Featuring the First Palming Plate and a Disengaging Level-Wind

Lew’s Speed Spool ad from 1977

If you saw the title phrase in a magazine reel advertisement today, you’d more than likely say, “So?” But, if you were reading that advertisement in say, 1976, you’d not only be intrigued but pumped by the fact that the company had taken steps to increase your casting distance and make the reel more ergonomic (I don’t even think the study of ergonomics was around in 1976) for the angler.

Up until the mid-70s, casting reels were heavy, featured the spool-tension knob on the sideplate opposing the handle (I could have said left sideplate but I wanted to respect you wrong-handed casters) and some, like the Ambassadeur 5000, didn’t even have bearings but brass bushings. At that time, the popular baitcasting manufacturers were Ambassadeur (ABU-Garcia), Diawa (the Millionaire series), Shakespeare and Pflueger with the most popular, in terms ruggedness and castability, being the first mentioned. [Read more…]