Lonnie Stanley’s Sam Rayburn History

Famous lure designer and angler, Lonnie Stanley holds a Rayburn pig.

Famous lure designer and angler, Lonnie Stanley holds a Rayburn pig.

Sam Rayburn Reservoir, named for the Texas legislator who was the longest serving Speaker of the House in the history of the United States House of Representatives, was impounded in the mid-1950s, and opened “for business” in 1965. The lake was built for flood control and as a source of hydroelectric power, but it quickly became known for its bass fishing, drawing anglers from long distances who wanted to fish for fun, catch big fish, or participate in tournaments.

The piney woods of East Texas have been blessed with a great many quality tournament venues in addition to Rayburn, including Toledo Bend, Lake Livingston and Lake Conroe, and as a result the region has also produced a huge number of top tournament pros. In addition to the “Hemphill Gang” – which consisted of stars Larry Nixon, Tommy Martin, Harold Allen and John Torian, there were other shining stars including but not limited to David Wharton, Randy Dearman, Randy Fite, Bo Dowden (from across the border in Louisiana), and of course Rick Clunn. [Read more…]

How Stanley Jigs Was Born

Lonnie Stanley may not have invented the jig, but he sure made it and the spinnerbait much better baits.

Lonnie Stanley may not have invented the jig, but he sure made it and the spinnerbait much better baits.

The jig and pig is certainly not new to bass fishing. Jigs in various forms had been staples in anglers’ tackle boxes for generations before Bo Dowden won Bassmaster Classic X on the St. Lawrence River in upstate New York. Since that time, though, the simple combination of a hook, lead head, skirt and weedguard has been perpetually refined.

Lonnie Stanley, a two-time B.A.S.S. winner and five-time Classic qualifier, was one of the major players in those developments. He started Stanley Jigs in the early 1980s, and while he’s no longer the principal owner of the enterprise, he still works there nearly every day, designing new lures. [Read more…]

Catching Up With John Hale

John Hale hoists a big Texas bass.

John Hale hoists a big Texas bass.

Between 1989 and 2002, John Hale fished in 68 Bassmaster events. That time span is a bit deceiving, since all eight events after 1993 took place within a short drive of his Texas home – one on Lake Livingston, one on Toledo Bend and six of them on Sam Rayburn.

During the earlier portion of his career as a professional angler, he’d traveled more extensively fishing not only Invitationals, but also the Top 100 series (one of the forerunners of the modern day Elite Series) and he showed substantial prowess outside of his home region, finishing in the top 20 on 15 occasions. He finished in the top 10 six times, all of them on the east coast – twice in Florida, followed by two in Virginia, and capped off by two in Maryland. [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…]

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…]

Scorecard Snapshot – Back to Back, New Bait Answer and Winner

Photo Bassmaster.com

Congrats to Scott McGehee for winning this week’s trivia contest! Although he didn’t guess the extra credit question, he still walks away with a $20 e-coupon from Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits. For the answer, read below.

In 1996, Mike McClelland wasn’t the household name that he is in fishing circles today. He was, in the words of Bassmaster writer Tim Tucker, “better known as a 28-year-old wallpaper contractor than an aspiring bass pro fishing just his sixth B.A.S.S. event.”

He quickly established himself that year as a young pro to watch by winning back-to-back Central Invitationals.

The first came on the Arkansas River(out of Pine Bluff) in his home state that October. It was a brutally tough event – in a field of 330, 23 anglers, including stalwarts like Rick Clunn, Paul Elias and Lonnie Stanley, failed to bring a bass to the scales. It took just over 4 pounds a day to get a check. Meanwhile, McClelland weighed 25-02 to beat veteran Tommy Martin by 1 pound, 11 ounces. Martin would have won if he’d been able to weigh all of his fish, but he was 30 minutes late on Day One because he failed to lock back through in time. His 9-03 catch for that day was therefore erased. [Read more…]

Scorecard Snapshot – Back to Back, New Bait

Photo Bassmaster.com

In 1996, Mike McClelland wasn’t the household name that he is in fishing circles today. He was, in the words of Bassmaster writer Tim Tucker, “better known as a 28-year-old wallpaper contractor than an aspiring bass pro fishing just his sixth B.A.S.S. event.”

He quickly established himself that year as a young pro to watch by winning back-to-back Central Invitationals.

The first came on the Arkansas River (out of Pine Bluff) in his home state that October. It was a brutally tough event – in a field of 330, 23 anglers, including stalwarts like Rick Clunn, Paul Elias and Lonnie Stanley, failed to bring a bass to the scales. It took just over 4 pounds a day to get a check. Meanwhile, McClelland weighed 25-02 to beat veteran Tommy Martin by 1 pound, 11 ounces. Martin would have won if he’d been able to weigh all of his fish, but he was 30 minutes late on Day One because he failed to lock back through in time. His 9-03 catch for that day was therefore erased. [Read more…]