Your Legacy Will Live On Harold

Harold Sharp B.A.S.S. Tournament Director 1970 to 1986.

Harold Sharp B.A.S.S. Tournament Director 1970 to 1986.

Without fail, it seems every year one of bass fishing’s forefathers passes to the great lake in the sky and the sport is left with a gaping hole. In 2012 we lost Homer Circle and in 2013, Doug Hannon. In January of this year we lost lure giant Cotton Cordell and I was hoping that would be it – there just aren’t many of the old-timers left – and from my selfish perspective, they have so much to offer with respect to the history of our beloved sport.

Then last week, we lost a man who helped change the sport of bass fishing to make it what it is today. That man was Harold Sharp. Yes, Ray Scott gets the credit for starting the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society – that fact will never be argued. And, Ray started the sport the right way, by making sure there was a firm set of rules and that every angler adhered to them. But it was Harold Sharp who, along with Ray Scott, wrote the B.A.S.S. rules, regulations and bylaws, started the B.A.S.S. Chapter (what would eventually become The Federation/Nation) and started the Chattanooga Bass Club – all in the same night. (if you’d like to read the story, click on this link from one of Harold’s columns back from March, 2013) [Read more…]

Let’s Look Back – Tackle Industry Friends Part 1

I didn't have any white in my whiskers when I first started corresponding with Homer Circle way back in the middle of the last century.  Over the years he was to become one of my closest friends.  Homer was working for the Heddon Tackle Company when our friendship first developed. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

I didn’t have any white in my whiskers when I first started corresponding with Homer Circle way back in the middle of the last century. Over the years he was to become one of my closest friends. Homer was working for the Heddon Tackle Company when our friendship first developed. Photo Stan Fagerstrom.

[Editor’s Note: Due to unforseen circumstances, we have not been able to post any stories for the better part of three months.  With this, we will be running two of Stan’s posts from August and September today and tomorrow in order to try and play catch-up with his column. We will also try and get back to posting on a more-regular basis.  We apologize for the lack of articles but the day job had severely hindered the time needed to provide meaningful pieces.]

There’s been a heap of change in this business of marketing baits designed to put bass in the boat since I did my first writing about it.

It was way back in the middle of the last century when I turned out my first fishing columns for a daily newspaper. The exact year was 1946. The way I went about getting details on new products I wanted to write about back in those early days provides one of glaring aspects of the changes I’m talking about.

And even more important, as far as I’m concerned, is how the tackle industry in those early days put me in touch with some lifetime friends. Some of those friends were instrumental in opening doors that led to me eventually having experiences I’d previously not even dreamed about having. [Read more…]

Zorro 1977

1977 Zorro Ad.

1977 Zorro Ad.

Stan Sloan will forever hold the distinction of being the first angler to win a Ray Scott event – winning the first All-American held on Beaver Lake in 1967. Sloan could also claim another first, that being the man who designed the built the bait that won the first Bassmaster Classic in 1971 at Lake Mead, NV. Over the course of his professional bass fishing career, Sloan never fished a full year on the Bassmaster Trail. The closest he came to that was the 1973 season where he fished five events. Most years he only fished two or three events, yet he made the Classic the first five years in a row.

Aside from being one of the top anglers in the early history of competitive bass fishing, Sloan was also a corrections officer, but more importantly, he was a superb bait maker. His Zorro Aggravator spinnerbaits were some of the most-used spinnerbaits of the time – winning numerous events in the early years. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – The First Megabucks (Answers & Winner; April 27, 2015)

Roger Farmer Classic photo

Roger Farmer Classic photo

Congrats to Al H. for winning this week’s trivia contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto’s Custom Baits. For full details on the winning answers, read below. 

In 1986, Ray Scott held a tournament that had the potential to change the way people could watch fishing tournaments, adding spectators into the mix. Billed as “Megabucks”, this April event on the Harris Chain Of Lakes, FL, had a $2,200 entry fee, and the promise of three-quarter million dollars in cash and prizes with the winner netting $101,000. Starting with over 200 anglers willing to shell out that kind of money, anglers competed for 3 days in typical format style to whittle the field down to the Top 10 anglers overall. From there, they would move to a smaller venue for the final two days, the lake sectioned off into “holes,” with each angler getting a chance to fish each hole, rotating throughout the day. Along with the format uniqueness, spectators were able to take up positions along the shorelines, roads and bridges of the final course to watch anglers compete, similar to the way spectators get to watch golfers play from hole to hole. Local news reports put the total number of spectators at roughly 3,000 for this first event, and the finals were covered for later television coverage on the Nashville Network (TNN).

Roger Farmer of Dalton, GA won that initial event with 68-00 pounds of bass, his only win on tour despite fishing more than 100 events and 4 Classics during his career. To win this week’s trivia contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits, you’ll have to answer the following 4 questions about the winner. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – The First Megabucks

Roger Farmer Classic photo

Roger Farmer Classic photo

In 1986, Ray Scott held a tournament that had the potential to change the way people would watch fishing tournaments, adding spectators into the mix. Billed as “Megabucks,” this April event on the Harris Chain Of Lakes, FL, had a $2,200 entry fee, and the promise of three-quarter million dollars in cash and prizes with the winner netting $101,000.

Starting with over 200 anglers willing to shell out that kind of money, anglers competed for 3 days in typical format style to whittle the field down to the Top 10 anglers overall. From there, they would move to a smaller venue for the final two days, the lake sectioned off into “holes,” with each angler getting a chance to fish each hole, rotating throughout the day. Along with the format uniqueness, spectators were able to take up positions along the shorelines, roads and bridges of the final course to watch anglers compete, similar to the way spectators get to watch golfers play from hole to hole. Local news reports put the total number of spectators at roughly 3,000 for this first event, and the finals were covered for later television coverage on the Nashville Network (TNN). [Read more…]

Season at a Glance: 1978 Bassmaster Trail – Part Three

Roland Martin wins his 5th AOY in 1978. Photo February 1979 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Roland Martin wins his 5th AOY in 1978. Photo February 1979 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

[Editor’s note: This is Part Three of a six-part series on the 1978 Bassmaster Trail. Click the following links to read Part One and Part Two. We’re sorry for the lack of a story yesterday – we were experiencing server problems and hope we got it figured out.]

By the beginning of May, the Bassmaster Trail was half way through the 1978 season with three Classic qualifiers completed along with the Bass Champs event. By that point the Bassmaster Angler of the Year race was getting pretty heated with Californian Dave Gliebe in the lead by 10 ounces followed by Jerry Rhyne. The top 10 was fairly stacked with anglers such as; Roland Martin (3rd), Larry Nixon (5th), Tom Mann (6th), Bobby Murray (7th) Rick Clunn (8th). See the table below for the entire top 40 in the 1978 AOY race. [Read more…]

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…]

Season at a Glance: 1978 Bassmaster Trail – Part One

Some of the headlines from 1978 concerning the new 14-inch rule that B.A.S.S. imposed. From Bassmaster Magazine.

Some of the headlines from 1978 concerning the new 14-inch rule that B.A.S.S. imposed. From Bassmaster Magazine.

[Editor’s note: This is Part One of a six-part series on the 1978 Bassmaster Trail. Over the course of the next two weeks we’ll cover the 1978 season, the Classic qualifiers and the 1978 Bassmaster Classic.]

The 1978 Bassmaster Trail season would be one to go down in tournament fishing history. First off, between the end of the ’77 season and the start of the ’78 season, B.A.S.S. president Ray Scott decided to increase the length requirement for legal tournament bass from 12 inches to 14 inches. This new rule threw a wrench into the game that many of the top pros didn’t like. Here’s what some of them had to say: [Read more…]

Twenty Five Years of Baits Named “RC”

Rick Clunn won his fourth Bassmaster Classic on the first baits that sported his initials - The RC1 and RC3 crankbaits by Poe's.

Rick Clunn won his fourth Bassmaster Classic on the first baits that sported his initials – The RC1 and RC3 crankbaits by Poe’s.

Poe’s Lures was founded by Californian Milton Poe in the 1950s. Rick Clunn was born in 1946. It took approximately 40 years for their two legacies to join up on the most public stage in bass fishing, the 1990 Bassmaster Classic on the James River.

Twenty five years after Clunn’s fourth Classic victory, most fishing fans associate his initials with the RC 1.5, a square bill crankbait from Lucky Craft, initially marketed by Bass Pro Shops, which has more recently been renamed. In many respects it spawned the rebirth of square bills in the public’s eye as the first widely-distributed and popularized plastic bait that acted like the traditional balsa lures. For other anglers with slightly longer memories, Clunn’s initials call to mind the Rico topwater popper, one of the first high-end Japanese lures to gain favor on American soil. Before either of them, though, there were the RC 1 and RC 3 crankbaits from Poe’s. [Read more…]

Bobby Murray – The Late ‘60s and Early ‘70s

Bobby Murray holds up three pigs he caught in the late '60s. Photo/Video Bobby Murray.

Bobby Murray holds up three pigs he caught in the late ’60s. Photo/Video Bobby Murray.

This is a special video. It’s not often you get to see video of the first days of competitive bass fishing – and I mean the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Yeah, there’s coverage on the Bassmaster.com website of the 1971 Classic – and it’s an amazing look back in time – but how many of you have seen video from 1968, 1969 and even 1970? Well, today, thanks to Bobby Murray and Carlisle Tire, we have something special to share with you.

Bobby Murray was kind enough to invite Mike Quinn of Carlisle Tire to his house in Arkansas to talk the old days of competitive bass fishing. During that visit Bobby showed Mike some old 8mm film footage of some early Bassmasterr events. Quinn, with the permission of Murray, had the film digitized and ran it in the Carlisle Tire booth at the Hartwell Classic just a week ago. [Read more…]

The Bassmaster Classics – 1971 through 1980

Bobby Murray would be the first angler to win a Bassmaster Classic. The event, held on Lake Mead, NV would start the fire that continues to this day.

Bobby Murray would be the first angler to win a Bassmaster Classic. The event, held on Lake Mead, NV would start the fire that continues to this day. Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

[Editor’s note: To read Part Two, Classics XI-XX click here]

Of all the weeks in the bass fishing world this week is probably the most followed by fans of the sport. It’s Bassmaster Classic week, the time when the world championship of bass fishing takes place. Over the years the Classic has been held in the autumn, summer and now the later winter. But the season doesn’t matter – it’s the biggest event in our sport and one that has made household names out of nobodies for decades.

In the spirit of Classic week, we’re going to finish out the week looking back at the first 30 years of Classic history. We’ll look at the winners, the near misses, and the techniques/patterns that cemented the winners in Bassmaster Classic history.

So let’s move on to the first 10 years [Read more…]

Fish Tales: Florence, Alabama – Part Six

Bill Huntley owner of T&H Marine holds a hefty largemouth. Huntley was instrumental in the advent of the aerated livewell.

Bill Huntley owner of T&H Marine holds a hefty largemouth. Huntley was instrumental in the advent of the aerated livewell.

This installment of Fish Tales, videoed at the Florence, Alabama Chamber of Commerce in November, 2014, is quite timely with respect to this week’s trivia contest. In this video Bill Huntley of T&H Marine talks about his place is the world of catch and release.

When Ray Scott started pushing the Don’t Kill Your Catch rules for his tournaments, he knew there had to be a better way to keep fish alive than keeping them on a stringer. The solution to that problem came in the form of aerated livewells – in some case coolers – in the boats and Bill Huntley ran with it. [Read more…]