Monday Trivia – The Last Class from the West Answer and Winner (February 9, 2015)

The July-August 2002 cover of Bass West magazine showing the four anglers who made the Bassmaster Classic from the Western Opens. Back row from left to right are Mike O'Shea and Aaron Martens. Kneeling in front are Luke Clausen and Jack Gadlage.

The July-August 2002 cover of Bass West magazine showing the four anglers who made the Bassmaster Classic from the Western Opens. Back row from left to right are Mike O’Shea and Aaron Martens. Kneeling in front are Luke Clausen and Jack Gadlage.

Congrats to Andy Williamson for winning this week’s trivia contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits! JKarbow also had the right answers but came in a little late on time. For the answers, please read below. 

As we prepare for the 2015 Bassmaster Classic this month, it’s easy to overlook how the landscape for professional anglers from the western United States has changed over the past few decades. The full-time pros in this year’s Classic field include Brett Hite (Arizona), Jared Lintner (California), Justin Lucas (Alabama, but originally from California), Aaron Martens (same as Lucas), James Niggemeyer (Texas, but originally from California), Brandon Palaniuk (Idaho), Clifford Pirch (Arizona), Dean Rojas (California) and Skeet Reese (California). While Brian Snowden is typically associated with the Ozarks region, he too cut his bass-fishing teeth in California. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – The Last Class from the West (February 9, 2015)

Bass West cover from the July-August 2002 issue.

Bass West cover from the July-August 2002 issue.

As we prepare for the 2015 Bassmaster Classic this month, it’s easy to overlook how the landscape for professional anglers from the western United States has changed over the past few decades. The full-time pros in this year’s Classic field include Brett Hite (Arizona), Jared Lintner (California), Justin Lucas (Alabama, but originally from California), Aaron Martens (same as Lucas), James Niggemeyer (Texas, but originally from California), Brandon Palaniuk (Idaho), Clifford Pirch (Arizona), Dean Rojas (California) and Skeet Reese (California). While Brian Snowden is typically associated with the Ozarks region, he too cut his bass-fishing teeth in California.

In the past, most western pros who wanted to make a run at the mostly-southeastern Bassmaster Tour moved to the east, like Gary Klein and Jay Yelas. There were a few holdouts, like Rich Tauber, Dave Gliebe, and Mike Folkestad, but they never approached the numbers that compete on the tours today. [Read more…]

Yelas and Nixon Talk Sponsorships

Jay Yelas and Larry Nixon talk about attaining sponsors. Photo Brenda Serrano.

Jay Yelas and Larry Nixon talk about attaining sponsors. Photo Brenda Serrano.

Every angler wishing to become a pro dreams of the day they can fish off of someone else’s dime. But what’s it take to get there? In the old days, anglers fished hard and let their scores do the talking for them. Today, though, it seems the new crop of anglers are doing it backwards. Is there a correct way to go about it?

Over the years the fishing industry has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry. Surely there’s room for Joe Weekend angler to be a part of it. But, when it comes down to it, the industry is quite small. Making a name for yourself is the name of the game and the bigger your name, the bigger your paycheck. [Read more…]

Stranded – A Look Back on Two Unexpected Overnight Stays

STRANDED GilliganWhile professional bass fishing is not a contact sport in the same sense as football or boxing, it does offer a set of physical challenges that can often prove dangerous. These risks have been apparent since the early days of the sport and in some ways have increased as time has gone on. As we detailed previously on the Bass Fishing Archives, two boats crashed during the 1986 Bassmaster New York Invitational on the Hudson River, and two competitors – James Atkinson, 37, of Texas, and Daniel Barragan, 36, of New York – were killed, while another angler was hospitalized for injuries sustained in the accident. As we noted in our summary of that tragedy, there have been many other near misses, including Shin Fukae’s 2011 collision with a bridge piling on Kentucky Lake. [Read more…]

The Age of Powerful Pro Staffs

Can you name the 8 man 1984 Skeeter Team?

Can you name the 8 man 1984 Skeeter Team?

It seems like every week I read a new press release saying how some pro has been signed to some company’s pro staff. Maybe it’s just me, but pro staffs don’t seem to have the same appeal now days as they used to “back in the day.” So for just a moment, lets drift back in time to revisit one of the most powerful pro staffs in all of bass fishing. Back when the “Skeeter” was built into the name, not flying above it. This would be the early 80s, and one of the most recognizable pro staff teams on the planet, or so it seemed  – TEAM SKEETER. I was so influenced, I even copied and drew the “Skeeter” logo onto most things I wrote that began with a capital ‘S’ (LOL). See if you can recognize the faces who were on that team from this national ad in the 1984 Bassmaster Classic Report.

Patch Pirate Part II – Western Bass Organizations

Early western fishing organizations. On the left Southwest Association of Bass and on the right the Western Bass Fishing Association. Both organizations would eventually be bought and turned into the U.S. Bass organization.

Early western fishing organizations. On the left Southwest Association of Bass and on the right the Western Bass Fishing Association. Both organizations would eventually be bought and turned into the U.S. Bass organization.

In the first segment of Patch Pirate we presented four patches from three different organizations that were prevalent in the Midwest and Southern parts of the United States in the 70s and 80s. Today we’ll look at three organizations that made up the bulk of organizations in the West – namely Western Bass Fishing Association (WBFA), the Southwest Association of Bass (SWAB) and U.S. Bass. [Read more…]

More Western Winners – 1989 West Coast Bass

1989 West Coast Bass Tournament Winners.

1989 West Coast Bass Tournament Winners.

Okay folks, sue me because I’m on a Western rant this week. Problem is I have a ton of Western material and I need to give the West some love. A couple days ago we posted a short that looked back at the winners of the 1979 Western Bass Team trail and today we’re going 10 years forward to 1989 and the West’s premier tournament series, West Coast Bass.

The interesting thing about these pages from the January/February 1990 issue of West Coast Bass are the names of the winners – in many cases nationally known anglers. It doesn’t take one long to go down the first page and see flipping legend Dee Thomas. Dee needs no introduction and has been written about a number of times here on the Bass Fishing Archives. He’s also been inducted into both the Professional Bass Fishing and Freshwater Fishing Halls of Fame. [Read more…]

Rich Tauber’s BASS CHAMPS – The First Bass Fishing Computer Game

BASS CHAMPS Computerized Video Game Ad May 1989 issue of American Bass Association newsletter.

Scanning over a 1989 issue of American Bass Association’s (that’s the southern Cal version of ABA, folks) newsletter I ran across this little product – the Rich Tauber’s Bass Champs computer video game.

The game, developed by Shadowfax Software Inc. of Orange, California, claims to have brought bass fishing into the “computer age” with the development of the software and, from what I remember at the time, was actually the first in a long line of computerized bass games to make it to the industry. [Read more…]

The 1982 U.S. Open: Now a National Championship Event – Part One

The cover of the 1982 U.S. Open Press Guide and Souvenir Program.

Editor’s Note: The success of the 1981 U.S. Open put the Western Bass Fishing Association on the competitive bass fishing map. Because of this, the 1982 Open would field 262 contestants, many of which were household names around the U.S. – it wasn’t just some western fly-by-night event anymore. In part one of this story, we’ll look at the history and introduce the anglers that participated in the ’82 Open. In part two we’ll take a look at the event and the top finishers. In part three we’ll look at how the event was won and talk with the winner, Rich Tauber, to hear what an effect the win had on his career.

 

The first U.S. Open held in 1981 was a pie-in the-sky dream thought up by new Western Bass Fishing Association owner Rich Schultz. It was his hope, along with those who worked for WBFA, to draw at least 60 top-tier anglers to an event that would award the highest payout in professional bass fishing history -$50,000. What happened was a far cry from their dream. [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…]