Early “Slow Rolling” – Earlier Than You Thought?

A 1-oz. Go-Devil spinnerbait

A 1-oz. Go-Devil spinnerbait

Spinnerbaits have been one of the most popular lures among bass anglers ever since they first came out. Many noted anglers could claim to have made their professional reputations by using the lures, guys such as Jimmy Houston, Ricky Green, and Hank Parker. Many others have thrown them to win events throughout the history of tournament angling.

Beyond your typical average spinnerbait, one of the first big “revolutions” occurred in the 1980s with the sudden rise in popularity of the willow leaf blade. Previous to that, most spinnerbaits sold were equipped either with Colorado blades, or less commonly Indiana blades. Willow blades were touted for their effectiveness around grass, and it wasn’t too long before some companies figured out you could make a very heavy spinnerbait combined with the decreased lift of the willow-style blade, and the technique of “slow rolling” was soon winning tournaments across the country. However, all this happened more than 20 years after another small company had created and sold a line of spinnerbaits specifically for covering the depths. [Read more…]

Season at a Glance: Bassmaster Trail 1978 – Part Six

In 1978 Bobby Murray became the second angler to win two Bassmaster Classics. Photo by Stan Fagerstrom.

In 1978 Bobby Murray became the second angler to win two Bassmaster Classics. Photo by Stan Fagerstrom.

[Editor’s note: This is the final part of a six-part series on the 1978 Bassmaster Trail. Click the following links to read Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four and Part Five.]

In the last installment of Season at a Glace – 1978 Bassmaster Trail we went over the Classic VIII contestants. Today we’re looking back at Classic VIII, an event held on Mississippi’s Ross Barnett Reservoir – or “The Rez” as it’s known to locals.

B.A.S.S. had visited The Rez numerous times before and with good reason – the lake flat produced. But by 1978, the lake was in its mid-life crisis, and not only were keepers hard to come by, there weren’t many fish at all. Top that off with the fact that the lake was 2 1/2-feet low and this seemed to be a recipe for a Classic disaster. [Read more…]

Season at a Glance: Bassmaster Trail 1978 – Part Five

1978 Bassmaster Classic Press Guide courtesy of Ken Duke.

1978 Bassmaster Classic Press Guide courtesy of Ken Duke.

[Editor’s note: This is Part Five of a six-part series on the 1978 Bassmaster Trail. Click the following links to read Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four.]

The 1978 Bassmaster Classic would feature the top-24 anglers from the Bassmaster Trail qualifiers plus one angler from the Federation. In years past, qualification was determined by a points system, 50 for 1st place, 49 for 2nd place, etc. This year, though, B.A.S.S. moved to a total weight system – one they’d use for a number of years thereafter.

In this installment of the 1978 Season at a Glance, we’re looking into the anglers who qualified for Classic VIII in the order of their Angler of the Year placement. Note that the data is taken from a 1978 Bassmaster Classic Media and Press guide provided by Ken Duke. [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…]

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…]

The Bassmaster Classic – 1981 through 1990

In 1981 Stanley Mitchell became the youngest angler to win a Bassmaster Classic. Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

In 1981 Stanley Mitchell became the youngest angler to win a Bassmaster Classic. Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

Yesterday we posted the first piece of this look back in Bassmaster Classic history – starting with the very first Classic held on Lake Mead, NV and ending with Classic X on the St. Lawrence River, NY. Today we continue with Classic XI and will move through Classic XX held in 1990.

1981: Bassmaster Classic XI – Lake Montgomery, AL

The second decade of the Bassmaster Classic started off in the hometown of B.A.S.S., Montgomery, AL. Forty-two anglers, including five from the Federation, would vie for the championship, including 21-year-old Stanley Mitchell of Fitzgerald, GA. Mitchell, the youngest angler to compete in Classic XI would not only claim that fact, he’d also become the youngest angler to ever win a Bassmaster Classic. [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…]

Big Old Fish – Photos by Bob McNally

Al Lindner hoists his big fish from the 1977 Virginia Invitational on Lake Gaston.

Al Lindner hoists his big fish from the 1977 Virginia Invitational on Lake Gaston. The fish weighed 10-04. Photo by Bob McNally.

Recently, longtime fishing author and photographer, Bob McNally contacted us here at the Bass Fishing Archives and offered up some of his photographs from days gone by. Back in the day, Bob used to cover all the Classics and other events let alone have a byline in nearly every fishing magazine that’s ever been printed. That includes non-bass fishing print too.

We’ve posted a few of these pictures already here on the site (click here if you want to see the 1975 Currituck Sound Classic) and now it’s time for some more. [Read more…]

Season at a Glance: 1977 Bassmaster Trail – Part Five

Not a "natural lake specialist," Rick Clunn would fight his demons and end up winning the 1977 Bassmaster Classic on Florida's Lake Toho despite the fact he had never weighed more than 13 pounds in any event held in the sunshine state. Photo from a Bagley's ad in the Feruary 1978 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Not a “natural lake specialist,” Rick Clunn would fight his demons and end up winning the 1977 Bassmaster Classic on Florida’s Lake Toho despite the fact he had never weighed more than 13 pounds in any event held in the sunshine state. Photo from a Bagley’s ad in the Feruary 1978 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

[Editor’s Note: This is the final part of the five-part series on the 1977 Bassmaster tournament trail. To read the other parts, click on the appropriate link – part one (the first half of the season), part two (the second half of the season), part three (the Federation Championship), part four (the Classic Contenders).]

Since 1971 Bassmaster Trail anglers fished not only to win, but to qualify for what had become fishing’s biggest event of the year, the Bassmaster Classic. Through six events anglers would accumulate points in hopes of making the year-end event that, even at that time, was being billed as the Super Bowl of bass fishing.

In 1977 the rules stated that the top 24 anglers from the AOY race would be selected plus an additional angler from the Federation Championship. There was also another rule, one that actually brought the Classic contender list up to 26, that stated if an angler fished every event in the year and won one, he’d also qualify for the Classic. Dave Gliebe did such and was the 26th man invited. [Read more…]

Season at a Glance: 1977 Bassmaster Trail – Part Four

For the third time in his career, Bill Dance was the Bassmaster Angler of the Year in 1977.

For the third time in his career, Bill Dance was the Bassmaster Angler of the Year in 1977.

In the previous three parts of this series we covered the first half of the 1977 Bassmaster Trail, the second half of the trail and the Federation Championship. In Part Four we’re going to look at the Bassmaster Classic contenders, the 25 top anglers from the AOY race plus the Federation qualifier – Bill Stephens of Alabama.

Also of note, a misunderstanding was discovered in the 1977 February issue of Bassmaster Magazine – the Angler of the Year data we used for the last installment of this series. The Classic entry rules for 1977 stated they would be taking the top-24 anglers in the AOY race. Bassmaster printed the top-25 AOY standings and we took those to be the Classic contenders to include #25 Woo Daves. When looking at the Classic standings, though, we noticed that Dave Gliebe fished the event and not Woo Daves. [Read more…]

Don Doty – A Classic Qualification from the Back Seat

Photo January/February 1981 issue of Western Bass magazine.

Photo January/February 1981 issue of Western Bass magazine.

To many of you here reading this, the name Don Doty won’t mean much at all. In fact, his name hasn’t been associated with the sport since the late 80s. Even though his name is only recognized by a few older western anglers and maybe a few of the older Bassmaster pros, he will always be remembered for a record he holds that will never be broken.

Don Doty is the only angler to qualify for a Bassmaster Classic as a pure non-boater.

In the old days, when pro-on-pro draw tournaments existed, many times when the draw for partners happened, both anglers had a boat. There were a few methods in which the two anglers decided which boat would be used. For example, if one angler could convince the other he had better fish going, they might opt to use that anglers’ boat. Another method was, if you drew Roland Martin, Jimmy Houston or Ricky Green, there was no argument, you fished out of their boat. The other method was a coin toss. [Read more…]

Season at a Glance: 1977 Bassmaster Trail – Part Two

Bill Dance wins his second Bassmaster AOY title in 1977. Photo 1978 February issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Bill Dance wins his second Bassmaster AOY title in 1977. Photo 1978 February issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

[Editor’s Note: This is Part Two of a five-part series on the 1977 Bassmaster Tournament Trail. Part One covered the first half of the regular season, Part Three will cover the BASS Chapter Federation Nationals, Part Four the Classic Qualifiers and Part Five the Bassmaster Classic. This part will cover the second half of the regular season.]

With the first half of the 1977 season in the books, Bill Dance had a commanding lead in the Angler of the Year points race, 59 points ahead of second-place angler Steve Goodwin. Also among the top 10 were Bassmaster stalwarts Roger Moore (3rd), Jimmy Houston (4th), Al Lindner (5th), Paul Chamblee (7th), Jack Hains (8th), Bill Ward (9th) and Larry Nixon (10th).

Relative newcomer and all-around top money winner for 1977 Dave Gliebe sat in the 11th position while veteram Ricky Green took up the 17th spot. On the bubble were two anglers you would expect more out of, Rick Clunn (22nd) and Roland Martin (23rd). Would they be able to make a charge in the second half of the season and qualify for the Bassmaster Classic? We’d have to wait and see. [Read more…]