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…]

More Cuba – The 1978 ABF Bass Tournament

Anglers flew to Mexico in order to get to Cuba. Read the original caption from the Mar/Apr 1978 issue of American Bass Fisherman to see who was signing up. Photo American Bass Fisherman magazine.

Anglers flew to Mexico in order to get to Cuba. Read the original caption from the Mar/Apr 1978 issue of American Bass Fisherman to see who was signing up. Photo American Bass Fisherman magazine.

Last week when Pete posted the piece on the relaxing of political ties between the U.S. and Cuba – and the renewed possibilities of U.S. anglers being able to fish the mythical lakes on the island – it jogged my memory of the first (maybe the only) bass tournament ever held on the island. That event was sponsored by the now-defunct American Bass Fishing organization who used Dan Snow as the conduit for getting a number of American anglers from the U.S. to Cuba via a tortuous path through Mexico. [Read more…]

1975 Bassmaster Classic by Bob McNally

Harold Sharp (center) weighs Roger Moore's (behind Sharp) fish as Fishing Facts editor Spence Petros (left) looks on. Photo by Bob McNally.

Harold Sharp (center) weighs Roger Moore’s (behind Sharp) fish as Fishing Facts editor Spence Petros (left) looks on. Bassmaster Magazine editor Bob Cobb is in the right bottom corner. Photo by Bob McNally.

I recently received some photos from long-time outdoor writer, videographer and angler Bob McNally. Within the 20 or so photos he sent were five photographs taken at the 1975 Bassmaster Classic held at Currituck Sound, NC. We previously wrote about the 1975 Classic, in which rookie Bassmaster Tour angler Jack Hains won by six pounds over Marvin Baker. [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…]

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…]

Season at a Glance: 1977 Bassmaster Trail – Part One

Bill Dance was the leader in the 1977 Bassmaster Angler of the Year Race and the midway point of the season. Photo May/June 1977 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Bill Dance was the leader in the 1977 Bassmaster Angler of the Year Race and the midway point of the season. Photo May/June 1977 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

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

It’s been a few months since we looked back on the early Bassmaster Tournament Trail so it’s about time we picked back up where we left off – 1977. The 1976 season ended with Jimmy Houston winning the coveted Angler of the Year award and Rick Clunn won the first of his four Bassmaster Classics. What would 1977 bring? [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Tommy Martin Started Fast, Keeps on Going Answer and Winner (March 10, 2014)

Tommy Martin hoists the 1974 Bassmaster Classic trophy. Photo Bassmaster.com.

Tommy Martin hoists the 1974 Bassmaster Classic trophy. Photo Bassmaster.com.

Congratulations to Andy Williamson for winning this week’s trivia contest! For the answers read below.

As Terry has previously outlined, the 1974 Bassmaster Classic field was chock-full of anglers who became legends in the sport of bass fishing. Of the 29 competitors, though, only a few are still actively competing in tournaments for a living. Some, like Billy Westmorland, Rayo Breckenridge and Stan Sloan, have passed away. Others, including Johnny Morris, Al Lindner, Bill Dance and Bobby Murray, have pursued other opportunities in the industry. Meanwhile, even as relative contemporaries like Denny Brauer and George Cochran have retired, 40 years later Roland Martin, Rick Clunn and winner Tommy Martin keep on going strong. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Some Classic History Answers and Winner (February 10, 2014)

Bobby Murray, winner of Bassmaster Classic I. Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

Bobby Murray, winner of Bassmaster Classic I. Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

Congratulations to Keith for winning this week’s trivia contest! There was a slight modification to the answers that we’re going to let slip.  Ken Duke pointed out that Stan Sloan did not make the 1976 Classic and he (and others) were right. I did not count him in the original answer because Stan only fished two events in the 1976 season. For the answers, read below.

With Bassmaster Classic XLIV (that’s 44) only a couple of weeks away, we thought it would be appropriate to make the next two weeks’ trivia contests of a Classic nature. The Classic, which was born in 1971, started out as a relatively obscure event where no one other than Ray Scott, Bob Cobb, Harold Sharp and very few others knew the venues beforehand. Because of this, the turnout for the event was small for those first six Classic.

Then in 1977, Scott and team announced the venue early and the event took on a whole new life. Today Classic week has one of, if not the largest tackle and boat expos and, for the anglers, one of the largest payouts in bass fishing. [Read more…]

The 1977 American Angler Oklahoma National

Old school Okiebug patch from Don Butler's Okiebug spinnerbait lure company, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Old school Okiebug patch from Don Butler’s Okiebug spinnerbait lure company, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Recently I was able to get a hold of a couple old Okiebug patches – a standard Okiebug patch that many anglers displayed prominently on their jumpsuits of the day and another that really intrigued me.

The patch that really caught my attention was from an American Angler Pro-Bass Tour tournament held in 1977 at Lake Eufaula, Oklahoma. The event, dubbed as the Oklahoma National, was sponsored by Okiebug. What got my attention first was Don Butler, owner of Okiebug, was close friends with Ray Scott – having been the first life member of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society and also the guy who sent Scott $10,000 in order for him to pay for a direct mailing campaign he was trying to get rolling. [Read more…]

Season at a Glance – The 1976 Bassmaster Classic Contenders

in 1976 Jimmy Houston wold win the Bassmaster AOY award in only his second full-time year on the Trail.  Photo 1976 Sept/Oct issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

in 1976 Jimmy Houston wold win the Bassmaster AOY award in only his second full-time year on the Trail. Photo 1976 Sept/Oct issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

[Editor’s Note: This is the fourth story on the 1975 Bassmaster Trail season. To read part one of the 1976 Season at a Glance click here, to read part two click here and to read about the Federation National event click here.]

The 1976 Bassmaster Classic and its contenders have a lot of interesting history packed into it. For one, there were four 5-time Classic contenders, one 4-time contenders, five 3-time contenders and seven 2-time contenders. To say the field was stacked would be an understatement. That’s 17 out of 25 anglers, or 68% of the 1976 Classic contenders had Classic experience.

As amazing it was for so many past-Classic anglers to qualify, it was just as amazing who didn’t qualify. For example, Roland Martin, who’d made every (5) Classic since its inception, missed qualification by 6 points and finished in the 26th spot. The other 5-time qualifier who didn’t make it was Tom Mann who finished in 38th place. [Read more…]