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…]

The California Fishing Association – 1985

Today's Fisherman 1985 1After running through some old magazines this past weekend I had to post this piece regarding the history of team tournaments in southern California. It’s not as old as a lot of the stuff we’ve posted here but it brought back a lot of memories for me and I’m sure it’ll do the same for a number of those who fished the SoCal region back in the ’80s.

The organization was the California Fishing Association owned and run by long-time California bass angler Tom Meredith. The organization started the year prior in 1984 after the decline of Western Bass team events. The organization would only last another year and would be bought by Bucky Fallon and Bob Young and would eventually become the American Bass Association, which is still running today – not to be confused with the other ABA that ran Bassmaster’s Weekend Series). [Read more…]

This Month In Bass Fishing History

The Dog Days of Summer. It’s that time again. Time to take a quick look back at what was happening in the sport of bass fishing this month, 15, 20, even 50 years ago. One mention of note will be that after 12 years of being a fall event, the Bassmaster Classic moved to the summer in 1983, so a lot of the history this month will be focusing on those particular events.

Denny Brauer flipping the heavy stuff.

Denny Brauer flipping the heavy stuff.

15 Yrs Ago – Aug. 6-8,1998: He just recently retired from the sport, but after 16 years of trying, Denny Brauer got his only Bassmaster Classic victory on High Rock L. Denny weighed in a final day 16-04 stringer doing exactly what Denny did best, flipping heavy cover. Denny would amass winnings of nearly $2.6 million on the B.A.S.S. trail from over 300 events entered in addition to another 200k from FLW Outdoors events, including this years EverStart Series win while in “retirement”. [Read more…]