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…]

College Bassin’ Back in My Day

The front cover of the Bass Fishing Institute manual.

The front cover of the Bass Fishing Institute manual.

If you read and follow any of the major Tours or media outlets covering the sport, you know that college bassing has started to take on a life of its own. When you mention “growing the sport”, this and the high school level is where it’s going to happen. But before the current crop of college level competition came to be, and well before the Bass University (Ike, Gluszek) was around, there were other college bass fishing programs in place, sort of. Here’s a couple I was involved in that were right here in Indiana. [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…]

Bass Facts From Tom Mann

Tom Mann image from the Dec. 1974 Fishing Facts story.

Tom Mann image from the Dec. 1974 Fishing Facts story.

In the December 1974 issue of Fishing Facts magazine, Spence Petros was able to catch up with Tom Mann while he was in Chicago. Tom, of course, was the legendary force behind such baits as the Jelly Worm, the Little George, and the “Pig” line of crankbaits. According to his write-up in the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, “Not content with just manufacturing fishing lures, while the owner of Mann’s Bait Company, he also founded and was the C.E.O. of Allied Sports Company, from 1969-1983. As the manufacturer of the “Humminbird Depth Sounder”, Allied Sports eventually became a stock company and was renamed Techsonic Industries: one of the largest selling depth sounder companies in the world. He also founded Southern Plastics, in 1977, a company that today is the world’s largest private brand supplier of soft plastic lures.”

Below are some of Spence’s questions paraphrased, with Tom’s answers excerpted from the interview. [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…]

Humminbird – Another Tom Mann Invention

1973 Humminbird ad featuring Tom Mann.

1973 Humminbird ad featuring Tom Mann.

I’ve always wanted to write a piece on the history of Humminbird but I haven’t been too successful with the folks at Techsonic. Seems most people forget that Tom Mann was not only the figurehead of the original organization – but one of the guys that started the company those many years ago. I’ve been accumulating old ads in hope of putting together a complete piece on the subject but I’m not sure when or if that will ever happen. So, until I can find someone who wants to talk about the entire history of the famed electronics company, I’m going to take this opportunity to post this short piece on some of the ads I have from the early years of the company.

The first ads are from the 1973 time frame and nearly all feature Tom Mann in one way or fashion. To open up (the lead-in photo) there’s the 1973 ad featuring the Super Speed depth sounder. The ad states that the unit will read “even the smallest targets” at “Speeds up to 55 mph.” The flasher was also touted to be readable with the sun at your back. Incorporated into the ad was the Fisherman’s Prayer and the opportunity to buy the print in a number of different forms. [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…]

For Mann’s, Plenty of Hits But a Few (More) Misses, Too

Mann's Bait Company ad circa 1983.

Mann’s Bait Company ad circa 1983.

A major league baseball player who gets a hit in three out of every ten at bats has a reasonable chance of going to the Hall of Fame. In that regard, maybe we’re too hard on lure designers. Here on Bass Fishing Archives, we might be a little too tough on those who’ve produced short-lived products. In just a few years of existence we’ve cataloged a litany of products that didn’t catch on, generally because they were ill-conceived or didn’t meet a specific need. Frankly, it’s a sport that never grows old, and for which we’ll likely never run out of material. [Read more…]

Success is Coupled with Many Failures

Tom Mann's Hardworm, circa 1984.

Tom Mann’s Hardworm, circa 1984.

Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” That quote means a lot coming from a man who many consider one of the fathers of the industrial revolution.

In the course of fishing tackle history, there have been hundreds if not thousands of bait makers who have burned out like meteors. There are also a few names that survive as legends of the sport. James Heddon, Bill Norman, Bill Lewis, Charles Spence to name a few. In that list of legendary bait makers is an Alabama man named Tom Mann. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – World’s Most Famous Bass Answer and Winner (Sept. 25, 2014)

"Leroy Brown" by Mann's Lures

“Leroy Brown” by Mann’s Lures

Congrats to Chad Keogh, who won this week’s trivia contest by what might be the closest margin of victory ever – just 1:00 minute ahead of his challenger, who also had the correct answers. Read below for the rest of the story, and get ready to play again next Monday.

We’re going with a little change of pace this week for our trivia challenge. The lure in the picture at left was created by Tom Mann and called “Leroy Brown.” It was a sinking vibrating bait, similar to a Rat-L-Trap style bait, and at one point was part of their “Hackleback” line of lures. However, this bait has one of the most interesting histories behind it.

If you’ve never heard the story, then it will be worth researching the answers to this week’s contest to find out some of the details. We’ll give the full scoop on Thursday when we announce a winner to the trivia contest. In the mean time though, to win all the Yamamotos this week, you’ll need to log on to your favorite search engine and answer the following 4 questions correctly.

  1. Name the year AND the bait that the real largemouth bass called Leroy Brown was caught on.
  2. Where did the name “Leroy Brown” come from?
  3. When the bass died 8 years later, Tom Mann bought a $4,000 tombstone/statue to sit at the fishes gravesite. Which country did the statue come from?
  4. To make an already interesting story even more so, what strange occurrence happened shortly after the fishes funeral?

[Read more…]