Bass Fishing 1961

Before Charlie Campbell was making waves with the Zara Spook on the Bassmaster Tour, he was making his name in Missouri as a guide. Photo 1961 Don Fuelsch Southern Anglers Guide.

Before Charlie Campbell was making waves with the Zara Spook on the Bassmaster Tour, he was making his name in Missouri as a guide. Photo 1961 Don Fuelsch Southern Anglers Guide.

Bass-specific magazines didn’t come around until the Spring 1968 issue of Bassmaster hit B.A.S.S. members’ mailboxes. Prior to that, bass anglers had to wade through the outdoors magazines of the time in order to get their fix of bass fishing information. Having a good number of vintage outdoors magazines, it was mostly famine rather than feast when it came to learning out to catch bass from periodicals.

One publication that was first published in 1961 did provide a lot of information on the five Ws of bass fishing – the Who, What, Where, Why and When. That publication, and we’ve mentioned it here a number of times, was Don Fuelsch’s Southern Angler and Hunters Guide. I’m still trying to figure out exactly who Fuelsch was, that’ll be another story in time, but I can say this with confidence, he put together one of the most complete compilations of fishing information I’ve seen. [Read more…]

1963 World Series of Sport Fishing

The 1963 World Series of Sportfishing was won by Betty Mangold (women's division) and Ken White (men's division). Photo Don Fuelsch's 1963 Southern Angler's and Hunter's Guide.

The 1963 World Series of Sportfishing was won by Betty Mangold (women’s division) and Ken White (men’s division). Photo Don Fuelsch’s 1963 Southern Angler’s and Hunter’s Guide.

Before the Bassmaster Trail and way before the Bassmaster Classic there was only one fishing event that even came close to determining who the best angler in the world was. That event was Hy Peskin’s World Series of Sportfishing. We’ve talked about the WSOSF here before (a simple search to the right will bring up a few good stories) but only in an overall manner. Today we’re going to look at one specific event, the 1963 WSOSF, as written in Don Fuelsch’s Southern Angler’s and Hunter’s Guide. But, before we go there, here are some of the particulars of the WSOSF.

In order to qualify for the event, anglers had to win their state championship – or country championship as this was an international event. The WSOSF wasn’t just a bass event, either. Nearly all fish counted with bass gaining the most points. But, you couldn’t win with only black bass. You had to have fish in multiple species categories in order to ensure the win. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – A Surprise Connection (Answer & Winner; March 16, 2015)

Bass Buster's most famous lure?

Bass Buster’s most famous lure?

It was a race to the finish, but congrats go to JKarbo214 for winning this week’s trivia contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits. More details on the correct answer can be found in this post.

Just a couple weeks back we covered some of the story of Virgil Ward, famous angling personality and owner of Bass Buster, Inc. The company was most famous for a small L-style spin lure called the Beetle Spin. Chances are every one of you knows of the lure, and just as likely, every one of you probably owned the bait at one point in time. I can actually remember finishing in the money in several local club tourneys back in the day by using the larger sized 1/4-oz bait, just swapping out the barrel swivel for a Sampo, and then adding the blade of choice to make a very subtle spinnerbait that was a killer in cold water. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – A Surprise Connection (Mar 16, 2015)

Bass Buster's most famous lure?

Bass Buster’s most famous lure?

Just a couple weeks back we covered some of the story of Virgil Ward, famous angling personality and owner of Bass Buster, Inc. The company was most famous for a small L-style spin lure called the Beetle Spin. Chances are every one of you knows of the lure, and just as likely, every one of you probably owned the bait at one point in time. I can actually remember finishing in the money in several local club tourneys back in the day by using the larger sized 1/4-oz bait, just swapping out the barrel swivel for a Sampo, and then adding the blade of choice to make a very subtle spinnerbait that was a killer in cold water. [Read more…]

Spinnerbaits 1977

Doc Moorehead's Floozy spinnerbait with a plastic curl-tail skirt. This skirt, which came out before Mister Twister's rendition, resulted in a law suit.

Doc Moorehead’s Floozy spinnerbait with a plastic curl-tail skirt. This skirt, which came out before Mister Twister’s rendition, resulted in a law suit.

After four days of Classic coverage we’re back home and back to the grind. So, we’re going to take a little diversion this week and look at old ads. First up on the list is spinnerbaits – a bait that played a huge role in the first six Classic wins – either as the main bait or as a supplement to the winning angler.

In 1971 Bobby Murray won on a Zorro, in ’72 Don Butler won on an S.O.B., in ’74 Tommy Martin used a Fleck Weed Wader, as did Jack Hains in ’75 and in ’76 Rick Clunn followed suit with the Weed Wader. [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…]

Who Was Virgil Ward?

Virgil Ward (left) and Smokey Falls display a hefty stringer of largemouth bass from Table Rock Lake on Ward's Spider Spins.

Virgil Ward (right) and Smokey Falls display a hefty stringer of largemouth bass from Table Rock Lake on Ward’s Spider Spins. Photo Don Fuelsch’s 1964 Southern Anglers and Hunters Guide.

Many of our “older” readers will certainly recognize the name, and even more so, remember his fishing show. As a pioneer in television fishing shows, Virgil Ward set the standard by which most all modern fishing shows followed when he created “Championship Fishing.” But you can’t be successful in television if you’re not successful on the water. Ward was both. As one of the earliest tournament competitors, he won the 1962 World Series of Sport Fishing, an event created and run by Sports Illustrated photographer and promoter Hy Peskin. He also created the Bass Buster Lure Company, maker of the infamous “Beetle” (Beetle Spin), and put lakes such as Table Rock and Norfork, amongst others, on the map as lunker bass destinations. [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…]

Memories of an Original Tournament Brat – Joey Breckenridge

Rayo Breckenridge and his wife Marilyn. Photo courtesy of Joey Breckenridge.

Rayo Breckenridge and his wife Marilyn. Photo courtesy of Joey Breckenridge.

We’ve covered a lot of of stories about the original tournament anglers here on the Bass Fishing Archives – a list too long to even think of listing. What we haven’t covered are the kids who travelled with them, or as the subject of this piece referred to them, the original tournament brats. Today’s subject is about the memories of one such kid, dragged to bass tournaments during his formative years and getting to hang with people like Ray Scott, Tom Mann and Bob Cobb.

A lot of today’s anglers do them same. Prior to an event, campgrounds fill with families, many of which have small children. What may look like your tyical family outting is far from it. Mothers are preparing school lessons or booking the next seminar engagement for their husbands and the men are either out on the lake working or at the campground preparing for their work the next day. The kids? Well, they’re either studying or just being kids. [Read more…]

Secrets of the 1967 World Series of Sport Fishing Pros

DwightKeeferBefore there was the Bassmaster Classic, one of the largest and most recognized fishing tournaments was the World Series of Sport Fishing, held from 1960-1968. Winners of note included such greats as Harold Ensley, Virgil Ward, Glen Andrews, and Dwight Keefer. Terry did a great piece on Dwight Keefer, the 1967 winner of the event, back in July 2012. However, Fishing Facts sent one of their then editors, George Pazik, to cover the event and interview the 32 pros fishing. He wrote a piece in the November 1967 issue of Fishing News covering what he learned from those interviews, and it provides an interesting, if not entertaining look at the birth of the tournament fishing, as well as the tips and strategies employed over 45 years ago.

Here are the 7 key points from the article: [Read more…]

Blakemore Lures – A Look Back

Bert Hall, inventor of the Road Runner and Blakemore lures, hoist a string of walleye. Photo courtesy of TJ Stallings, TTI-Blakemore.

Bert Hall, inventor of the Road Runner and Blakemore lures, hoist a string of walleye. Photo courtesy of TJ Stallings, TTI-Blakemore.

When one thinks of some of the first lures designed for light-line finesse fishing two companies should come to mind. Of course there was the Bass Buster Lures Beetle Spin manufactured by early bass pioneer Virgil Ward. The second that should rattle your memory – especially with the latest number of underspins that have entered the market – is the Blakemore Road Runner.

Blakemore came to life in 1959 when Bert Hall and a fishing buddy started manufacturing the Road Runner in Branson, MO. Back then it was manufactured solely of marabou and was mainly designed for use on local lakes such as Taneycomo, Bull Shoals, Table Rock and the Arkansas River. The bait was designed to catch anything – and that it did. [Read more…]

MO Sticks of the Past – Dwight Keefer

Dwight Keefer holding a nice largemouth. Photo Dwight Keefer.

The name Dwight Keefer may not be a household name amongst today’s fishing crowd but in the mid-60s and throughout the 1970s, the name was taken seriously amongst anyone who ventured into the realm of tournament fishing. Having won the Kansas Open Fishing Tournament in September 1967 gave him the opportunity to fish the 1967 World Series of Sport Fishing Championship held one month later in Wisconsin on Long Lake. Keefer ended up winning that event hands down – as a college sophomore.

After his wins, Keefer went on to finish college and become a sales rep for the Shakespeare Corporation – balancing competitive fishing with his sales job. In 1972 he fished two BASS events and qualified for the second BASS Master Classic held on Percy Priest Reservoir in Tennessee.

The following story is about Dwight Keefer, his early days of competitive fishing and his use of Midwest finesse tactics at a time when if you didn’t throw 20-pound string, you were considered a fool. [Read more…]