Don “The Doodle King” Iovino – An Era Ends

Don Iovino weighs one of the last fish of his 40-year tournament career at this year's WON Bass U.S. Open. Photo Don Iovino.

Don Iovino weighs one of the last fish of his 40-year tournament career at this year’s WON Bass U.S. Open. Photo Dan O’Sullivan.

The first time I met Don Iovino was in 1978 at a seminar at a tackle shop called Anglers West in Diamond Bar California – I was all of 14 years old and wanted to learn everything I could about bass fishing.

In those days you couldn’t open a Western Outdoor News, Western Bass magazine or SWAB periodical without seeing Iovino’s name within its confines. He was winning or placing high in nearly every event he entered and doing it in a most unorthodox manner – some new thing he’d developed called doodling. [Read more…]

West vs. East

Western Legend Don Iovino graces the cover of the 1995 September/October issue of Bass West Magazine. 1995 was the first year of publication and this was Volume 1 Number 4.

Western Legend Don Iovino graces the cover of the 1995 September/October issue of Bass West Magazine. 1995 was the first year of publication and this was Volume 1 Number 4.

There’s always been a rivalry between the Western U.S. and the Eastern U.S. when it comes to bass fishing. It’s just a plain hard fact of the sport. Having grown up in the Western U.S. and lived there for nearly 50 years, I experienced it firsthand. It was like nothing “bass fishing” existed east of Oklahoma. Yeah, there were the freak fish caught by David Zimmerlee and Ray Easley in 1973 and 1981 and there was Dee Thomas, Gary Klein and Dave Gliebe who ventured back to the cradle of bass fishing and made names for themselves – but they too were freaks of sort – making an imprint on the scene with heavy line and big rods.

Talk to anyone in the East between the late 1970s and 1990s about Western bass fishing and I’m sure they would say one of two things: 1) They have bass in the West? or 2) They fish with sissy rods and 6-pound line. [Read more…]

It Gitzit – The Genesis of the Tube

Garland Fat Gitzit ad from January 1982.

Garland Fat Gitzit ad from January 1982.

For those of you bass anglers that were west of Las Vegas, NV during the ‘70s, the name Bobby Garland will definitely bring back some memories. Garland’s Bass’N Man Lure Company was probably best known at the time as the company that developed the Spider Jig – the forerunner of what other companies would call Hula Jigs. But Garland didn’t only make the Spider Jig.

Garland, and his brother Gary, started out as crappie anglers and made the first dipped crappie jigs that I know of in the 1960s. They then bridged into making Mini Jigs, just bigger crappie jigs, and the Skinny Squid for bass. In fact, the Skinny Squid, a 5-inch long hollow worm, predated the Knight Tube Worm by at least five years.

Then came the Spider Jig. The skirt was a 3-inch piece of hollow plastic cut with razor blades to form the tentacles. This was then slipped on the Garland Spider Head along with a double tail trailer that Garland bought OEM from Mister Twister. The jig was developed as a swimming jig and was made primarily in shad-based hues in order to mimic baitfish – although he did offer the skirts and trailers in other colors. [Read more…]

How They Started – Gary Klein

Gary Klein in 1976 when he qualified for the Western Bass Tournament of Champions. Photo Fall 1976  issue of Western Bass Magazine.

Gary Klein in 1976 when he qualified for the Western Bass Tournament of Champions. Photo Fall 1976 issue of Western Bass Magazine.

The sport of competitive bass fishing has developed a list of greats since its genesis in 1967. That list includes anglers such as Bill Dance, Rick Clunn, Roland Martin, Bobby Murray, and others – a list too long to mention here. All these anglers have many things in common. They’ve all won numerous events, AOY awards and qualified for multiple Classics. But there are only two anglers today that can claim to have qualified for and fished 30 Bassmaster Classics. Those two anglers are Rick Clunn (32 Classics) and the second is the subject of this piece, Gary Klein – who after the 2013 season had qualified for his 30th Bassmaster Classic. [Read more…]

How They Started – Tommy Biffle

Biffle wins the 1995 Bassmaster Illinois Top 100 on the Mississippi River. Photo 1995 July/August issue of  Bassmaster Magazine.

Biffle wins the 1995 Bassmaster Illinois Top 100 on the Mississippi River. Photo 1995 July/August issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for nearly 30 years there’s no doubt you’ve heard the name Tommy Biffle. Having made a living bass fishing since his first event on the St Lawrence River in New York, Biffle is one of the stalwarts of the sport – rarely out of contention rarely going home without a check.

As Classic XLIV approached, Tommy Biffle had made the big show 18 times – Guntersville was his 19th appearance in the sport’s most-heralded championship. That’s batting 660 folks – a darn good average.

After 305 Bassmaster events, 92 FLW tournaments, and countless other tournaments with other organizations, he’s finished in the money better than 60% of the time. A consistent angler without a doubt. [Read more…]

The Writers – George Kramer

George KramerEditor’s Note: This series is dedicated to those people who penned the many articles we read in order to learn more about our sport and become better anglers. Sure it was the anglers who developed the techniques, lures and equipment we use today but it was the writers’ job to make sure these bits of information got to the masses. Without the writers to communicate this, the world of bass fishing would be very different today.

For those of you outside the West, the name George Kramer may not ring a bell. For those in the West, though, the name resonates – longtime writer, longtime supporter, longtime critic. He’s the guy that came up with the California Top 40 – a ranking system that gives credit to the West’s best bass anglers each year. [Read more…]

Klein Wins at Clear Lake

Gary Klein 1981. Photo Western Bass magazine 1981

Here’s one for ya. Everyone worth their weight in tungsten knows who Gary Klein is. He’s fished 390 tour-level tournaments (346 with BASS and 44 with FLW) since 1979 of which he’s placed in the money 270 times (235 with BASS and 35 with FLW). He’s won 8 Bassmaster events and two FLW Tour events, qualified for the Bass Master Classic 29 times and the Forrest Wood Cup each of the six years he fished FLW. He has 88 top-10 finishes (77 with BASS and 11 with FLW) and has won a ton of cash in the process.

Klein won his first BASS event at the Bass Master Arizona Invitational held on Lake Powell in 1979 at the age of 21 and nearly won BassMaster Angler of the year that same year – Roland Martin beat him out by a little under two pounds. [Read more…]

SoCal Sticks of the Past – Dick Trask

Dick Trask holding his big fish award for the West Coast Bass Tournament Organization’s San Antonio tournament. He paired with Scott Gantz and also took first place.

“I learned so much from him – he had a lot of influence on my fishing. His offshore techniques taught me a lot and I’m sure the way he held on a spot had an effect on the way I do things today. I wish I could have fished with him more.”  2005 BASS Angler of the Year, Aaron Martens.

[Editor’s Note] I originally authored this article for Bass West USA in 2007. I would like to thank them for allowing me to reprint it in full here on the Bass Fishing Archives. For those who will argue that using a split-shot in front of a worm was invented long before the early 70s, you are correct. The specific technique in which Dick Trask developed along with the dart-head technique were solely his.

 

It isn’t often a person comes along and changes the status-quo in bass fishing. People such as Dee Thomas, Buck Perry, Billy Westmorland, Charlie Brewer and Ray Scott have all made major contributions to the world of bass fishing and without them, the sport as we know it today, wouldn’t exist. [Read more…]