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…]

Not so Bitter Anymore: The 1990 Golden Blend Championship

The cover of the January/February edition of Bass Fishing magazine, the publication of Operation Bass, had Jim Bitter front and center for his Golden Blend Championship win.

The cover of the January/February edition of Bass Fishing magazine, the publication of Operation Bass, had Jim Bitter front and center for his Golden Blend Championship win.

Back in November, we solicited information from readers about the history of the Operation Bass Golden Blend tournament series. We’d put together a basic outline of the circuit’s history, but we had little meat to put on those bones. Thanks to one of our great readers and supporters, Andy Williamson, we have a bit more to add.

In that original article, we mentioned Jim Bitter’s 1990 win on Lake Chickamauga. Specificially, we explained that “[t]he win marked a strong period in Bitter’s career, as he’d won MegaBucks IV on the Harris Chain two years earlier.” Left unsaid was the fact that it came on the heels of what is for many – fairly or unfairly – the defining moment of Bitter’s long career, his failure to win the 1989 Bassmaster Classic. As you may recall, Bitter had the winning fish in his hand, but when he went to re-measure it under the gaze of Tim Tucker’s camera, it slipped from his hand and back into the James River. Hank Parker ended up beating him by two ounces. Gone were not only the lasting glory of a Classic win, but also the $50,000 top prize. [Read more…]

Happy Birthday to a Twenty Year Old Dieting Deep Diver

Twenty years ago one of the best crankbaits that has ever been developed was born - the Bomber Fat Free Shad.

Twenty years ago one of the best crankbaits that has ever been developed was born – the Bomber Fat Free Shad.

Looking through the old “New Tackle for…” issues of Bassmaster, it quickly becomes clear that few new lures survive the open market for even a couple of years, let alone two decades. Of those that do live to fish another day or another year, many take a long time to gather a meaningful following. In that respect, the Bomber Fat Free Shad is something of an anomaly, a lure that was popular almost from the start, due in no small part to good design, a solid pro-staff and more than a bit of on-the-water advertising. While many of us can still remember its introduction, this year it celebrates its 20th birthday.

In 1994, PRADCO introduced the Pro Autograph Series of hard lures – proven baits that each bore a particular pro’s name and his suggested modifications or special paint schemes. They included the following lures: [Read more…]

The Bassmaster Classic – 1991 through 2000

Ken Cook hoists the 1991 Classic trophy for winning at the Chesapeake Bay, MD. Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

Ken Cook hoists the 1991 Classic trophy for winning at the Chesapeake Bay, MD. Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

By 1991 the Bassmaster Classic had become the event anglers aspired to win – weekend warriors through tour-level pros. The event had grown from a small gathering of anglers and media huddled together at the ramp in 1971 at Lake Mead, NV to sold-out stadiums in 1990. Although the event was centered around the anglers who qualified and the eventual winner, it grew into what we now know as Classic week filled with fan days, media events and one of if not the biggest public tackle shows in the world. [Read more…]

Looking for Operation Bass Golden Blend Info

Golden Blend was a title sponsor for Operation Bass' attempt to give B.A.S.S. some competition. Unfortunately the circuit didn't last long and there's little information out there regarding it.

Golden Blend was a title sponsor for Operation Bass’ attempt to give B.A.S.S. some competition. Unfortunately the circuit didn’t last long and there’s little information out there regarding it.

Many modern fans of professional fishing assume that the FLW Tour was the first major competitor to B.A.S.S. Of course, that is not quite correct – over time, there were several national trails that tried to make a run at being the dominant circuit, or at least supplementing it. The truth is that the FLW Tour, founded under the Operation Bass umbrella, wasn’t even the first attempt by that organization to create some competition for Ray Scott’s baby.

Starting in the late 1980s, and running into the early ‘90s, Operation Bass operated the Golden Blend series of tournaments. They built upon the success of the original Red Man events, which catered to the “working man” – one-day weekend tournaments with low entry fees and a chance to qualify for the high payout All-American. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Reed’s Classic Crown Answer and Winner (January 27, 2014)

Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

Photo Bassmaster Magazine.

Congratulations to Steve Quinn for winning this week’s Bass Fishing Archives Trivia Contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits. For the answers, please read below.

Nearly three decades after his Bassmaster Classic win, the late Charlie Reed remains one of the least well-known Classic champions. By the time he qualified for his first Classic in 1986, he was already past the half-century mark, and the victory that week in Chattanooga marked the high point of a B.A.S.S. career that lasted just 11 more years. His last event was a 1997 tournament on Lake Neely Henry. He finished 5th. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Not so Bitter Answer and Winner (September 30, 2013)

Photo Bassmaster.com

Photo Bassmaster.com

Congratulations to Duke Jenkle for winning this week’s Monday Trivia Contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits! That makes it two weeks in a row we’ve had a winner. For the answers read below.

Eight years after the end of his career with B.A.S.S., Jim Bitter is probably best remembered for a snippet from his lowlight reel – watching the winning fish flop out of his hands at the 1989 Bassmaster Classic on the James River, thereby ceding the title to Hank Parker. That’s unfortunate, because the Florida pro produced results that many other competitors would envy. He totaled nearly $850,000 in B.A.S.S. winnings, qualified for seven Bassmaster Classics and won five events. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Zell on Top Answer and Winner (September 9, 2013)

Photo Bassmaster.com

Photo Bassmaster.com

Although the two readers that commented on this week’s trivia contest were close, they both missed the last question, “who won big bass and what did he catch it on?”Come back next week for a chance to win a $25 e-coupon from Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits. For the answers, read below.

Texan Zell Rowland earned his first B.A.S.S. victory at the 1986 Super-Invitational, weighing in 27 bass over the course of four days that totaled 39 pounds 6 ounces and thereby beating 225 other pros. Since that time he’s won four more, including two wins at Alabama’s Lake Guntersville. The most recent B.A.S.S. trophy on his mantle came in 2005.

Rowland’s average of just under 10 pounds a day may seem paltry, but it looms large when viewed in the context of others’ catches – stars including Jack Chancellor (1 pound), Ken Cook (1-11) and Roland Martin (2-06) all failed to crack the code of Chattanooga’s Chickamauga and Nickajack Lakes. [Read more…]

Monday Trivia – Zell on Top (September 9, 2013)

Photo Bassmaster.com

Photo Bassmaster.com

Texan Zell Rowland earned his first B.A.S.S. victory at the 1986 Super-Invitational, weighing in 27 bass over the course of four days that totaled 39 pounds 6 ounces and thereby beating 225 other pros. Since that time he’s won four more, including two wins at Alabama’s Lake Guntersville. The most recent B.A.S.S. trophy on his mantle came in 2005.

Rowland’s average of just under 10 pounds a day may seem paltry, but it looms large when viewed in the context of others’ catches – stars including Jack Chancellor (1 pound), Ken Cook (1-11) and Roland Martin (2-06) all failed to crack the code of Chattanooga’s Chickamauga and Nickajack Lakes. [Read more…]

Scorecard Snapshot – Singing the Eufaula Blues Answer and Winner (August 19, 2013)

 

 

Photo Bassmasster.com

Photo Bassmasster.com

Unfortunately no one won this week’s Bass Fishing Archives Trivia Contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits! Donna Menendez came close but missed question #2. To see the correct answers, read below.

The 1993 Alabama Invitational at Lake Eufaula was one of the low points in that storied reservoir’s tournament history. In a field of over 320 anglers, well over 100 blanked all three days that February as a result of the cold, muddy water. Of course the major tours have held other events there, both before and since, with mixed results. Indeed, in the first B.A.S.S. tournament held on Eufaula just under 25 years earlier, John Powell won with 44 bass for 132 pounds, including a lunker of 9-06. [Read more…]

Scorecard Snapshot – Lone Star Learning Answer and Winner (May 20, 2013)

Photo Bassmaster.com

Photo Bassmaster.com

Congratulations to Art Miller for giving the correct answer to this week’s trivia contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits! For the answer read below.

Denny Brauer’s victory in the 1984 Bassmaster Texas Invitational was the first of his 17 wins with B.A.S.S. Over the next three decades, he achieved just about every milestone possible, including a Megabucks win, a Superstars win and a Classic win. He even won at Rayburn again, just two years later, but that was his last B.A.S.S. victory in the Lone Star State. He liked the Nation of Texas enough to retire there upon leaving the Elites and managed an EverStart Texas Division victory on Toledo Bend earlier this year. [Read more…]

Scorecard Snapshot – Above and Beyond Answer and Winner

Photo Bassmaster.com

Congrats to Jeff Derrick for winning this week’s Bass Fishing Trivia Contest! To find out the answer, read on!

Since he first started fishing B.A.S.S. events in the late 70s, Shaw Grigsby has amassed nine victories. The most recent came in 2011 on the Harris Chain, one of five first place trophies he’s earned in his home state of Florida. Three others came at big Sam Rayburn in Texas. The only one not in Florida or Texas was the 1997 Top 100 on Lake Sinclair.

The first of those nine victories was at Rayburn, in the March 1988 Texas Invitational where he outlasted 298 other competitors in a tough event. He beat runner-up Zell Rowland by nearly six pounds on his way to $33,000 in cash and merchandise. [Read more…]