It’s that time again – a new month, and a new set of interesting insights on bass fishing history. See how many of these events you can recall.
15 YRS AGO: July 12, 1998 – Whitehall, NY., and a guy by the name of Michael Iaconelli took first place on Lake Champlain in the Red Man Northeastern Division qualifier (now the BFLs). Michael, of Runnemede, New Jersey, won $3,507, small change by his standards now days, with five bass totaling 15 pounds, 1 ounce, to top a field of 247 anglers competing for $13,411. Iaconelli fished a plastic worm and jig in shallow weedy flats.
20 YRS AGO: A fishing report in the July 28, 1993 LA Times was titled, “This Angler Seemingly Knows All the Angles.” Who is the angler? The piece expounds, “The hottest largemouth bass fisherman in the state might be a 15-year-old from Thousand Oaks. Week after week over the past three months, reports from Lake Casitas near Ventura have included the name of Darin Tochihara, son of instructor Rod Tochihara. Darin’s top catches have included fish of 16, 14, 13 and 11 pounds, and this past week he had two 10-pounders.”
Pretty good timing, because less than a year later, Darin and partner Dana Rosen would catch a 6-fish limit weighing 63.26 pounds on April 30, 1994, with big wood plugs at an American Bass Association tournament on Lake Castaic. This was arguably the trigger for giant hard baits (AC Plug, TNT, etc.) to finally hit the big time. It wouldn’t be long before anglers fishing giant plugs began winning tournaments, and big bass catches on the oversized tackle became common.
25 YRS AGO: The Original Floating Worm and technique burst onto the angling scene in July of 1988 when pro angler and lure designer Danny Joe Humphrey won the inaugural BASS National Federation Championship. The center hooked “wacky rig” pink floating worm became an overnight sensation and propelled Danny Joe to the Bassmaster Classic World Championship. The win was a boon for soft plastic manufacturers who started creating bright colored floating worms, and even pushed Danny into forming his own lure company, where he created many of the now popular colors that are manufactured industry wide such as “Sherbert.”
30 YRS AGO: My, how far we’ve come in the advancement of bassin’ techniques. In a July, 1983 Field & Stream article on fishing pads and vegetation, the author speaks primarily on using metal baits like the Johnson Silver Minnow tipped with a pork frog. From the article;
“Now let me explain my setup and how I use it. I use spinning tackle out of habit, but baitcasting gear would probably be even better. My outfit is balanced for casting 1/4- to 1/2-ounce lures with 10-pound mono. You can go heavier, but I caution against going lighter. When I tried 6-pound test, I lost half the fish I hooked. I very rarely break off with 10-pound if I am careful.”
40 YRS AGO: Going back to 1973, and by winning the National B.A.S.S. Chapter Championship tournament in July, Wendell Mann becomes the first B.A.S.S. Federation qualifier to the Bassmaster Classic. For a great piece on Wendell and all his accomplishments, be sure to check out Terry’s story at the following link: Sticks of the Past: Wendell Mann